Primitive Archer

Main Discussion Area => HowTo's and Build-a-longs => Topic started by: duffontap on August 15, 2006, 11:39:13 am

Title: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: duffontap on August 15, 2006, 11:39:13 am
Hello Everyone,

I've been making Doug Fir arrows from local old growth fir for a while and thought some of the new fletchers might like to see a couple ways to make good arrow shafts from 3/8" x 3/8" squares.  These are just my twists on tried and true methods so they should work for anyone.

Method #1 (tool cost=$7, time per shaft=4-6 minutes)
The first method is to use a simple block plane that fits between two fingers.  A v-groove in a board can be used to hold the square stock steady, but it is much faster to learn to hold the plane between the index finger and thumb and cup the stock with the remaining three fingers.  As the plane is held between two fingers--the other three fingers keep the wood stock pressed firmly against the plane bed and the remaining hand pulls the shaft through. 

The weakness of this method is that there is less control of the shaft diameter.  With care you can get them close.  They can be checked with a dial caliper or and hole of the appropriate size drilled in a board. 

The picture shows proper hand position for the plane and shaft.

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Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: duffontap on August 15, 2006, 11:48:48 am
Method #2:  (Cost=$80, or a whole day of your time for do-it-yourselfers).  Time per shaft=4-6 minutes.

This method improves on the hand planing in that it controls the diameter of the finished shaft.  When I get my track plane set up right, my finished shafts come out +/- .005 (or so).  This will add to spine and weight consistency. 

The track plane I made had two tracks to make 23/64" and 11/32" dowels.  The blade is very high grade saw blade steel and holds and edge well.  It took me most of the day to make the whole set-up and it's really all that anyone needs.  Strunk makes one that works better than mine that is commercially available.

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Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: duffontap on August 15, 2006, 12:11:21 pm
Method #3  Cost=the price of a router, high-speed drill, 1/4" roundover bit, and about $30 worth of parts.  Time per shaft=30-90 seconds depending on desired quality.

The router method is how I make most of my shafts.  I can make a dozen nice shafts in less than ten minutes.  They require much less sanding, have no chips, gouges or flat spots.  Plus, the tolerances on the finished shaft diameters is very tight +/- .002 (usually). 

Lots of these have been made, so there are a lot of ways to tweak this to fit your needs.  I use a round bit because it cuts about 3 times faster and cleaner than a flush bit like most people use.  The down side is that you have to set it up more carefully.  Side to side adjustments are made by loosening clamps and moving the router.  Finer adjustments are made by tightening the clamps on one side or the other.  Up-down adjustmets are made with the router adjustments themselves.  With the practice I've had over the last couple years I can set up my router and jig in about five minutes and using about 3' of waste shafting for dial caliper tests.  The clamp method is nice because I use my router for other things and it's easy to take it all apart.  Once I have it set up, I can make 200 shafts if I need to without a single adjustment.

The payoff of this method is that you can be very picky with the kinds of spines and weights of the shafts you use if you want to.  I give a lot of shafts away in hopes that a nice elk or deer will get killed with an arrow shaft I made. 

I spin the shafts at about 2,500 rpms.  Lower rpms require a slower feed rate. 

The pic with the oil around the holes shows the heat generated as the shaft is compressed.

Good luck and feel free to ask questions.  If anyone cares, I do make ocean spray and wild rose arrows by hand as well.  I know split timber shafts get a C+ on the primitive scale.  The last time I had my wood-shop teaching father in law over to my shop, I showed him how I made arrow shafts.  When the router was turned off, I handed him a smooth, compressed shaft that read .359 (23/64") on the dial caliper and he said, "man that's primitive."  Rifle hunters!

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Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: Pat B on August 15, 2006, 12:27:06 pm
Thanks JD. This is an excellant tutorial for anyone that is interested in making split timber shafts. Not all primitive people used shoot shafting. Some used split out shafting...they used stone tool instead of modern equipment but if they had mod equipment, they would have used it.   Pat
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: George Tsoukalas on August 15, 2006, 02:08:10 pm
Very nice, JD.  I use the hand plane method you described almost exclusivey.The hand plane method shines when making barrel tapered shafts. For a great effect on spine plane the middle.  I use 11/32 point and 11/32 nock.  Middle  diameter is what it needs to be. For a great effect on weight plane the ends. Allows  for s nice  matching off  spine and weight.  Jawge
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: Bow Bandit on August 15, 2006, 09:38:27 pm
thanks it deffinetly helps out beginner arrow makers like me... i want to try as many ways as possible to see which work better...

Thanks Brandon
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: MattE on August 16, 2006, 06:25:28 am
Like George,I use the plane method as well that is when I was making arrows shafts many years ago.
I have threatened to make a jig to use a router but never did. You have my respect for how neat your working area appears.My shop is a mess!
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: duffontap on August 16, 2006, 09:12:41 am
Thanks guys.  I try to weight my time toward building bows, but building arrows is just a such a relaxing activity.  I make most if not all of my hunting shafting with the power jig, because I use up a lot of arrows.  But I still love the sound of a block plane peeling off golden curls of doug fir and cedar.  Making the track plane was one of the most fun things I did on Christmas vacation last year.  It's just fun to get that stuff to work.  There's just a lot of ways to avoid buying carbon arrows!  When my wife and I walk our dog down to the beach, I usually bring my hunting knife and cut and peel and wild rose shoot.  It's a lifestyle.

           J. D. Duff
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: marvin on August 16, 2006, 11:06:30 am
Great stuff Duff! sorry, I couldn't resist  ;D

Maybe we should eventually put this thread in the Howto's/archive section for reference. This is the kind of practical info we need more of. Thanks.
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: Pat B on August 16, 2006, 11:14:38 am
Yes, Marvin. I think we should. I about pulled my hair(what little I have left) out last night trying to scan pics of the spine tester, then get it ready for posting on the site. This old dog ain't real smart when it comes to these new fangled puters.
   JD, I carry pruning clippers every time I go out in the woods for cutting shoots for arrows. I'm in the woods around my home at least once a day and my woods are getting devoid of good shoot materials these days.   Pat
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: Trapper on August 16, 2006, 04:05:19 pm
J.D. Thats way cool man, I bet it took half a day just to post all that , Good info and Ive been intending to do the router route , but Im just to lazy I guess , I know this took alot of your personal time and we all appreciate the post Thanks Trapper
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: duffontap on August 16, 2006, 04:55:47 pm
Thanks Trapper--I just joined a month ago and I'm so glad to have a place where I can help others and get a lot of help myself.  Labor of love, huh?  J. D. Duff
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: ragi on November 07, 2006, 11:24:03 am
Heya

I have been looking for some way to make a shooting plane like Mr. Strunk's  and your the first one I have seen. How do you setup the plane blade? I assume the blade is rounded but I have no idea how to do this accurately. If you could do us a build along to make the track and plane I would greatly appreciate it.
Title: Track Plane build-along
Post by: duffontap on November 09, 2006, 11:39:16 am
Hey Ragi,

I'd love to do a build-along for a track plane.  I need to finish the Mary Rose build-along first, but let's start after that, huh?

Thanks for the interest.

               J. D. Duff
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: heavybow on November 09, 2006, 11:58:30 pm
Nice shafts what diameter are they? marlon
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: duffontap on November 10, 2006, 02:22:00 am
Thanks Marlon,

My powered jig makes a pretty-close-to-perfect 23/64ths.  I'm going to hand plane some shafts that are 1/2" tapered to 3/8" here soon.  I wanted to do a few Mary Rose replica arrows while I'm on the project. 

               J. D. Duff
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: perry on November 10, 2006, 06:38:41 am
         Love reading how others make arrows , top subject . After I have reduced my shafts to 16 sided with a small hand plane I taper the point end , glue a point on and clamp the shaft into either a electric hand drill or my sewing machine motor come cresting jig that I'v attached a drill chuck to and spin them up on a sheet of sand paper I hold in my hand , the arrows come out perfect round every time . It can get hot but Im not clever enough to wear a glove, suggest others should , but if need be this makes it easy to straighten the shaft.
        I then size them with a piece of metal that has various diameter holes and sand out the sanding mark with fine sand paper . A mate made the happy mistake of squeezing the footed shaft he was making a little tight and the extra heat generated made the footing spiral like a barber pole- looks brilliant and doesnt affect durability of the arrow . He has made arrows that the footing spirals 360% .
        Regards Perry
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: D. Tiller on November 11, 2006, 06:36:11 pm
Oh JD check out this one!!! http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p=54835&cat=1,180,42288

Time per shaft 8 seconds. Cost - $25. Time to make tool:  None!!!  ;D

D. Tiller
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: 1/2primitive on November 12, 2006, 08:48:37 am
I've seen those jigs a couple of times, how on earth does it work?
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: ragi on November 12, 2006, 10:36:15 am
they work very nicely thank you. ;)


actually you chuck the 7/16 ths square stock in a drill and slowly power it through the cutter. The cutter is nominally a 3/8 inch dowel but you can get some variation in diameter depending on how you set the cutters. I have made very fat 11/32 shafts with mine.

I also suggest you make an outfeed support so the shaft cant go whipping all over as it goes through the cutter. I use a length of 2x4 as the cutter support and it has a pvc tube mounted as the outfeed so the spinning shaft wont fling about and snap.

you will have to fiddle with the blade setup a bit to get a clean cut cause if you dont then it is a very rough cut and needs a lot of sanding.
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: duffontap on November 13, 2006, 02:48:47 pm
Hey DT,

I've seen those around quite a bit, but it seems like it would be way inferior to the router system.  With the router, your shafting comes out right on and with a shinny, burnished surface.  How clean do your arrows come out of those tennon cutters?

           J. D.
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: woody on November 14, 2006, 12:51:51 pm
Good post.  I have been itching to make my own shafts for a while.  I am leaning towards method #2.  Would you explain a little more about how you made all that stuff? - the board, the plane.

Thanks for your time.

woody
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: George Tsoukalas on November 14, 2006, 05:04:33 pm
I inherited a molding plane with that type of circular groove in the blade.  I've tried it. Jawge
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: Minuteman on November 15, 2006, 06:42:59 am
I use the Veritas doweling jig(3/8") that Dtiller supplied a link to above and it works incredibly well.You do need the out feed support or really long monkey arms like me. ;D
 They are kinda big but once you've run them through you just spin 'em back out of the cutter, pick up ypur 22o grit paper give it a squeeze down the spinning shaft, pick up you next higher grit and hit it a lick with that and yer good to go. I usually sand  my hunting arrows with 120 grit and thats it, they are gonna get broken anyway!  I bet that you can turn out a shaft every minute and a half( not including tips, nocks ,or ripping out the blanks of course.)
 I'd certainly be interested in a strunk style plane board build along as well. :)
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: woody on November 18, 2006, 03:07:00 pm
That's what I am talking (writing) about.
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: duffontap on November 21, 2006, 04:23:59 pm
I'm surprised that jig works as well as it does.  I really like my router jig so I don't really need an alternative, but that is pretty cool that you can make a decent shaft in under two minutes without spending a bundle. 

One thing you have to understand about the hand planing and Strunk-style plane is that your results will vary a lot with how good of material you have.  With Doug Fir, you can expect some rustic shafting as the blade tends to gouge a little.  If you have POC, your results will be better.  But, if you have a tennon jig--you may have something better already.

        J. D. Duff
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: sumpitan on November 26, 2006, 10:43:08 am
J.D.,

I wouldn't be too quick to give split timber shafting a C+ on the Primitive scale, considering that the oldest arrows in the world (11000BP), from Stellmoor, Germany, were made from split pine, and the same technique was used on the world's second oldest arrows, too (from Mesolithic Denmark, and of pine and birch). For all we know, split timber shafts predate shoot and reed shafts!

Now, router fixtures have been in use only since the 1920's, I guess, but even that is still more ancient than the plainest fiberglass longbows.

Tuukka
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: Coo-wah-chobee on November 26, 2006, 10:52:23 am
Excellent point-hand planes or doweling jigs make some wonderful shafts-C+ i dont think so-bob
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: Mazku on February 11, 2008, 10:38:14 am
Sorry that I bump an old topic.

I would like to make a plane like that you use in method #2. Could you explain more how to make it?
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: Kegan on February 11, 2008, 05:16:13 pm
Sweeeeeeeet. There's tons out there on how to make bows, not so for arrows! Thanks J.D.! I use s piece of metal with gradutaed holes instead of the router though. Don't come out as nicely (they have grooves on 'em), and time depends on how hard the wood is.

D.Tiller- I still have to make on of those things! My dad has a very old 1/2" model, but I'm sure I can rig up a wooden 3/8" model :).

You guys keep adding to my to-do list ;D!
Title: Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
Post by: buck1 on March 16, 2008, 05:21:33 pm
cool jigs! I was wondering you ever sell or trade any shafts? I would be intrested in some, all I make and use for my primitive bows are river cane now but I have considered trying something a little heavier than cedar especially for my traditional bows. Buck