Author Topic: Making Split Timber Shafts  (Read 24655 times)

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duffontap

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Making Split Timber Shafts
« 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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duffontap

  • Guest
Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
« Reply #1 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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duffontap

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Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
« Reply #2 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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Offline Pat B

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Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
« Reply #3 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
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline George Tsoukalas

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Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
« Reply #4 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
Set Happens!
If you ain't breakin' you ain't makin!

Bow Bandit

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Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
« Reply #5 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

MattE

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Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
« Reply #6 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!

duffontap

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Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
« Reply #7 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

marvin

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Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
« Reply #8 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.

Offline Pat B

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Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
« Reply #9 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
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Trapper

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Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
« Reply #10 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

duffontap

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Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
« Reply #11 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

ragi

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Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
« Reply #12 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.

duffontap

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Track Plane build-along
« Reply #13 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

Offline heavybow

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Re: Making Split Timber Shafts
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2006, 11:58:30 pm »
Nice shafts what diameter are they? marlon