Author Topic: Shoot shafts  (Read 1125 times)

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Offline Fox

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Shoot shafts
« on: April 04, 2022, 12:27:23 am »
I have been trying to make arrows from shoots for a good while but I have only gotten maybe 3 arrows that shoot well from them... I am trying some red osier dogwood (I think). It was in my dads back yard and he was cutting it so figured id take anything that might work. Cut a week ago and have been straightening with heat every now and then. I tried without heat and it snapped :-\.
I think these might be too thin but I guess ill see. I might go out and look for more shoots somewhere, I would really like to be able to not have to buy arrows anymore!

(Before sanded)
Untitled by Livvydog, on Flickr (After sanded)

Untitled by Livvydog, on Flickr (the finished arrow isn't a shoot shaft just a comparison)
Why must we make simple things so complicated?

Offline BowEd

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Re: Shoot shafts
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2022, 04:29:05 am »
Yes it is convenient & a lot cheaper to not to need to buy arrow shafts.Nice looking finished one there.Plus most shoot shafts are tougher than most split timber shafts.They all don't make it.
Douglas fir is about the only split timber shaft I ever bought in the past.
Feathers are getting awfully expensive also.I've been collecting turkey feathers for some time now too.
Harvesting them at the right diameter can reduce the work,plus leaving a little cambium can give it a little character & camoflauge too.
Established 2 year growth dogwoods stay straight the best also.
Bundling them if you have a lot of them and straightening them every few days while green and drying.A few singles it's not necessary to bundle them.On green ones I never use heat.Just dry ones.
Usually takes a good 3 months for sure to cure.Better to let them set a year.Harvesting them off and on throughout the year can build up your inventory.
I'll show some dogwood shoots soon that I made to match the color scheme of a recent bow I made.I'll call them snake arrows and not because they are wiggly shafts either.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2022, 10:15:47 am by BowEd »
BowEd
You got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.
Ed

Offline Pat B

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Re: Shoot shafts
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2022, 10:46:54 am »
Be sure any shoot shafts you harvest are second year growth. First year growth had leaves along the shoot. Second year growth has small branched where last year's leaves were. Also be sure it's after the end of the second growing season and not the beginning.
 Shoot shafts are more work but once you get the hang of it it's easier. Harvesting the appropriate shoot in the first place makes the process go a lot smoother.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline txdm

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Re: Shoot shafts
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2022, 11:27:10 am »
In my experience, it's relatively easy to make a shoot-based arrow, but it's really hard to make 4 that shoot the same (at least with yaupon). I've been saving oak and hickory cutoffs from making board bows to use for arrows someday. Also loads of Apache arrow weed has been growing in my yard, so I plan to try that too.

Offline Fox

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Re: Shoot shafts
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2022, 12:02:30 pm »
Thanks guys. Pat what is the correct time to harvest them then? Fall? I am definitely wondering how to get a set of arrow that would match, these weigh 27, 26 and 25 grams (not grains) so there all pretty different. Im sure that makes a difference for grouping, how much though? Can you hunt with arrows with such different weights ?
Why must we make simple things so complicated?

Offline Pat B

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Re: Shoot shafts
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2022, 01:01:12 pm »
Fox, any time from fall until the next spring. I usually wait until winter but it's not necessary.
 A never make shoot or cane arrow sets. I make them individually. After I've made a few I shoot the arrows and group them into similar shooting arrows. I have found with sourwood(the shoots I use mostly) and with hill cane, if they are similar size they are usually close in spine and weight. Generally they are about 3/8" at the point end and 5/16" at the nock on a 30" arrow.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline BowEd

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Re: Shoot shafts
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2022, 05:47:28 pm »
With dogwoods like said after the second year growth is best.Dogwood is a very elastic and strong type wood.I've made a bow or two out of them too in the past.As dense as your densest hickory.Reason why they make terrific heavier hunting weight arrows like hickory does.
They are like shooting a little tree at your target or game.
The dryer you get them or more cured the better they will hold their straightness.A heat correction on a bow or bend after they are dry will hold very well also.Some will have mild wiggles that still shoot just fine.
A 20 to 30 grain difference in mass weight at the same spine is not uncommon.Shooting at distances 25 yards and under you won't notice all that much difference in contact points on a target.
I make enough of them that I do have sets of them.I also have sets of 9 different types of shoot shafts including dogwoods also.
Not all shoot shafts of different species come in the same diameter of each other.Sourwood is close to comparable to dogwood as so is the different species of dogwoods to each other too.Dogwoods make some of the skinniest shafts out there. The only skinnier at the same spine I've found so far is plum and privet.An advantageous feature when shooting non center shot self bows.
My dogwoods here end up 9/32" at the self nock and around 23/64" at the tip generally.Finished with a 125 grain weight up front and at 30" long and 50# spine they end up weighing around 575 grains or there abouts but can weigh 600 grains or closer to 550 grains also.
In time even with the inconsistency of natural materials you can achieve good consistency and can get consistent shooting sets.

« Last Edit: April 04, 2022, 07:17:32 pm by BowEd »
BowEd
You got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.
Ed

Offline Fox

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Re: Shoot shafts
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2022, 10:49:02 pm »
Alright so a bit of weight difference is okay, I think I know where a privit patch is I might go try and harvest some. Is it too far into spring to harvest them now? The leaves aren't out yet on them.
Why must we make simple things so complicated?

Offline BowEd

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Re: Shoot shafts
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2022, 05:26:05 am »
You'll like that privet I bet.At least I did.They dried bundled up nice and straight.I traded for mine green yet as it does'nt grow around here.Bob Barnes to the rescue.If it's an established patch I don't pay any attention to what time of year that I cut those dogwoods.I would think the same about privet also.They are more easily indentified in the winter from their red twigs.
They are free and most everyone else treats these species as invasive.
Cutting them at the right diameter I do pay attention.Makes for less work.I kinda have a way of reducing the time though the way I make them,but still in the end I will probably put close to an hours' worth of work into each shaft.
They can look pretty neat finished with some cambium on them.After putting a little finish on them the pink cambium turns a pinkish tan with darker brown highlights.Almost the same colors of a copperhead snake.Most times they end up bone white for me.Try to keep the full length taper on them if you can.The shoot shafts are unique that way.
Not the best detailed picture.They look nicer in the hand.From what I've found is that the only way to get the camoflauged look on these shoot shafts after they are dried and cured with the bark on is that they must spine in at what you want or very close to it at that stage.Then the bark can be removed.The bark itself has no spine value.The same as bows.

I think the reason why most of mine are bone white is because I want to make sure I get one with enough spine to use.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2022, 03:31:06 pm by BowEd »
BowEd
You got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.
Ed

Offline archeryrob

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Re: Shoot shafts
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2022, 04:56:57 pm »
As many said second year growth is better. I have never been a huge fan of dogwood. It doesn't grow much here but I was able to find some Silky dogwood. That and hazel seemed to work fine for me, but both tended to warp on me. Constantly restraightening shafts. I was making me think about plains lightning grooves and if them and heat might help with that. As a general rule I have found that harder wood typically make better arrows. With exceptions like cedar and spruce like traditional archers use. I have used Southern arrowwood, Multiflora rose, privet and Ocean spray and all hard and loved them. They stay straight and take hard hits and don't break.

A lot of wood don't respond well to being cut, stripped and straightened while still green and damp. The only wood I had success like that was Multiflora. Many other would split lengthwise on me if not dried with the bark on.

Break an arrow while straightening with heat means the wood was not hot enough to bend yet. I use bacon grease on shafts and a candle to isolate the heat. heat the shaft and spread the grease around. Heat and keep moving the liquid grease around you'll feel when its ready. Take a junk shaft and practice. you'll burn a couple learning. heat and isolated spot and you'll feel it get soft and flexible right there when hot enough.

I planned on writing a book 20 years ago on arrow making and do like I always do. Squirrel, a new hobby to chase. Anyways, I posted it on a blog for free. There is a lot of reading for a new arrow maker on there.
https://boweyrsden.wordpress.com/category/arrow-e-book/

Also start looking up on making spine tester.
"If you can't have fun doing it, it ain't worth doing, or you're just doing it wrong."

Offline BowEd

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Re: Shoot shafts
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2022, 08:24:54 pm »
I've had good luck with dogwoods.They can sit in a tube for months and are still straight.Course mine sit straightened and bundled sometimes for well over a year before I make arrow shafts from them.I don't lose many arrows any more.
So far I've got multi flora rose,ocean spray,privet,dogwood,plum,bamboo,hill cane,sourwood,and hazel.There's still more shoot shaft material I hav'nt tried yet though.The plum,dogwood,hazel,and multi flora rose grows around me here.
That's a nice blog you put together.

BowEd
You got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.
Ed