Thursday, April 05, 2012

Homemade Arrows With Dowel Shafts

I made up a couple arrows using 3/8" poplar dowels that I got at Lowe's. I selected them for straightness and grain, but didn't doing anything to straighten them beyond how they came home from the store. Fletching is 3M duct tape (it's OK for this use but otherwise it's garbage).

Arrow #1 is my scrounged materials Zombie Killer model.  The point was cut from 16 gauge steel, glued and tied into a slit in the tip. It's not sharpened but if it hit an animal (alive or undead) I have no doubt it would cause a nasty wound.

Arrow #2 is a blunt for small game or stump shooting. I made this one about an inch longer and it seems to shoot better from my 50# longbow. The point is a .357 Magnum empty, glued on with Ferrl-Tite hot melt glue.

I reinforced the nock and tip on Arrow #1 using dental floss (continuing the scrounged material theme) and cement. I used artificial sinew for the same purpose on Arrow #2.

I was pleasantly surprised with the sheet metal point of the Zombie Killer. I shot it several times into the ground and it only bent a little. Empty .38s and .357s have been used for blunt heads for decades, so no surprise that it works just fine. I have some more dowels and will be making up more of these.

The tools I used to make these were my Victorinox SwissTool (scissors, knife, file, and saw), a pair of Wiss metal snips, and some sandpaper.

Some pics:

Some caveats if you try this:

1. I would not shoot these from a compound bow. I'd worry about them splitting.
2. Carefully select the dowels for straightness, lack of grain runout, and general integrity.
3. Inspect the arrows before and after each shot. If you see any defects developing, do not shoot it! You don't want the arrow to split and get part of it stuck in your bow arm.

Also note that I did some online research about using dowels for arrow shafts before I made these. One source I found indicated that the average 3/8" poplar dowel spines anywhere from 65 to 80 pounds. So I felt confident that as long as I used good condition poplar dowels with little to no grain runout, I'd be safe shooting these in my 50# bow.


EgregiousCharles said...

Pretty cool! How is the accuracy?

I'm an amateur blacksmith, if you want to go over some basic forging you should drop me an email. There's a lot you can do with scrounged materials and a small amount of experience.

Dave Markowitz said...

Hey, been meaning to get back to you.

They shoot pretty well but will benefit from better fletching.

I'm getting a shed built which meeansI'llbesetting up a workshop, and forging has interested me.