Most supplies come in sets of 12, so you will probably make up a set over 2 days. I am new to this, so if you have a better method, please let us know.
You will need the following raw materials:
·Shafts There are several types of wooden shafts, the cheapest being Port Orford Cedar, then better in quality are Douglas Fir, High Mountain Pine and Boyton Pine. Stronger shafts are needed for heavier draw weight bows. If you are able to select straight shafts, better arrows will result !
·Piles A wide range of piles are available, Taper and Parallel fitting and various grain weights. For this article I shall assume Taper Fitting, this is where the shaft is trimmed down so that the pile fits neatly on the and of the shaft. The pile can also be in a range of weights, the best weight for you depends of your equipment.
·Nocks There are many makes of these and all seem to do the same job. Some archers like to have a bright colour here, so that the position of the arrow on the target can more easily be seen.
·Fletching Or vanes, these may be traditional feather or high-tech modern plastics which are very flexible. Also the size of the fletch can change the stability of the arrow. Longer makes the arrow fly straighter, while shorter makes the arrow faster.
Some standard equipment for all the sets you make:
·Taper cutting tool This is an essential tool, like a pencil sharpener, for cutting the shape on the top of the shafts to fit the pile and nock.
·Pile glue This is a glue that can set hard, but remain a little flexible. If a hard setting ‘super glue’ was used the impact of an arrow may just shatter the join. A hot melt glue may be used, I use Araldite.
·Fletching glue The same glue as the piles may be used, but I find the pile glue needs longer to set. I use Bostick, although I have now had a go with fletching tape and the results are good and fast
·A craft knife To cut the shafts to size.
·Fletching Jig This is a device used to clamp the fletches to the shaft. They have special stops on the jig so that the arrow can be rotated 120°, making sure the fletching is positioned correctly.
·Cotton Thread To bind the ends of the fletches to the shaft
Making the Arrow.
·If you want to treat you shafts to a rubbing down and a coat of varnish, do this before you start
·With the taper cutting tool, cut down the end of a shaft with a pencil sharpener type action. Do not cut all the way to the end of the shaft, stop every few turns to see if the pile will fit tightly.
·Once you have tapered all your shafts, the piles can then be stuck on. Squeeze out around 2cm of adhesive and 2cm of hardener for a dozen shaft, and mix together. Swirl a matchstick into the glue mix and pick up a dollop on the end, stir this glue into the pile, so that the glue is transferred onto the insides of the pile. Then twist the pile and tapered shaft together, a little glue may ooze out of the top of the pile, wipe this away with a damp cloth.
·Now the pile and shaft are together, you can cut the arrow for your draw length. Measure against another arrow of you correct draw length, I score deeply around the shaft, at the required draw length with a craft knife, and then snap the shaft.
·Using the taper cutting tool again, trim down the cut end of the shaft so that a nock fits tightly.
·The piles are stuck on to the shafts the same way as the piles, by stirring a little of the glue mix in the the nock. Twist the nock onto the shaft, try to get the top of the nock pointing the the place where the grain is closest. This is so that the string when nocked will be across the grain, instead of with the grain and possibly able to split the shaft.
·Before the fletching is added, leave the nocks to dry hard, as if the nocks are not firm the arrow will rotate in the fletching jig, and result in unevenly distributed fletches.
·Place the arrow in the fletching jig, so that the gap in the nock is horizontal. The first fletch we add is to be the cock vane, and will be at right angles to the string when the arrow is nocked into the bowstring.
·Take the clip that will hold the fletch, you may want to make a mark on the clip so that all fletches are applied to the same position along the arrow. If you use a different colour fletch for your cock vane, select one of this colour and place in the clip. With the fletching glue, squeeze a strip along the base of the fletch and place the clip and fletch firmly into the jig. This will need around 20mins to set well enough to remove from the jig and go on to the next fletch. Rotate the jig setting one step, and repeat with the second and 20mins later the last fletch.
If you are using fletching tape, this is much easier, with the fletch held in the clamp, place a strip of tape on the base of the fletch, strip of the backing tape and apply to the shaft, the clamp can now be removed and work begin on the next fletch.
·When all the fletches have been stuck down you can customise you arrow. This may be with decals of your initials and arrow number, or at the very least, write your initials on the shaft with an indelible marker in the unfortunate event that one of your finely crafted arrows should ever miss the target and get found by another archer, who can then know who to return it to.