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Arrow Feathering and Pointing
By Walter Hough
Part 2 of 3

Methods of Mounting.—While complete arrows in museums often show plainly the methods of mounting, yet there are details only to be learned by watching the arrow-maker at work and by observing the "tricks of his trade."

Fig. 15.—Fixing the point in the shaft by wrapping.

It was my good fortune lately to see an Apache manufacture and set the points and feathering of arrows. Apache arrows are generally made of tule reed set with wooden foreshafts, the latter indispensable in mounting the head, as the reed cannot well be tapered A nick is cut in the end of the foreshaft, a little pellet of gum is placed in the nick, set on fire, and allowed to burn for a moment; then the arrow-head is thrust into place, quickly lined with the shaft, and the gum smoothed down carefully. Sinew is then laid around the arrow below the point (Fig. 15), care being taken lest the turns overlap. As the sinew is wound nearly to the base of the head, it is thrown over the tangs at alternate turns, forming a cross. Finally the cement is called into requisition again for the purpose of fastening off the sinew.

Sometimes the heads are set deeply into the shaft and the sinew served continuously around the arrow to some distance above the barbs, giving strong socketing and protecting the sharp angles as well as allowing better penetration. This usage is found among the Indians of northern California, who are pre-eminent as arrow-makers.

Arrows with points or foreshafts merely sharpened or with blunt or knobbed heads, the latter variety often unfeathered, are met with everywhere. Feathering is not required on such arrows, since the shaft follows the head as a string lines with a moving ball.