Part 8 of 8
Target arrows of Port Orford cedar, spruce, or pine are usually footed with hardwood. Beef wood and lemonwood are the woods usually used, but walnut, maple, or hickory also are serviceable.
Footings are cut 3/8 in. square and 8 in. long, with a slot cut down the center about 5 1/2 in. long, as shown in Figure 81.
Next take a 5/16-in. shaft and with a small sharp plane cut a 5 1/4-in. wedge shaped as shown in Figure 82, the thickness of the end to be the same as the width of the saw cut in the footing. Place the footing in the vise up to the saw cut (see Figure 83), put fish glue on the shaft and in the slot and force the shaft gently into the slot to the very bottom. Make sure that the footing is on straight and then wrap tightly with good stout cord. Set aside to dry for about 24 hours. Then unwind the cord and lay the shaft on a flat surface and with a sharp plane cut off the surplus wood, making the footing the same thickness as the shaft. Then turn it and plane the other sides until 5/16-in. square shaft is produced. See Figure 84. Lay the shaft in the V board and plane it round as you would any other shaft, always cutting away from the footing, toward the other end of the arrow. Then sandpaper the shaft, put on the pile, and finish.
After shooting with bows and arrows for a short time, the archer no doubt will marvel at the way an arrow can lose itself in even the shortest grass and how a pointed arrow can bury itself for an inch or so in a tree trunk or branch so that it takes a half hour or more to dig it out.
For this kind of shooting, blunt arrows cannot be beat. If a lathe is available they may be turned easily but they also may be whittled out. Take a piece of maple or hickory 7/8 in. square or round and bore a 5/16-in. hole about 3/4 in. deep in the end as straight as possible, as shown at A, Figure 85. Put an arrow shaft in the hole to see how true it is. Then whittle it down to the shape shown in B. Put the shaft into the hole from time to time to be sure to get the head true. Next smooth it off nicely with a file or with coarse sandpaper. Then whittle it off as shown at C, after which it is glued onto the shaft. After the glue is thoroughly dry, sand off the end smoothly, and then give the entire arrow a coat of orange or red lacquer. These blunt arrows have tremendous hitting power. They do not sneak under the grass as easily as do other arrows, but the chances of getting a rabbit with a blunt arrow are much better than with a hunting point. These blunt arrows will stand a lot of hard knocks too.
Remember to give all arrows a coating of shellac, lacquer, or varnish, and keep them in a reasonably dry-place.
Rubbing an oiled rag over the arrows after shooting is well worth the effort and time it takes, and a little oil on the feathers does no harm either.