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Wood for Archery

Part 4 of 6


Arrows are of two kinds, the self arrow, which is made of a single piece of wood, and the footed arrow that is constructed of a light-weight wood with a foot of heavier wood about 8 inches long spliced on at the striking or pile end.

Arrows are made of a number of different woods. Those sold to toy stores, summer camps, schools, and boy and girl scout troops are usually of the self-arrow type. For the most part they are cheaply made from selected birch or maple dowel stock 5-16 inch in diameter.

Arrows intended for tournament shooting and for hunting call for very carefully selected raw material and expert handwork in their manu-facture. In order to insure straight-grain stock the wood is usually split into squares, which are afterward turned or otherwise worked to the required shape and diameter. Some arrows are of the same diameter for their entire length and others are tapered. The woods used for these high grade arrows are usually Port Orford cedar, Douglas Fir, Sitka spruce, and a European pine from Norway. Those for hunting are usually footed with an 8-inch section of some hardwood.

In the opinion of some makers of high grade archery equipment good arrows are more difficult to make than good bows. Especially is this true of a matched set of target arrows with uniform flight qualities. In the language of the expert archer, "spine" is the all-important essential in an arrow. Spine depends largely on stiffness and is the quality that enables the arrow to resist bending when shot from a bow and to quickly recover normal straightness.

It is not the purpose of this article to discuss the intricate technique of the manufacture of bows and arrows. For those interested in this phase of the subject the following literature and periodicals are cited. There is also attached a partial list of concerns in a position to supply finished archery equipment or the various materials required to construct it.