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Home > Books > Mason > North American Bows, Arrows and Quivers > Plate XXXVIII
Materials of the Arrow Maker.

This plate shows the typical collection of material as it is prepared for use by the Hupa arrow-maker (Athapascan stock), northern California. The same outfit would do for any other craftsman of this class throughout the temperate regions of North America, only the form of the tool would be changed.

Fig. 1. THE SHAFT. A simple twig or rod or switch of any suitable wood. If the pith be thick, the rod is treated much as a reed. If it be meager the twig may be whittled away at certain parts to change the form. Among certain tribes the arrow shafts are made of sections split from large sticks.

Fig. 2. THE POINT. The material is as varied as stone with conchoidal fracture may be. Spalls are struck off and made into arrowheads by a multitude of processes explained in the text.

Fig. 3. SINEW FOR SEIZING. The figure shows its appearance as it is dried and saved up for future use.

Fig. 4. Gum. The exudations from trees or glue from fish or animal substances used to hold the feather to the shaft, the head in its place, or to smear over the sinew seizing to give it a smooth and homogeneous appearance.

Fig. 5. PAINT MORTAR. The paint mortars of the American aborigines are discoidal stones usually, with a shallow cavity. In this cavity ochers and other paint substances are ground, mixed with the grease of animals or with water, and used in decorating both bows and arrows.

Fig. 6. FEATHERS. The plume is stripped off with a small portion of the midrib, seized to the shaft, and trimmed in many ways.