I wanted to make a gift for someone who I know has done a bunch of archery, so what better gift than a couple of primitive arrows, with a pair of those jade tips I made the other day? First I had to make the shafts:
Left: One shaft scraped and straightend, along side its younger brother, who has just been debarked so far.
To start off, the bark is scraped off, and run through this bone sizer. You just slide the shaft through the hole, and keep scraping as it gets stuck, until it can slide all the way through. You'll know what size is good through trial and error. My first ever arrow was a fatty who didnt enjoy flying through the air so much. These two were about 6 or 7 mm.
Straightening the shaft invloves chilling out by the fire heating it slowly over the coals, bend by bend. Beer optional. Once the crooked bit you want to straighten is heated through, it becomes pliable and you just need to bend, eyeball it, then repeat process till she's straight!
Below: Keep it moving! Dont let it get burnt...just nice and warm!
I used wing feathers from a Paradise Duck which I ate earlier in the year. The colourings are beautiful with metallic green on two and a nice brown on the marker feather. The rare nock is first bound tightly with sinew to reinforce and prevent splitting.
Above:The feathers are all held on with sinew. Sinew truely is an amazing material, it is so sticky, dries so solid, and has many applications. It is clear to see why ancient people used it so often.
Left: The fore binding of the fletching. Heavily bound with sinew so it slides over the hand nicely when released from the bow.
Below: Jade tip is bound on to the nock with boiled flax. The flax is boiled so that when it dries it doesn't shrink and get loose. The nock is reinforced firstly with tightly wrapped sinew to prevent splitting on impact. This binding could all be covered with pitch glue but I decided against it as it looks nice like this and will be placed on display rather than being used for target practice.
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