Re: Wooden Arrows , Notches,Combat Arrows
--- In SCA-Archery@y..., "Terrence Andre Payette" <shaman@s...> wrote:
> The is more of a 'how to' query. I've started to make my own arrows
> but I've run into a problem with the notches. How is the notched
> carved into the arrow shaft so it won't fall of the string?
From the way you state this, I will (I know it's bad but...) assume
that you use pinch nocks. I would start practicing with mercury nocks
(or quick nocks) first. That may save you some frustration with your
self nocked arrows.
All I use is the mercury nock, so stepping over to the self-nock is
not an issue as far as method goes. In training myself for when I
actually get to start shooting my self nocks, I also disregard (or
just file off) any index tab that the nock might have, so that I rely
on the cock feather and 'feel' to get the arrow 'on' right.
> I carve my nocks with parallel sides 1/8 inch wide and 3/8 deep andI do something very similar here but with unpowered tools. I have
> I dont have any problems. I use a 1/8 inch ceramic cutoff wheel
> mounted in my drill press. The stelle is inserted in a hole the
> jig I made for this purpose which is clamped to the drill press
> table and pushed carefully into the wheel until the slot is deep
found that with as much shooting as I do my hand cut nocks do break.
In order to strengthen my nocks here is what I do:
1) I narrow the shaft between the nock and all the way to where the
end of my feathers will go. Because I frequently stagger my
fletching you may want to use a pencil to get this line correct.
2) I get some fresh kill elk, deer or cowhide (elk is the best) and I
cut it exceptionally thin. This takes practice and much more
patience than I usually have. Thin means thin and I cut my hides
thinner than garden twine.
NOTE: I have found the best place to get hide cheap is go to a
facility that destroyes old animals (aka Glue Factory).
Usually you can end up enough hide for a few dozen arrows
and pay nothing. Bring plenty of plastic bags because these
hides will be fresh kill.
3) I soak the hide in water. I add a little salt to make the water
brinelike and heat the water to about 120 degrees.
NOTE: I recommend you get a digital flue thermometer. Taylor or
Cooper sell these for around $10 at any hardware store. You
will need to watch the thread because too much heat for too
long will weaken your thread.
4) I tuck the end of the hide thread down about 1/2" down my narrowed
shaft down where my index feather will be and I wrap over the
thread down all the way to where my nock begins. The last quarter
of the distance I losely wrap the hide so I can tuck the other end
back through the wraps. Then I carefully slide my end of the hide
thread through the wrap and tighten one loop at a time until you
cannot see where I hid my ends.
NOTE: I would recommend that you practice this with something
other than animal hide because I made too many mistakes
learning the technique. I am still slow at making hide
thread it will save you more than a few headaches.
5) I place the thread over my heating duck and let the air blow dry
the wet hide. This will cause the hide to shrink and will
reinforce the shaft.
NOTE: This technique was used for building when metal nails were
not available and there are plenty of old books documenting
Once you get this technique down, try making a longer thread and
wrapping your fletching with the same thread. Makes a wonderful
looking arrow although you need to be shooting 50#+ to make the arrow
- To strengthen the nocks I cut I use a 1/16 inch ceramic cutoff wheel and cut
a notch 90 degrees from the string notch (I do this before I cut the string
nock) and glue in a slice of horn (1/16 micarta) and sand it down flush with
the surface once cured. Then I cut the string nock.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Just in case you want to use real horn...
I get mine from knife supply catalogs. Water buffalo horn already slabbed
for knife handles. It's easy to cut slices for nock inserts.
Here's one source:
> -----Original Message-----
> From: blockflute1@... [mailto:blockflute1@...]
> Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 11:19 AM
> To: SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com
> Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] Re: Wooden Arrows , Notches,Combat Arrows
> To strengthen the nocks I cut I use a 1/16 inch ceramic cutoff
> wheel and cut
> a notch 90 degrees from the string notch (I do this before I cut
> the string
> nock) and glue in a slice of horn (1/16 micarta) and sand it down
> flush with
> the surface once cured. Then I cut the string nock.
- For inserts in self-nocks, I like purpleheart wood for its
contrasting colour. I use a two or three hacksaws to cut the insert
slot and the nock slot. I use a table saw to cut off the purpleheart
- To reinforce my self nocks I use linen thread tied in a temporary
whipping and finished with a square knot, providing me with an index.
Not as permanent as an insert, but if it comes off I only need about six
or seven inches of thread and about 30 seconds. I position the wrap to
where it finishes around 3/16 forward of the nock.
> To reinforce my self nocks I use linen thread tied in a temporaryFor range arrows I cheat and use Dynaflight 97 instead of animal
> whipping and finished with a square knot, providing me with an
> index. Not as permanent as an insert, but if it comes off I only
> need about six or seven inches of thread and about 30 seconds. I
> position the wrap to where it finishes around 3/16 forward of the
hide. Is more durable than thread and I have enough colors that
depending on how I stain my shafts I can always get the wrapping to
For the Ya that I use for Makiwara and for regular free flight target
practice, I have been using regular deer antler. I shape the nock
and use a drill press of slightly smaller diamater than my string,
then slot it with a hand saw and a jig. The knock has a tang,
much like an arrow head, that gets fitted into a hole drilled out in
the back end of the Ya (like an arrow head).
I reenforce the wood around the base of the nock with silk thread
for thirty turns. Then I lacquer the thread and let it harden. Since I
am using turkey feathers to fletch, I have chosen a brown thread
to compliment the fletching and shaft, but I suppose any color
would be good...
I have made a matched set of twenty of these Ya for both
makiwara and free flight, and have been happy with their results.
When I can afford 20 bamboo shafts I will do the same, but for
now, I must use what is available. I have a steel turning lathe that
I sometimes press into wood-working service...but you will have
Yama Kaminari no Date Saburou Yukiie
Shi wa hei to de aru - all are equall in the grave...