Re: [SCA-Archery] On the question of arrowshafts ( was the whole kerfluffle on hexshafts) Long
- Hello Ragi,
The one thing hat you forgot to mention about why arrows can get bent, is that arrows bend when they are relesed and they are bent more when they hit a target and they are usually bent even more when they are drawn from a target. All of this can cause arrows to bend. That is why I check my arrows after each end and straighten them when necessary. Constant straightening and bending of arrows causes fatigue on the wood itself (whether self arrows or laminated) andafter a while, the constant re-straightening andshootin of arrows will cause the arrows to act differently and they need to be retired.
Certain woods traighten more easily and certain woods develope serpentine bending more readily than others. (ash is a classic example of that as is maple). Port Orford cedar is a real boon to the wood arrow world as it usually does not develop a serpentine bend as readily and is incredibly easy to hand straighten o the field.
As I stated in a previous post, I have used all sorts of woods for arrows including laminated and hex shafts. The laminated and hex shafts usually give me more grain weight (which is a good thing for me) but they act very differently off the bow of a traditional self bow. I don't want to take the time to develop new standards for measuring the spine of these arrows so that I can start using them since hey are already a few ollars more per dozen here in the states than cedar or spruce or pine shafts are. I have found the hex shafts to be much more forgiving on a fast center-shot recurve or modern style center-shot reflex deflex longbow.
Regarding the Gentle that shoots a 35 lb. longbow that is drawn to 26": you need arrows that are spined well under 25# to get good performance at that draw weight.
I shoot an 80+# Don Adams longbow, and I am shooting arrows that are spined at 65-70# to get good performance. At the weight and draw you are shooting at, you'll need to try bare shafts at different spine weights to see which performs the best for your shooting style, then make a note and try to match them. Different woods also respond differently because there are dynamics to how they recover once flexed. Measuring tools can only give you a "ball park" idea and then within that range it is all trial and error. Matching arrows at that draw eight is far more critical than at the heavier draw weights, so I understand your frustration.
From: RJ Bachner
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 5:40 PM
Subject: [SCA-Archery] On the question of arrowshafts ( was the whole kerfluffle on hexshafts) Long
I find it interesting what folks believe about things, such as arrow shafts.
I have heard people say that sometimes a hardwood or hexshaft once bent
won't straighten again. And I have to raise my eyebrow at that idea.
This whole idea of wooden shafts staying straight is an odd one. It seems as
if people don't want to put the effort into making straight and
re-straightening old arrows.
Let me say this now from my years of experience as a Fletcher and merchant
of wood arrows. Wood arrows are not perfect, Wood arrows need to be trained
straight and wood arrows need to be re-straightened occasionally no matter
how they are stored.
Wood fibers have a certain amount of memory, they like to return to the
shape they were originally laid down and sometimes that shape is not
perfect. By bending the shaft we are stressing the wood cells and their
connection to their neighbors, stretching some, compressing others to
achieve a straight shaft. In some woods like POC this process is simple and
consistent with others it takes more effort.
Wood fibers can be trained straight meaning they have been repeatedly
brought back to the new shape till they naturally want to stay there. Any
wood arrow can be trained straight, even hardwoods. The very idea that once
a wood arrow gets bent it can't be straightened is..... Well it is amusing
to say the least. It really shows a lack of skill and perhaps patience. Oh
some folks are gonna be made at me for that one. Yessiree.
If you arrows won't stay straight, then you did not make them properly, you
did not seal or store them properly and you lack the skill to fix your
mistakes. If you cant straighten them by hand, or with a roller then use
heat, enough to soften the glue that binds the wood fibers together and you
can fix almost any warp assuming the shaft should not have passed the
Ok smartass, what causes wood arrows to go crooked in the first place I hear
Well, first of all wood is hydroscopic, which means that it absorbs and
looses moisture as the Relative humidity (RH) in the atmosphere around it
changes. So as wood cells shrink and grow under the pressure of this
constant change of moisture content (MC) within the cells they apply force
on their neighboring wood cells in some odd ways. If cells to the outside of
the shaft are more moist than wood on the inside then the balance of forces
are not equal and the stresses force the shaft into some pretty odd shapes.
There is also the affects of gravity on wooden shafts, which can screw with
arrows stored in such a fashion as that the arrow can be bent by gravity
till it reaches a place where the shaft is now supported against further
abuses from gravity.
A variation of gravity is the forces applied to arrows by other arrows
forced in against the shafts in the quiver or storage box where one shaft is
pushing against another, the only thing that can result is arrows that are
Now all these forces apply to the fibers in the wood and all these fibers
must find a way to balances these stresses and so wood warps. One thing we
know is that wood that is cut up in what is called "Flat sawn" warps much
more significantly than wood that is "Quarter sawn or rift sawn" so arrows
made from wood that replicates quartersawn wood should be less prone to
warping than arrow shafts that replicate flat sawn. Makes sense no? It has
to do with the ratios of early wood to late wood (spring versus summer
Self arrows from split timber basically will replicate flat sawn lumber and
will naturally be stronger in certain grain orientations and weaker in
certain grain orientations. It will also warp more readily because of this
There is no way to prevent this with a self arrow so how does one get an
arrow shaft to replicate quartersawn wood? Well Hexshaft does it by sawing
up the wood in such a way and then reglueing it so that the edge grain is
always radiating outwards from the center or as close to it as may be
achieved. In effect making all the pieces act as small sections of
quartersawn wood and each facing in a different direction so that the
tendencies of flat sawn wood are cancelled out. In effect making a shaft
that "should" stay straighter under changing environmental conditions and
also creating a shaft that "should" be the same stiffness no matter the
orientation of the grain lines.
Sigh, that's a lot to type just to explain how wood warps and how hexshafts
tried to improve on things.
[Email to SCA-Archeryfirstname.lastname@example.org to leave this list]
Yahoo! Groups Links