Re: [SCA-Archery] matching shafts on the cheap; was: port orford cedar shafts
- One method that I have read about to group shafts into similar spines is
a method mentioned in Robert Elmer's book "Archery." (1) Essentially
what Elmer did to match shafts was place two pegs in the wall a certain
distance (lets say 26 inches) apart. He hung a spring scale at the
center of the shaft and pulled downwards until he bent the shaft a
certain distance (say one inch) then read the force on the spring scale.
Arrows requiring 6 pounds of force would be grouped together, arrows
requiring 5.5 pounds would be in another group, etc.
HINT: Elmer didn't mention it but orient the growth rings so that they
run vertically or parallel to the wall.
Elmer also mentions hanging a weight from the shaft and then measuring
the deflection. If we use the same pegs at 26 inches and a weight (lets
call it 2 pounds to make it easy to convert to the AMO spine)from the
center of the shaft (does this sound like a basic spine tester? It
should!) then he would measure the difference that the shaft flexed
without the weight and then with the weight. He would then group the
arrows that flexed say 16/32nds together (this works out to 52 lb.
spine.) shafts that flexed 15/32nds (55 lb. spine) would be grouped
together and so on.
How did I figure the spine out? Spine = 26"/deflection in inches
in our example above Spine in pounds = 26"/ (16/32") or 26"/0.5" = 52
Remember for AMO spine the pegs MUST be 26 inches apart and the weight
MUST be 2 pounds.
Precision would of course increase if you used a ruler marked in 64ths
and the cat's posterior would be a ruler in hundredths.
I have seen a plan to build a simple balance on one of the archery
magazine's web sites, most likely either The Stickbow
(www.stickbow.com), or perhaps Primitive Archer at
(www.pioneerpc.com/primitivearcher) These links may be out of date,
they are from some articles I printed out quite some time ago. Failing
that check out ebay for jewelry balances or if you happen to have a
spice merchant in your SCA vicinity that uses a balance to weigh his
merchandise ask him where he got his from. I lucked out and picked up a
digital grain scale on ebay at about half of what I would have had to
pay for a new one.
If you really want to go psycho you can experiment a bit with adjusting
the weight of a shaft to match the other eleven that group nicely. For
I have found that the urethane in which I dip my shafts adds ~6 grains
for each coat. Remember to alternate top and bottom if dipping more
Sanding with 220 grit sandpaper can reduce weight by 3-5 grains - be
careful to wrap the paper around the shaft and sand the whole length.
Be careful remove too much material and the spine will measurably
Field points can be drilled out to move the balance point back, or lead
filings can be added when gluing the point on to move it forward. I
added the lead filings to one set of arrows that I use and got the
weight to +- 1 grain.
The owner of the archery shop where I buy my shafts lets me bring in my
grain scale so I can weigh the factory spined shafts before I buy them.
Believe me, it is much easier to make a dozen matched arrows if the only
variable you have worry about is the spine. I went from buying six
dozen factory spined shafts to get a dozen matched (+- 1 pound, +- 5
grains) shafts to buying on average 2.5 dozen to get one dozen matched
That is about all I am willing to share; I do have to keep some things
It really isn't a question of needing expensive toys to build closely
matched arrows, the toys just make it faster and easier. I don't need
the bandsaw and Japanese moulding plane to make ash shafts but they sure
make the job a lot quicker and reduce wastage than splitting the wood by
hand and shaping with a spokeshave.
As to improving your score perfectly matched arrows (as if such a thing
could exist!) won't do a thing if your shooting technique sucks with
both lips. A well matched set of arrows is like any other tool - it
will only work well if used competently. My gut feeling is that
consistent technique and familiarity with your equipment will do far
more to improve your score than a set of matched arrows.
(1) Robert P. Elmer, Archery, Penn Publishing Company, 1933. Page 353-7
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----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2000 11:39 PM
Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] port orford cedar shafts
> So what suggestions can any one give us poorer arrow makers? or is
> purchase of scores of shafts, spine scales and calibrated grain scales
> price one has to pay to get the higher range scores? I really hate to
> will only attain mediochre scoreing until I spend another roughly 500
> Simon Hondy
> MKA Jeff Elder