|Osage Orange flat bow with a new arrow|
1. How heavy and what type is your bow?
2. Is your shaft spined* right for that weight?
3. What is your draw length?
4. How long do want your fletching or feathers?
|untrimmed turkey feather fletching|
This first question will lead you into the rest. The weight of your bow or heaviness will tell you how heavy the spine on your arrow shaft needs to be. The type of bow you have will tell you how specific you need to get with your spine weight. Spine refers to the weight it takes make an arrow bend and flex. This is very important because if your spine is too light and the arrow bends to easily then when you release the string the power of the bow can break the arrow and this usually happens right behind your hand with dire or at least painful consequences. If your arrow is too heavily spined and you have an eastern style flat bow with no arrow rest the arrow will not flex around the handle section and will be harder to aim. Having the correct spine weight is important to all bows, arrow rest or not, because of the weight of the arrow and because of the way an arrow flies true, but if you have a bow with no arrow rest you must get it right. Now the type of bow you have will also dictate the length of your arrow, which affects spine weight. I usually cut my shafts to one inch past my draw so that I leave the arrow head out in front of my hand when I draw, there is no "right" draw length it is all a matter of preference. Now for feather length it is again a matter of preference. I like 4" feathers it seems to be a good balance between flight correction and how much long feathers can slow down my arrows. Ok now lets talk about hafting.
|Dacite point hafted|
The next step after spin weight and length is to straighten your shaft. this done really easily by holding the apex of the bent section over a flame rotating it until it is hot and then using your hands and knee, bend it to the right shape. you want the wood hot not burnt and the bending should happen really easily and not be tough to move. You can really feel it when you get it right. Hold the position for about 30 seconds at least, often you must go just past where you want the bend to stay because the wood has memory and wants to go back to the position it remembers. I always sand my arrows after I straighten them and make sure that they are smooth and will ride over my hand without catching or splintering (important!)
|Dacite point and notch for hafting|
Fletching will come along soon....