So you want to make some arrows for SCA target archery? Cool, Well this is the place to learn. First I would like to cover some topics for sake of clarity, then I would like to explain the process to follow long before you get to laying hands to wood. Heck, this should be decided before you have even ordered your fixings.
Hopefully this will allow you to make the right decisions now and avoid mistakes later on.
At this point I would like to explain some basic terms here that you are going to need soon, so bear with me:
We Canadians cringe every time we even think of ordering from the States (figure a 75% price increase when we finally get our stock)
So price is an issue. The fixings for a dozen arrows will cost about $30- $50 depending on what kinds of volume you order in. We in Dragon Dormant are lucky because we have a Canadian distributor, Tele Transactions Traditional Supplies that gets the big volume discounts and so passes them along to us when we order as a company, If you are in Canada I highly suggest you give Gabriel a call.
If you are in the States I can recommend by experience Diana's shaft shop in Sterling CT. or 3Rivers archery in the Midwest. There are many other distributors in the US but I haven't tried them so can't recommend them.
Longbow or recurve, flatbow or some fiberglass Wal*mart special, do you shoot off your knuckle or is the bow center shot? It really doesn't matter right now what you use so long as it is your regular bow. This is important because your bow will dictate the draw weight and mass weight for your arrows. as well, it dictates the leeway within which you can allow variations from the best case arrow.
If you use a different bow every time you shoot, you cannot hope to have a set of arrows to match the bow unless you make a dozen for each bow (very expensive). So choose one and stick with it.
Ok now do you have one particular bow in mind? Good, now what is the draw weight? You will need this later so write it down, on the bow if you can do it without damaging it, is best. You want the bow and arrow to match as closely as possible most of the time but there are times when you will want to deviate from this.
Each bow, as I mentioned before, has it's own preferred spine range. Longbows have much less leeway than recurves in what spine weight they can use safely and generally require a somewhat lower spine to allow for the arrow bending around the bow. A recurve can safely shoot arrows with a broader range of spine weights but will prefer something a little heavier than the draw weight of the bow, Bending less under the force and thereby making the arrow more responsive to the initial push of the bowstring.
I could get into force vector diagrams and fancy explanations of why this works the way it does but not here. If you want to know, email me and I would be glad to explain it to you.
Now that we have got that done we need to consider the arrows themselves and so, on to
As you read these many pages, we will discuss the various components and whatnot that go in to making your arrows, but before that, I wanted to finish this off with a bit of advice.
I would first pose you a question, What do you plan on doing with the arrows? Target shooting, stumpshooting, hunting? Well I suggest that you decide now because what I can teach you will work for any of these good and fun activities, however the main goal here is to help you make a reasonably well made set of SCA legal target arrows. I warn you now, that if you try to make your arrows do multiple things, they will do none of them as well as they could if you specifically designed them for one task only.
Hunting arrows need to be heavier than target arrows to maximize penetration into your quarry. Extreme durability and longer range abilities really do not matter so much. Most of the time we wouldn't shoot at our quarry beyond 20 yards or so. At this range a flat shooting arrow isn't really needed and if it does it's job, it is not so important if it gets broken afterwards.
Stump shooting or roving needs the short range power of a hunting arrow and the durability to allow it to be used over. If the stump you thought you were shooting at turns out to be a rock, your fine cedar shaft will be ruined where an ash shaft will bounce off and be ready to go again.
For target shooting in the SCA, we need different qualities in our arrows. They must be fast and flat shooting because we shoot out to 40 yards with some hope of accuracy and we do not want to have to lob the arrow into the air to get there. The less time an arrow is in flight, the less time it has to be affected by air resistance, the wind and gravity. We do not need punching power and though durability and reusability is an issue at the target, the primary concern here is being struck by another's arrow while sitting in the target and as it is fairly rare, when it does happen, nothing you can do will make a difference.
I realize I have thrown a lot at you right off but I believe that this is what is needed to start you making a decent quiver of arrows. From here on in, the decisions you made will affect your shooting. In the next pages we will look at the components briefly and then get to actually putting them together.
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