THE FIRST STEPS2019-07-11T10:56:00+00:00
  • How to measure the length of an arrow

  • How to measure the static spine of an arrow

  • The cult of the “exploding arrow”.

  • How to get minor curves and bends out of a bamboo arrow without breaking it.

  • Why heavy arrows actually are a better choice for any archer at normal shooting distances.

  • Those tiny details….

  • How to fletch a bamboo arrow

why is this important?

THOSE WONDERFUL ARROWS THAT JUST MATCH YOU AND YOUR BOW ARE NOT A RESULT OF ACCIDENT.

Finding the “sweet spot” where everything matches up and the arrows just seem perfect can be found if the arrow maker goes looking for it.  There are four priorities in arrow making, and sometimes they compete against each other.  These four priorities are:

Arrow Length

Arrow Weight

Static Spine

Arrow Balance 

WELL, I HAD TO LEARN THE HARD WAY.

Just because I cut a bamboo shaft to 32 inches doesn’t mean I will get a 32 inch arrow.  if you are using plastic nocks, often you will need ot take off an extra 1/8 inch because of how arrows are measured.  Insert style nocks are slightly different.  As you can see, the conventional way to measure all wooden arrows, including bamboo arrows, is to measure from the crotch of the nock to where the head inserts into the wood, or the place where the wood ends and the steel begins if you are measuring an arrow with a glue-on head.

OBVIOUSLY THERE ARE REASONS FOR THIS.

First of all, the last thing you want is an arrow which is too short!  That is a heart-breaking waste of money.  But another reason for this is that arrow length can greatly effect how an arrow flexes in the air as it goes down range.  The LONGER an arrow is, the more easily it flexes, thus LOWERING the DYNAMIC spine of the arrow.  For instance, If I normally shoot a 28 arrow and find that it flies a bit too stiff, causing it to land to the side of the bullseye, one thing I can do is to shoot a 29 or 30 inch arrow.  This will cause the arrow to be more flexible in flight.  Arrow length is one of 4 major considerations in manipulating bamboo arrows to group tightly enough to start splitting them.  This balancing of the four biggest ARROW priorities is what I call “The Arrow Maker’s Conundrum”.

WHEN WE KNOW THE TRUE LENGTH OF AN ARROW, WE CAN FIND THE BALANCE POINT.

As you can see, two of our four factors we need to match to find out “sweet spot” come from this.  That is why it is an important step.

When we know the length, we can find the center of the arrow’s length.  In this case, we have an arrow exactly 32 inches long.  This means our “arrow center” is 16 inches from the crotch of the nock.

Now we can place this arrow on a straight edge and mark the balance point of the arrow.  

Once we know both of these points, we can calculate the F O C (forward of center) of the arrow.  These don’t have to match each other exactly for bamboo arrows. but they do need to fall within a certain range.

Now we are half way to determining if this shaft will fall into the sweet spot that we are looking for.

FINDING HIGH QUALITY BAMBOO IS THE FIRST CRITICAL STEP TO SUCCESS

When I started buying them 20 years ago, I got crooked pieces and brittle pieces quite often. Fully half of the shafts I would buy would break during the arrow making process, or were completely unusable. Junk bamboo costs the same as excellent quality bamboo. Excellent bamboo is the first step to excellent bamboo arrows.  But it isn’t the only step to excellent bamboo arrows.

SHOP MY MATCHED BAMBOO SHAFTS

There are several things to tell you whether or not the quality of your bamboo arrow shafts is very good.  Unfortunately, you will only know this when you get them delivered.  Here are some things to look for, and just so you know…if you buy them from Khan’s arrows, that’s all you will get.  We go through every shaft as it is spined and weighed and straightened.  If it is flawed, you won’t see it.  It will never leave the shop.  Because I finally found a top shelf supplier (and it took years); and because I toss the unacceptable shafts, the price may be a bit higher, but I will never have to apologize for the toughness and durability, or the tiny groups they can achieve.  So, you decide what you want to pay for.  It has been my experience that mediocre and poor bamboo ALWAYS cost more than high quality bamboo.

SHOP MY MATCHED BAMBOO SHAFTS

Take a look at this data. For some archers…well…this just might amount to heresy.

You can see the BIG difference!

300 grain arrow 500 grain arrow 700 grain arrow What is the point?
At Lunch Speed in foot pounds per second 263 217 190 a heavier arrow launches slower a heavier arrow launches slower a heavier arrow launches with more energy
Energy in foot pounds 46.1 52.3 56.1
Momentum in grains per second 2463 3374 4136
At 20 yards Speed in foot pounds per second 248 209 186 A heavier arrow looses less speed than a lighter arrow.
Energy in foot pounds 41 48.5 53.2
Momentum in grains per second 2313 3249 4027
At 60 yards Speed in foot pounds per second 220 195 181 At every distance in this chart, the heavy arrow launched slower BUT it was the more consistent in flight.
Energy in foot pounds 32.2 52.2 50.9
Momentum in grains per second 2052 3032 3940
Energy lost % 34.3 21.6 9.2 Get the point here? Heavy arrows are substantially more predictable in flight, although they do launch slower!
Lost momentum % 29.8 15.6 4.7

Take a look at this data. For some archers…well…this just might amount to heresy.

You can see the BIG difference!

300 grain arrow 500 grain arrow 700 grain arrow What is the point?
At Lunch Speed in foot pounds per second 263 217 190 a heavier arrow launches slower a heavier arrow launches slower a heavier arrow launches with more energy
Energy in foot pounds 46.1 52.3 56.1
Momentum in grains per second 2463 3374 4136
At 20 yards Speed in foot pounds per second 248 209 186 A heavier arrow looses less speed than a lighter arrow.
Energy in foot pounds 41 48.5 53.2
Momentum in grains per second 2313 3249 4027
At 60 yards Speed in foot pounds per second 220 195 181 At every distance in this chart, the heavy arrow launched slower BUT it was the more consistent in flight.
Energy in foot pounds 32.2 52.2 50.9
Momentum in grains per second 2052 3032 3940
Energy lost % 34.3 21.6 9.2 Get the point here? Heavy arrows are substantially more predictable in flight, although they do launch slower!
Lost momentum % 29.8 15.6 4.7

How to get minor curves and bends out of a bamboo arrow without breaking it.

Read More

Bamboo is different from Carbon. How do you make the right decisions about how to start.

Read More

Take a look at this data. For some archers…well…this just might amount to heresy.

You can see the BIG difference!

300 grain arrow 500 grain arrow 700 grain arrow What is the point?
At Lunch Speed in foot pounds per second 263 217 190 a heavier arrow launches slower a heavier arrow launches slower a heavier arrow launches with more energy
Energy in foot pounds 46.1 52.3 56.1
Momentum in grains per second 2463 3374 4136
At 20 yards Speed in foot pounds per second 248 209 186 A heavier arrow looses less speed than a lighter arrow.
Energy in foot pounds 41 48.5 53.2
Momentum in grains per second 2313 3249 4027
At 60 yards Speed in foot pounds per second 220 195 181 At every distance in this chart, the heavy arrow launched slower BUT it was the more consistent in flight.
Energy in foot pounds 32.2 52.2 50.9
Momentum in grains per second 2052 3032 3940
Energy lost % 34.3 21.6 9.2 Get the point here? Heavy arrows are substantially more predictable in flight, although they do launch slower!
Lost momentum % 29.8 15.6 4.7

Fletch Your Own Arrows

Read More

Different Kinds Of Heads And Fletching.

Read More

What Does Good Bamboo Look Like

bamboo arrow shafts

The cost of cheap or mediocre bamboo is the same as excellent bamboo. How confident are you that a company which sells thousands of bamboo shafts per week is sorting through them to only send the good stuff? These are exactly the same shafts I use to make my own and I can assure you, I don’t shoot junk!

SHOP MY BLACK ARROW BAMBOO SHAFTS

The bamboo arrow shaft on the left is slightly oval, where the one on the right is nice and round. Some SLIGHTLY oval shafts can be used with success, and some can’t. I recently had a bamboo shaft that when measured on a spine tester, measured a static spine of 37 pounds.

SHOP MY BLACK ARROW BAMBOO SHAFTS
oval vs. round

When I started buying them 20 years ago, I got crooked pieces and brittle pieces quite often. Fully half of the shafts I would buy would break during the arrow making process, or were completely unusable. Junk bamboo costs the same as excellent quality bamboo.

  • How to select bamboo.
  • Understanding static spine and how this is best measured on a bamboo arrow.
  • An overview of the bamboo I find most suitable for toughness and grouping.
  • What is the “archer’s paradox” all about, and how an arrow maker use it for tight groups?
  • How to get minor curves and bends out of a bamboo arrow without breaking it.