WHAT DOES HIGH QUALITY BAMBOO LOOK LIKE2019-09-12T21:30:56+00:00

What should you expect your bamboo to look like.

Basically, there is junk bamboo, mediocre bamboo, and high quality bamboo.  Surprisingly, they all cost the same.

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.

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.

FINDING HIGH QUALITY BAMBOO IS THE FIRST CRITICAL STEP TO SUCCESS

The easiest way to explain to someone what high quality bamboo looks like is simply to show them and compare it to the junk or mediocre bamboo that unsuspecting buyers usually settle for.  Because the simply don’t know what high quality looks like.

I will absolutely assure you that high quality bamboo costs no more than junk bamboo.  It is true that some dealers will CHARGE more, but the costs to the dealer are nearly always the same.  Take a look at this information.  Perhaps it will inform you.

The bamboo shafts which I sell are a variety known as the Tonkin Cane.  When the old Khan used these, it was called “River Reed”.  Arundinaria amabilis has been used for thousands of years and has always been considered ideal for arrows.  The reason is because it is very durable.  It is my opinion that these arrows are the TOUGHEST arrows in the world, including carbon and aluminum…if you get a good quality bamboo shaft.  This is the key point to know.

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.  If you have the right contacts you can get perfection.  You certainly are free to find this out for yourself.

This is why I buy them, sort through them, spine them…exactly…and them bundle them in sets of 12.  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
Shop my White Arrow bamboo shafts

“…I finally had a chance to shoot these arrows that you made for me.  What can I say?  They are just great for me!!  At some point I was afraid to shoot more than two arrows to the same target.  They were hitting just too close to each other.  Thank you very much!!

Boris BorchevskyBoris Borchevsky, Khan's Arrows

IT IS TIME TO RAISE YOUR EXPECTATIONS OF BAMBOO.  THE GOOD STUFF IS OUT THERE, AND IT DOESN’T COST ANYMORE THAN THE OTHER STUFF.

First you have to taper your bamboo shaft.  If the bamboo begins to come apart while you are doing this, the bamboo has dried out.  You didn’t get that bamboo from me!  High quality bamboo is dense and hard.

As you can see in the photos above, it is easy to get a plastic glue-on nock straight.  Unless you aren’t paying attention!  This black arrow was consistently landing either right or left by about an inch, but never in the bulls eye.  I finally looked at the nock.  These little things make a big difference if you want tight groups.

IT IS TIME TO RAISE YOUR EXPECTATIONS OF BAMBOO.  THE GOOD STUFF IS OUT THERE, AND IT DOESN’T COST ANYMORE THAN THE OTHER STUFF.

THE FIRST THING TO DEMAND IS STRAIGHT BAMBOO SHAFTS! 

I don’t mean “mostly straight”.  I mean STRAIGHT.  Minor bows in the overall shaft can easily be straightened.  Here are two shafts which were sold recently by the biggest bamboo arrow seller on the internet.  They are crooked…AND crooked at a node.  This arrow is never going to fly into tight groups.  The pressure it will take to straighten these is will certainly break them.  If the company will take these back, Send them back!

You can see the photo below that high quality bamboo shafts, among OTHER THINGS, are straight.  This is the first thing to look for, but is no means the last.

Here is what I see when I look at these bamboo shafts.

Much of the charm of bamboo shafts is that they look and feel authentic.  Bamboo DOES have minor irregularities because it isn’t sanded down prior to arrow making.  There is an excellent reason for this.  Because bamboo is HOLLOW, which is a wonderful thing to have, reducing the skin of the shaft can lead to the arrow wobbling in flight, and could lead to an arrow breaking much too easily.  It could break while launching, which is a legitimate safety issue every archer should be aware of.

These shafts are STRAIGHT at the nodes, and throughout the length of the shaft.  On the top shaft in this photo, there does appear to be a minor bow there.  But there are several reasons why I am unconcerned about a bit of minor bowing in a high quality shaft.

The first reason is that bamboo will have to have minor straightening from time to time.  If the nodes are straight and strong, straightening those shafts is a minor inconvenience.  

The second reason is that this shaft is 33 1/8 inches long.  It is highly likely that I will cut this shaft down just a bit.  I simply will cut this 1/4 inch off that end and cut the rest off the lighter end of this shaft…if indeed there actually IS a bow in that shaft.

Lastly, it is quite common for a bamboo shaft to be just a bit uneven when it is harvested.  but, I will either bevel this end for an arrow point, or place a brass collar onto it.  In either case, it will be dealt with at that time.

I hope this can set a reasonable expectation for you about a shaft being bent at a node vs. minor shaft bowing which is common, expected, and easily dealt with.

A moment to discuss bamboo nodes.

You will have a hard time finding the grain on a high quality bamboo shaft.  While this is NOT ALWAYS TRUE, it is usually true.  The reason is because the bamboo is STRAIGHT AND TIGHT as a rule.  This bamboo shaft was one of the bent shafts in the photos above, and you can see why the shaft is bent at the node and will almost certainly break.

How can you ‘UNGNARL” a node?  I have been asked if this can be “steamed out”, or “baked out” of a less than perfect shaft.  I don’t know for certain, but I never was able to successfully do this.  Instead of trying, I simply bought high quality bamboo.  Feel free to shop my shafts unless you want to give this a try.

How nodes can effect spine.

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.

There are other possible problems to be aware of too.  These are more subtle.

oval Vs. Round

It is easy to miss this.  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.  When I turned it a quarter turn and remeasured it.  It registered a static spine of 44 pounds.  Another quarter turn and it was measuring 37 pounds again, and the last quarter turn was back to 44 pounds.  I find that this is consistent enough to use as an arrow for a 44 pound bow with fine accuracy.  I would probably NOT use it to make a 37 pound arrow because it has been my experience that the heavier weight will meet with more success.  I will make sure the EXACT spot on a 44 pound side is clearly marked for nock placement and cock feather placement.

Another issue with Bamboo is uneven wall thickness.  In these two photos, you can see that this is nearly always an issue which runs the entire length of a shaft.  When I am grouping my shafts prior to weighing them, I will sometimes find one of these.  If you buy your shafts from me, YOU never will.

Think about how much a junk bamboo shaft really costs when you can get round ones for exactly the same price.  Khan’s arrows doesn’t sell oval shafts…just saying…

LET ME BE CLEAR.  I measure success by how well this arrow will group with the rest of the set.  If you have good from the set of arrows should group in a teacup, or at the very least, a salad plate, the set is a good set.  My goal is to make the best bamboo arrows anyone can buy on the internet, and sell the highest quality bamboo and heads.  I am happy to teach you everything you need to know to be successful making your own.

What good tough bamboo arrows look and sound like when they hit. 

These arrows were shot from a 43 pound Saluki horse bow at 20 yards.

Sorting good bamboo

Sorting through hundreds of shafts to keep only the good, straight, round shafts.  Then I sort through them to group them by exact spines and exact weights.  I take the time to carefully select only the good stuff.  After 20 years, I have found the best supplier out there.  This has helped me cut down on wastage.  This is why my shafts and arrows group tightly if you work on your form.

What we have learned so far…

What are our key takeaways?

We have learned that good bamboo and junk bamboo are nearly the same price.  You need to source the “good stuff”.

The “archer’s paradox” is simply describing what should never happen…but it does.  Due to the advent of high speed filmography, we know that the arrow is  actually flexing in flight.

This flexing, which I call dynamic spine, can be manipulated to allow arrows of different static spines to fly as though they are the same static spine.  Recall that static spine is the simple measurement of an arrow shaft on the spine tester.  It has little bearing on the performance you can coax from an arrow, but it is useful as a starting point.

We have learned that heavy arrows are a better choice for nearly every archer who will shoot wooden arrows.

And last…we learned that an arrow maker can actually move an entire set of arrows right or left if they choose.  This is what I refer to as The Arrow Maker’s Conundrum.

Next, let’s tackle that…and we are almost done!

Learn more about what high quality bamboo looks like

The difference between a poor arrow and a good arrow is generally obvious. 

The difference between a good arrow and a GREAT arrow is generally less obvious.  

Whether to have a great set of arrows or a beautiful set of arrows is often a decision you’ll have to make.

First you have to taper your bamboo shaft.  If the bamboo begins to come apart while you are doing this, the bamboo has dried out.  You didn’t get that bamboo from me!  High quality bamboo is dense and hard.

As you can see in the photos above, it is easy to get a plastic glue-on nock straight.  Unless you aren’t paying attention!  This black arrow was consistently landing either right or left by about an inch, but never in the bulls eye.  I finally looked at the nock.  These little things make a big difference if you want tight groups.

Heavy arrows and light arrows. What does the data say?2019-04-21T22:49:30+00:00
Column1 Column2 Column3 500 grain arrow 700 grain arrow What’s the point?
At Launch Speed in foot pounds per second 263 217 190 a heavier arrow launches slower
Energy in foot pounds 46.1 52.3 56.1 a heavier arrow launches with more energy
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 40 yards Speed in foot pounds per second 234 202 185 Speed, energy, and momentum loss over distance still favor the heavy arrow!
Energy in foot pounds 48.6 49.8 53.2
Momentum in grains per second 2191 3455 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?  Heay arrows are substantially more predictable in flight, although they do launch slower!
Lost momentum % 29.8 15.6 4.7

How do I know if my arrow will be safe if you want me to lower the spine?

This is an EXCELLENT question, and I am please someone asked!  So, here is the answer.  I do not MAKE arrows with weaker spines.  I adjust the spine to FLY weaker.  I have a 43 pound bow with no shelf.  It is a primitive bow.  I know that I can shoot an arrow with a static spine which measures no less than 31 pounds.  In my quiver are 24 arrows which have a static spine of 32 – 37 pounds.  BUT I CAN ADJUST THE DYNAMIC SPINE of those arrows to FLY like 30 pound spined arrow, or a 40 pound spined arrow, or anything in between.  The arrow is still stiff enough to be safe, but it flies differently if I tune it differently.  THIS IS EXACTLY WHY I USE THE TERMS STATIC AND DYNAMIC SPINE!  One measures how stiff it is on the spine tester.  The other is the adjustments I make to cause it to fly differently.  This is why I can group arrows which don’t have the same static spines, but will still group into a teacup.

When your arrows begin to scatter, there is a reason.  Sometimes you are having a bad day on the range.  Sometimes you are too fatigued to practice good form, but sometimes it isn’t that at all.  Sometimes very small errors in making an arrow can really be magnified at 20 yards!

Let’s don’t bore ourselves with too much math here.  The geometry behind this shot is simple and surprised me quite a bit.  In the photo, you can see that the one arrow is out of the group.  Not only is out of the group, but is over 5 inches away from the nearest other arrow in the group.  Basically, if you have a triangle which is 20 yards long on one side, (720 inches) a second side which is also 720 inches, and a third side which is 51/2 inches long, we can run this problem, and discover that the arrow out of the group and either one or both ends which were a total of 1/16 inches off from the rest.  So, while this seems painful to look at, small problems become highly magnified at 20 yards.  When you can group a set of arrows tightly at 20 yards, YOU ARE LITERALLY SPLITTING HAIRS.  All of your shots have been made with ALL of them having been launched with either end of the arrow within 1/16 of EVERY OTHER ARROW shot in that group…AND we haven’t discussed the effect of good follow through on a shot.  Don’t dispair!!  I pulled my arrows and reshot that miss.  As you can see, the problem was not the arrow, it was the archer.

But, how can we know if it is the archer or the arrow?  This is the same group of arrows a few weeks later on the same range and distance.  As you can see, one arrow continually lands high, but it wasn’t doing so a few weeks ago.  I reshot this arrow repeatedly, and got virtually the same result every time, as you can see.  Suddenly, one arrow isn’t grouping.  Since I am repeating the same result with this arrow, I can assume my form isn’t at fault.  So, the question becomes “WHAT IS WRONG WITH ARROW #8”?

You may recall that in the section on the left, we just discussed how good archery is like splitting hairs. We have approximately an 8 inch variance, so how is it that this arrow consistently lands in such a way that it is launched 1/8 inch higher then every arrow, and only this arrow is, and it is doing so every time?

After considering, it came to me that I had split a nock in my arrows a few weeks before, and I began wondering about the nock.   As you can see in the third image, a moment of inattention on my part two weeks ago when I replaced this nock led to an arrow that will never group.

I believe you can see my point.  Sometimes arrows scatter because of the archer.  But sometimes a very small (virtually unnoticeable flaw) can lead to an undesirable outcome.   I now can generalize about my groups.  When arrows are landing right or left, and the problem isn’t my form, then the problem has to be that the dynamic spine doesn’t match the rest of the group.  When arrows land high or low, and the problem isn’t my form, then I need to start looking at my nocks.  I also think this demonstrates a second point about nock placement.  PAY ATTENTION!

If you want bamboo arrows, this is what Khan’s arrows has to offer!

Bamboo arrows vary too much by weight when I buy a set.

Buying several hundred shafts at a time and sorting them by weight to be within approximately 30 grains from the heaviest to the lightest within a set of 12 arrow shafts is no hardship!  We do that routinely.  In fact, we won’t sell ANY set of arrows, U-fletch arrows, or bare bamboo shafts without having done this.  I used to get these kinds of arrows from arrow makers who thought that making a set of bamboo arrow was the same as making a set of carbon arrows. I was astonished at the junk people were selling.  Some of these arrow makers were U.S. based.  That’s why I learned to make my own bamboo arrows all those years ago.

Bamboo arrows usually are spined too high for my 40 pound bow.  The last place I looked said they could only get 70 or 80 pound spined arrows.

I assume this is an older objection that is remaking the rounds.  I routinely make sets of bamboo arrows spined at 28 pounds all the way to 60 pounds.  My own personal arrows are spined to be about 33 pounds.  This is one of the keys to my success of grouping these arrows within a teacup.

Bamboo arrows are too expensive!  The last ones I bought were $90.00 for 3 finished arrows!

I have never found these arrows anywhere.  I do routinely see junk bamboo arrows for sale for about $65.00 for 6 or 12 arrow sets, and a mediocre set of bamboo arrows for sale for about $100 dollars of six arrows.  Some kick in the shipping, while others do not.  Now that I know that, I will never apologize for my pricing of $115 to $150 dollars for 12 matched arrows again!  If anything, I should  be raising my prices!

Bamboo arrows only come with glue-on heads.

This archer needs to get acquainted with a better class of arrow maker!  This is why I invented my black arrows.

I called a supplier of carbon arrows who also sells bamboo arrows.  They told me they would not recommend bamboo arrows for target competition because they are not as accurate as a carbon arrow.

I’m sorry, and I do apologize for my Tourette’s syndrome, but this is utter bull shit.  This statement can only be made by someone who has never shot good bamboo arrows.  The old khan didn’t bring down all those other empires with carbon arrows!  I hope to God the photos above, and all over my website, as well as the customer comment page on my website dispel this myth.  Personally I find this ignorance to be damned near breathtaking.  Sorry…just saying….

It is difficult to find feathers to repair my bamboo arrows when I need them.

Khan’s arrows sells closely matched sets of U-Fletch arrows in any length or spine you want.  You are perfectly free to fletch them yourself with any feather you care to use.  Our finished arrows are all made with common and readily available 5 inch, left wing, shield cut feathers in either black, white, or barred colors.  Lastly, my feathers are glued down to stay!  I recently put one through a 4 layer wall and not only was the arrow just fine, but the feathers were completely in  place and undamaged.  To see the video, click here.

They just don’t come in the lengths and spine I want!  

Please allow me to point out that ALL “off the shelf” arrows come with a predetermined length.  Khan’s arrows doesn’t sell “off the shelf arrows”.  You can get literally ANYTHING you want with regard to length, spine, or nearly any other parameter.  I do need to tell you that if you want anything longer than 33 inches, you will need to be patient while I get these shipped…and they will be more expensive.  But the high quality will be the same.

I can’t get these with hunting heads or other heads.

Hmmmm….They have never been to my website!  It is a big wide wonderful world out there…and you can have whatever you want!

xxxxx

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.

FINDING HIGH QUALITY BAMBOO IS THE FIRST CRITICAL STEP TO SUCCESS

As I previously mentioned, junk bamboo, mediocre bamboo, and high quality tough-as-hell bamboo all cost just about the same amount of money.  You certainly are free to discover this for yourself.  But before you begin, let me say that I didn’t know what high quality bamboo looked like until I saw it.  It was starkly different than what I had seen before.  Would you know what the high quality stuff looks like if you saw it?  If not, allow me to show you.

Let me be clear here.  The point of Bamboo Arrow University is to help you become successful with your own bamboo arrows.  I can only make a few really primo sets in a week, but since I have the right bamboo and parts, I can help you become successful and supply the shafts to you, pre-cut, matched to group tightly by weight, static spine, and length.  The balance point will be up to you.  If you buy the U-FLETCH arrows rather than just the matched shafts, then I can work that in as well, provided you allow me to do so.

SHOP MY BAMBOO SHAFTS
Sorting good bamboo

SOMETIMES SMALL FLAWS CAN MAKE THE BAMBOO SHAFT UNUSABLE AS AN ARROW.

A small subtle problem that is easy to miss is the problem of uneven wall growth.  After all, bamboo is a grass, it won’t always have the same wall thickness.  While it is often possible to simply place a nock to work around a slightly oval bamboo shaft, nothing can fix this problem.  I start by ordering the best bamboo available, and it took me forever to find this supplier.  I go through EVERY ONE of the shafts personally looking for irregularities and problems.  This happens as I sort them by spine.  Once this is complete, then it is time to take each spined group and sort them into groups closely matching by weight.  But STILL, the process isn’t over.  There is more to do if you want to claim you make the best custom bamboo arrows in the world.  I do make that claim.

oval vs. round

SOMETIMES SMALL FLAWS CAN MAKE NO DIFFERENCE, BUT SOMETIMES THEY CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD.

This is a very subtle problem, and can be easy to miss.  You can see that the bamboo shaft on the left is just a bit oval.  The shaft on the right is nice and round.  This can be a deal breaker, or it can make little difference at all, depending on where you place your nock!

LEARN MORE ABOUT NOCK PLACEMENT

If you know to look for this, you can see that the wall of this shaft is unevenly grown.  This will cause the arrow to spin unevenly from the moment of launch to the moment of impact.  Nothing you do can rectify this problem, and this uneven growth happens with some regularity.   I don’t sell them, I don’t ship them.  They become something other then an arrow.  You’ll never see them from me.  Because I do have to cull these out, perhaps you can see  why may bamboo shafts will cost you a bit more.

SHOP MY BAMBOO SHAFTS

FINDING HIGH QUALITY BAMBOO IS THE FIRST CRITICAL STEP TO SUCCESS

As I previously mentioned, junk bamboo, mediocre bamboo, and high quality tough-as-hell bamboo all cost just about the same amount of money.  You certainly are free to discover this for yourself.  But before you begin, let me say that I didn’t know what high quality bamboo looked like until I saw it.  It was starkly different than what I had seen before.  Would you know what the high quality stuff looks like if you saw it?  If not, allow me to show you.

Let me be clear here.  The point of Bamboo Arrow University is to help you become successful with your own bamboo arrows.  I can only make a few really primo sets in a week, but since I have the right bamboo and parts, I can help you become successful and supply the shafts to you, pre-cut, matched to group tightly by weight, static spine, and length.  The balance point will be up to you.  If you buy the U-FLETCH arrows rather than just the matched shafts, then I can work that in as well, provided you allow me to do so.

SHOP MY BAMBOO SHAFTS
SHOP MY BAMBOO SHAFTS

Nearly 25 years ago, I decided to learn about bamboo arrows.  I wish I still had some of the old shafts that I first got from a seller on Ebay who sold them in bundles of 12.  When I got them, they were all the same length, but that is where it ended.  The weights were nowhere near the same weight.  In fact, the weight could vary as much as 200 grains in a set of 12.  They were all sold to be the same spine, but they weren’t.  Some shafts were oval, not round, and since I didn’t yet know how to properly spine test bamboo with all its anomalies, I didn’t understand that while they might match in looks, that was the extent of it.  Some of those oval shafts would could be as much as 30 pounds higher then advertised.  Some shafts were crooked.  I don’t mean BENT, I mean CROOKED!  I even had an American arrow maker send me some bamboo that looked like this because he didn’t know any better.  I no longer buy any bamboo shafts on Ebay, so they may still be there.  I don’t know.

If you choose to settle, that is up to you.

OVERWHELMINGLY, MOST OF THE BAMBOO I SEE NOW ISN’T POOR BAMBOO, IT JUST ISN’T THE GOOD STUFF.  IF I AM WILLING TO SETTLE FOR THAT, THEN IT IS ALSO MY DECISION NOT TO SHOOT ARROWS I CAN RELY ON.  THAT IS MY DECISION.

You can see in both photo that one shaft is much thicker than the the other.  It is more bulky.  It weighs 125 grains more then the thin one.  It shoots OK, but I’m  not looking for a teacup sized group with those.  Those are the middling shafts I used to buy.  They cost EXACTLY the same price as the slimmer and more elegant shaft next to it, which is EXACLTY the same spine, but 125 grains lighter, and because it is denser, it is MUCH MUCH MUCH more durable.  It is harder to break than the heavier one above.  These elegant shafts will closely match in weight, and because they weigh less…well you get the picture here.

Here is my opinion after all these years of learning why my archery wasn’t up to my expectations.  It wasn’t my lack of time on the range…THAT’S FOR CERTAIN!  No one can give you what they don’t have to give.  If your dealer doesn’t have them, probably it is because they simply don’t know what high quality bamboo looks like, or choose to buy the lesser quality because customers simply don’t know what to look for.  After all, if I can find the good shafts on the internet, so can they.

The Chinese generally stopped making bamboo arrows about 400 years ago.  Being from Asia is hardly a credential for knowing what high quality bamboo is.  The bamboo sellers I worked with were very honest.  They always kept their word.  But few of them actually know how to make a set of bamboo arrow which matches one another for balance point, static spine, or weight.  In fact, I don’t believe any I have bought bamboo shafts from actually shoot these arrows at all.  I may be wrong, but I see no evidence that any of them have ever shot their own arrows or made their own personal arrows from the shafts they sell.

My advice about a bamboo supplier is this.  Find a good one, but don’t worry about advice.  What would you expect them to say?  “Sorry…I just sell the stuff because it grows in my backyard, but I really don’t know”?  It is an unfair situation to put them in.  Let’s face it.  If someone simply doesn’t know the truth, they will tell you what they BELIEVE to be the truth.  Don’t we see this all the time?  I believe this is what is called “ignorance”.

Bamboo can dry out.  Some bamboo shafts can be straightened, some can’t, and often break in the process.  Sometimes these shafts can be too bent, or too brittle and will snap.  However, the most bothersome aspects aren’t these.  The most irksome problem for me was this…

They just don’t MATCH!  Good luck making teacup sized groups out of that!  It took me a long time to find good arrow shaft bamboo and the guy who sells them.  His English is limited, but I’m splitting my own arrows on a regular basis now…5 in the last 3 weeks.  You should spend your money and set your archery goals in whatever way seems right to you.

IT TOOK ME MUCH LONGER TO FIND WHAT EXCELLENT BAMBOO REALLY WAS.  IN THE END, IT WAS THOSE TEACUP SIZED GROUPS WHICH POINTED THE WAY.