Product Testing2019-12-26T21:25:24-06:00

One of the reasons for the success of this business lies in GREAT customer feedback.  These comments may not show up as a complaint, but the customer is taking the time to let me know about a possible issue BEFORE it becomes a complaint.  These customers have my deepest gratitude because I can inform my customers about possible issues with a particular product PRIOR to them buying it.  

The last thing I EVER want is for a customer to feel they were misled.  I want every customer who buys from me to be successful with bamboo arrows.  If they came to me in the first place, it says something about that archer.  That’s the customer I want back!  Khan’s arrows is a “NO DOUCHE BAG ZONE”.  That cuts both ways.  

My product testers in New England have discovered that shooting my bamboo arrows directly into trees at 10 yards distance will often break them.  Many archers enjoy stump shooting, but there are NO HARDWOOD trees in South Texas.  If it grows down here, it has thorns.  By sending them some test arrows, and asking them to tell me what a reasonable expectation would be, they were able to report that the arrows survived when shot into a tree beyond 20 yards.  This may sound silly, but I think it is a great point to bring up about realistic expectations.  I value those guys and their feed back.  Good customers who were willing to help me improve the success of other archers with high expectations.  When one of them asked for help with a glue which worked in cold weather, he got a tube of my best glue on the house.  He is a demanding customer, but that told me he had HIGH EXPECTATIONS with regard to my product.  He is my kind of guy.  He is a high value customer.

When I say my ARROWS are tougher than carbon, there are a few things I never considered.  I DO NOT MEAN that my SHAFTS are tougher than carbon, JUST THE ARROWS.  Arrows don’t fly the same as a bare shaft.  Shafts can break quite easily when bare shaft tuning.  What follows is an excellent cautionary tale which both myself and one of my customers learned the hard way.  While it is true the shafts are not as tough as the arrows, it is also true that a high quality bamboo arrow is tougher than any arrow if it is shot within reasonable limits.

I recently sold some shafts to a customer who turns his shafts into arrow using a method called “bare shaft” tuning.  Since I tune my arrows using a different method I can’t speak on the subject much. …AND TO BE CLEAR, I HAVE NO OBJECTION TO BARE SHAFT TUNING, BUT IT APPEARS THERE CAN BE A PROBLEM WITH IT ABOUT WHICH YOU SHOULD BE AWARE.

In theory, bare shaft tuning doesn’t fit particularly well with a hollow grass tube is not as apparent as using this method with a solid stick such as cedar or spruce.  It is easy to imagine that a wooden stick with some weight on the end isn’t going to flex and spin in the same manner as an arrow with feathers.  An arrow which is shot from a traditional or primitive bow is going to have to flex as it leaves the bow.  (An arrow shot from a compound bow, where the arrow leaps into flight directly from the center of the bow will not do this because no there is no reason it should.)  JUST AS IMPORTANTLY, if the arrow is to penetrate deeply, the entire weight of the arrow needs to be lined up directly behind the point.  If the target is too close when the arrow is launched, it may be still be flexing when it hits the target.  This is how I go about tuning my arrows and tuning them to group tightly.  Typically there are 3 unmistakable problems which may occur which will alert you that your arrows are still flexing when they hit the target. and become very clear when shot at a distance of 20 yards.

  1. The arrows will not be sticking STRAIGHT out of the target.  It is possible they will all be sticking out of the target at the same angle, but not straight back toward the archer.  When you see this kind of group this likely means you have a nicely matched set of arrows, but they aren’t matched to your bow.  
  2. The arrows will not be sticking STRAIGHT out of the target, AND they are not sticking out at the same angle with one another.  When you see this kind of group, it is likely that the arrows are still flexing, but not flexing the same as one another.  THEY ARE NOT TUNED AS A GROUP.  It is also a reasonable guess that they are not matched well to you (draw length, etc) and matched to your bow.
  3. The third outcome is that they are all sticking STRAIGHT out of the target.  COOL!  Now go do the same thing at 15 yards, and then again at 10 yards.

Now…THAT is how I make sure I know my arrows are tuned, and tuned to group tightly.  Others arrow makers  use other methods, one of which is BARE SHAFT tuning.  The problem which has emerged by using bare shaft tuning appears as follows.  Since an ARROW or mine should be straightened out in flight by 10 yards…or nearly so.  BUT A SHAFT WITHOUT FEATHERS PROBABLY WILL NOT.  Since the bare shaft will probably be flexing in flight, when it hits at an angle, it will probably “WHIP” when it hits the target and likely won’t penetrate as deeply.

Now, allow me to get down into the weeds about that knowledgeable archer who bought those matched high quality bamboo shafts from me.  Shortly after he received them, he called to tell me that two of them had broken in half on the first “bare shaft” trial.  He sent me photos, and several things got my attention.

Take a look at the photo on the left above.

That is the photo which the knowledgable archer sent to me and several things were immediately apparent.  The first thing which you should know is that I have NEVER had a set of arrows where 2 arrows broke right away…like on the first test as happened in this case.  Let me be clear.  I RARELY HAVE EVEN ONE ARROW BREAK, MUCH LESS TWO OF THEM ON THE FIRST SHOOTING.

First of all, when bamboo shafts break ACROSS THE GRAIN it is because the hollow grass tube can’t take some sort of SHEAR stress (sideways stress) placed on it which is perpendicular to the grain.  This unfinished arrow shaft broke in that manner.  Having shot these arrows for decades, it has been my experience that when a finished arrow fails it is nearly always a break ALONG the grain, NOT ACROSS the grain.   The photo on the right shows how a high quality arrow will break when it fails because it hit a impenetrable target.  These shafts had NOT failed along the grain…they had SNAPPED in half.

So why did these shafts fail?   LET ME BE CLEAR, it wasn’t the customer’s fault!  This was a great learning opportunity for us both and I was grateful for the knowledge.  The entire purpose of Bamboo Arrow University is to set an archer up for success with bamboo!

I am forced to assume the reason for this unique but undeniable event was because the shafts were NOT fully stabilized in flight PRIOR to hitting a very hard backstop, the shear stress of the arrows still flexing when they hit a hard target was simply too great and the shafts snapped in half rather than fail along the grain.  Coincidentally, I had never had a customer use bare shaft tuning on my bamboo shafts or arrows before.  My suspicion is that bare shaft tuning may be incompatible with the bamboo I sell at close distances.  

I simply can’t guarantee that the shafts will survive the bare shaft tuning method.  The manner which I tune my bamboo is different, and is found in Bamboo Arrow University.

Here is what I have discovered about my high quality bamboo shafts when they hit an unyielding a hard target such as a stump or rock…or cinder block.

What might happen when you put buffalo horn nocks and horse bows which have metal nock points on the string.

This is an interesting comment which came back from a customer who had bought some of my arrows with buffalo horn nocks.