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Making your own wooden arrow shafts Using the Veritas dowel cutter

#1 User is offline   fish n chick 

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 02:06 PM

I posted this on Tradgang, but thought maybe my friends who don't frequent that site might be interested in how I have started making my own wooden arrows out of board stock using the Veritas dowel cutter from Lee Valley. Here's the info:

I was able to buy the dowel maker this past Christmas as a gift to myself. Yes, I bought myself a Christmas present. It was about $40 if I remember correctly. I figured worst case scenario, I can make my own 3/8" dowels. But, best case scenario, I can start cutting my own shafts for $40! I also bought the bit that holds the square stock you'll be making with a drill. I suggest getting the bit that connects that to your drill, if you don't have a bit already.

Fast forward about 6 months, and I come across a gorgeous piece of sitka spruce at woodcraft, and it was so not within my estimated, pre-taxed budget of $0. But, for $40, I estimated I can probably get about 3 dozen shafts out of the board. It made sense in my mind so home it went.



I finally get some time to spend in the shop (i'll be updating the "shop shots" thread I started over a year ago with my own pics soon I hope) with the trad bow(s) I tried making. And while gluing up 5 board bows, I had some time to try to make some shafts.

This thread is here because it went pretty well. So here goes how it went.

First, I cross cut my board to 32". That's my 28" arrow length, + 3" for the drill bit's end, plus 1" for just in case. Now, the board I picked up was only so long so that I would get 3 lengths of 32" stock. If I tried for 36" stock, I would not have enough for that 3rd set. Under normal circumstances, I'd like a 36" piece of stock I think. I cut these on my table saw to about 7/16" x 7/16". I got 10 pieces of stock out of that end.



Next, the jig. I had some cherry scrap I used for a base, and also the supports for the outfeed side. I cut grooves into the supports, and rounded off the infeed side of the supports to help guide the shaft. I then clamped it to the bench, and set a bucket under the dowel maker for the ridiculous amount of shavings you'll get.It's pretty awesome actually. I use some 150 grit sand paper to hold the shaft in place and it sands the shaft down at the same time. Otherwise, it comes out pretty rough. Nothing you can't clean up by just running sandpaper up and down the shaft. afterwards too so it's up to you which way to go.




Then I got to work. This is easier to show with a video. I don't know how to put the actual video on the site yet. If anyone does, please feel free to let me know. TIA!

http://youtu.be/Q_YrfZ8jz2U


This is what I got:





Then, I put together the knock down spine tester, and brought out the scale, and marked my shafts accordingly.




I mark weight in grains, and spine in #'s. I ended up with 5 good shafts after all the experimenting, learning, and breaking. 2 shafts were 50#'s at around 307 grains and 320 grains, one was 53#'s at 310 grains, one at 54#'s at 312 grains, and one at 58#'s at 344 grains. All came to 23/64" diameter. I dialed down a bit on the blade to take it from 3/8" to 23/64". Glad I did since I shoot mostly 45-50# bows.


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#2 User is offline   fish n chick 

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 02:08 PM

I have since learned that a lil track built in front of your cutting jig will help keep the drill in good position while feeding the stock into the cutter. When I rebuild it I will post the revised version. I will also post the finished arrows soon hopefully. I gotta get going on em to have em ready for the fall. I'm going with 3 fletch natural hunters and single fletch spiral flu-flu's.

Hopefully.
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Posted 29 June 2011 - 10:27 AM

Pretty awesome Jon!
"Engineers designed it, it should work." Airdvr1227 -July 3rd, 2012, 01:58 PM
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#4 User is offline   Tony 

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 11:57 AM

I really only understood about 10% of that post but the finished product looks nice. tongue.gif You gonna try and kill with them this fall or just shoot em?
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#5 User is offline   fish n chick 

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 01:05 PM

Thanks Ken!

Tony: You pretty much understood the pictures then. That's ok, I know lawyering can be tough on a guy. If the final arrow weights after fletching, nocks, and paint and finish are worthy, I'm definitely going to be hunting with them this year. my first mission is to finish them. If they are, i'm going to build myself a new bow to suit. My style has changed since I made the last bow for myself, so I think a new one is in order! I am also going to finish cutting the rest of that sitka spruce into dowels, and also some purpleheart I have, and try footing a half dozen or so. I gotta work on a footing jig.

For those that aren't familiar with woodies, these are footed arrows:



Attached File  footed.jpg (16.13K)
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