As a follow up to the need I addressed for a survival bow comes the need for a whole quiver full of arrows to make it more beneficial to you than a rustic cigarette lighter. There are several ways to make arrows and they can be as complex or simple as you have the time to bother with.
First off you want strong, straight shafts that are flexible. Some people make arrows out of various reeds because they are hollow inside. However, I and my acquaintances have made it a practice to predominantly use cedar shafts for arrows for several reasons. They are strong, straight, and superabundant. You can literally find some type of cedar tree everywhere in the continental United States and abroad. However, you are not limited to cedar for your arrows and ash, oak, or pine shafts will work as well.
Your points can be as simple as a sharpened end, (hardened in a fire), or intricate to the point of perfection with the making of knapped flint arrowheads, aluminum or steel arrowheads fashioned from soda or soup cans, or any other combination of mechanical or metallic devices that are literally limited in scope to your own imagination.
Pine pitch and sinew makes an excellent binder to hold both your point to the shaft, and the fletchings to the other end. Sinew or natural cordage are used to bind the arrow together tightly, and remember; in a rustic situation, the main goal is to simply keep it together for one or two uses before any part of the arrow breaks off. They’re not likely to be used over and over again without repair of some sort. Here are three things that you must consider in the manufacture of your arrows if you are to use them successfully.
- The shaft should balance with the point. If the arrow is too tip heavy, the drop in velocity will be considerable and each and every arrow should be practiced with to get a feel for how it flies before being shot into game or enemies. If you find your tip to be too heavy, consider a denser or shaft or one with a bit more girth for distribution. A very big pile of dried grasses twisted together, (think of a bale of hay), makes for a nice impromptu target in the bush, as does a body of deep water that you can retrieve your arrows from after you’ve shot them.
- Fletching should correspond with the arrow notch to avoid stripping. If you examine the diagram, you will see that an arrow is set up with three veins of fletching to help it achieve maximum stabilization during flight. These veins must be set up and used in such a way so that there is a bare area of the shaft that is going to make contact with the side of the bow as the arrow is launched from it. Otherwise your bow will strip that fletching right off as it is launched and the shaft will go everywhere except for where you want it to.
- Notches should not be a “V”. Traditionally notches are thought to represent a V shape; however, that is not what you are wanting to produce in your survival arrows. The best type of notch is to think of one that looks more like a “U” than a “V”. The notch should cradle your bowstring rather than pinching it so that it doesn’t launch off center.