The anatomy of an arrow

No one knows when the bow and arrow were invented, and this is a major topic of discussion between archaeologists. How an arrow is made and works is also a seldom understood topic, to which I have answers.

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for their interest. My flint knapping and arrow building hobby seems to be pretty popular. After a bunch of different messages asking if I make arrows. It became apparent, that I needed to follow up last week’s column with my journey as an arrow maker.

I will start by saying, yes I do sell finished arrows. The catch is I can't do it for under 50 bucks. While teaching myself to make them, I realized how few I would be able to sell. The process is long and complicated, which makes such a small item too expensive for most. There are many processes and additional things to be made before I am able to complete one, so I hope that I can fit it all into a single column. You gain a true respect for ancient people, when you choose to walk in their footsteps. It's surprising, that such a small item can be so complicated to produce.

If taking the ancient route, which we will in this column, you have to start out by making a stone-cutting tool of some type. You will also have to obtained deer sinew and a turkey wing through trade or snare. This could be a hand-held blade, or one that is attached to a handle. You then need to locate arrow shaft material. I have tried many, but ash saplings seem to work the best for me. When an ash tree is cut down, small sprouts will begin to grow from the stump. These sprouts are perfect for producing arrow shafts. They tend to grow fairly straight, and have few limbs. If you choose, the limbs can be removed as the plant is growing. This will reduce work in the future. All you have to do is leave the top, which will sustain the plant’s life.

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