Shaft Straitening (Arrows and Spears)

Discussion in 'Primitive Tools' started by ArizonaBushman, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. ArizonaBushman

    ArizonaBushman Tracker

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    This demonstration I will show how to straighten wooden shafts for arrows and spears. I will also show the tools needed to this the old way. I have on several occasions used stone and bone tools to accomplish these tasks. It is a painstaking process and the actual straightening must be repeated several times till the wood is what I call willing to hold its shape.


    Green wood can be straightened with your bare hands and will hold its shape for some time. This will work well in a survival situation. In a primitive living situation you will have the time to make a beautiful fire straightened arrow. Fire straightening is by far the best way to straighten wooden shafts and it is surprisingly easy. When heat is applied to the shaft it will bend easily into place using a shaft wrench or straightener. I personally use one on green shafts as well.


    I unfortunately will not be showing how to fire straighten the shafts but the principal is the same. The only difference is you would hold the shaft in position till it is cooled down. This also takes some practice but is really fun to learn. I start out by scraping the bark and rough spots with a stone tool made for this job. This scraper is actually a real artifact that was used for the same process.


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    I will also use a sanding stone as a tool to smooth the surface of the shaft. This is sometimes a tricky task with green wood making it to where you must clean it out often. The pores in the sanding stone will become clogged, this is easy to fix by rubbing against another stone.



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    Now you should be ready to start straightening. To straighten the shaft as said before you can use your hands if green wood is used. Dry seasoned wood requires fire straightening and the use of a wrench to force the wood into the desired position. keep in mind it may be necessary to straighten 10 times or more until the wood gets the message. You will also notice that when using green wood you will need to re straighten as it dries. It does get to be quite a chore at times.


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    In the photo I am using a cow vertebra with part of a rib attached as a handle. The hole in the center of the vertebra is large enough to accommodate a large variety of shaft sizes and works well for this task.



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    Once straightened I repeat the scraping and sanding to remove any remaining bark and smooth the shaft. The picture shows the straightened shaft that is now ready for cutting to the proper length, hafting of points, flighting, and installation of the nock. Keep in mind, straightening is tedious. You may have to straighten your shaft several times. If using dry wood heat over a fire and use the same method to straighten.



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  2. BOWGUY

    BOWGUY Banned Member Banned

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    very interesting!
    when i fire straighten/harden already dry shafts..i wipe on a liberal coat of "fat" to keep from scorching and breaking down the protective outermost layers.
    love the bone tools.
    bg
     
  3. ArizonaBushman

    ArizonaBushman Tracker

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    Great point on the fat. Thanks!!
     
  4. Mtnfolk Mike

    Mtnfolk Mike Supporter Supporter

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    great stuff man... we use a weight with a groove cut out of it...
     
  5. Aven

    Aven Banned Member Banned

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    Love the bone wrench.
     
  6. Medicine maker

    Medicine maker Guide

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    Bump for great info. Always good to remember the basics.
     

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