By: Chris Woodburn
A good friend of mine and I were shooting the other day and he asked “what does it take to make a great hunting arrow?” Well I thought about that question and figured it might make a good post, for all you archery hunters out there. So, I’ll explain what I do for my arrows and hope you might find the information helpful.
In my direct answer to buddy I said it basically boils down to a few points and some solid items to make your bow an accurate lethal machine: draw length, draw weight, great arrows and more.
First take a look at the list of components and tools I use to make my arrows.
BTW my new hunting arrows have an FOC of 14%. I’ll explain how and why an FOC between 13 and 15% is best….keep watch.
What does it take to make MY arrows:
- Pine Ridge Insert Glue: BUY HERE
- Goat Tuff Archer glue (vein glue): BUY HERE
- Easton arrow prep kit: BUY HERE
- G-5 Arrow Square tool: BUY HERE
- Arrow Saw: BUY HERE
- Easton 5MM FMJ blank arrows
- Easton HIT brass inserts: BUY HERE
- 2″ vanes for the arrows for FMJ: BUY HERE
- E-Z Fletch mini tool: BUY HERE
- 125 g 3-D 9/32″ DIA field tips:
After shooting FMJ’s for a long, long time…I heard on a popular podcast that someone liked to use Black Eagle carbon arrows because they got frustrated with FMJ’s bending too much… I know from my own experience with FMJ’s…they do bend…still a great arrow, but I wanted to try something new… I ended up building a couple dozen Black Eagle Spartan arrows and they have been doing awesome!!! I will use them during some hunts in Texas, Colorado and New Mexico. So, check out our Instagram and YouTube channel for updates on the hunts. Now my new set of Black Eagle arrows are sitting at a total weight of 540 g with a field point. They’re also sitting at 15% F.O.C.
Here are the supplies I used to build out my Black Eagle Spartan arrows:
- Black Eagle Spartan arrows 300 spine .001+/-: BUY HERE
- Black Eagle Spartan insert weights 75 g: BUY HERE
- Arrow Wraps (only used on the Spartans): BUY HERE
- 2.5″ Low profile vanes for BE Spartans: BUY HERE
Steps to make your arrows
First thing you need to do is figure out what arrows you need. I recently changed up my arrows after using the Easton FMJ – 340 for years. I decided to really get accurate and improve my FOC from 6%. Yes…6%! I use an app on Archers Advantage to decide on the arrow, shaft spine, FOC, and all that important stuff to make sure I make the best arrows I can.
1. Get all your supplies – Discussed above.
2. Determine where to cut your arrows and then cut them down to the right size. To decide the arrow length you can use an existing arrow that’s the right size and just mark your new arrow with a sharpie… The other way to size your arrows is to nock the arrow, draw it back and have a friend mark the arrow that goes just past your riser where you’re gripping the handle of your bow. If you do it this way I like to make sure my arrow point is just even with my grip hand, so that when I have a broad-head on the arrow I don’t risk cutting my fingers when I draw the arrow back.
3. Cut the arrows. My cutter has a slot where the arrow nock sits in, which you then just turn your arrow a little and the blade at the other end of the cutter does the cutting. The slot where the nock sits locks onto the cutter tool, so that every arrow is measured to the previous arrow. Figure 1 shows the cutting end of my cutter, and i slowly rotate the arrow with the wheel of the cutter spinning. When the arrow is cut, i turn the cutter off, so that I don’t accidentally nick the end of the arrow…I’m picky..
4. After you cut the arrows you need to prep them for inserts. You can use the arrow prep kit to do this. The basic idea is that you want to abrasion the inside of the arrow, where you insert will go. This allows glue to have something other than a slick surface to adhere too. I have used multiple tools to do this, including the one in the picture… a medium grit sandpaper wrapped around a thin tool.
5. Square the arrows with the G5 tool seen in Figure 3. Once you mar the inside of the arrow a bi and square it you need to clean the dust out. I use a q-tip and alcohol from under my bathroom sink.
6. Put the inserts into the arrow using the tool they provided when you bought your arrows. Remember that I used the 75 g HIT brass inserts, but I broke off the 25 g part of the insert so that it’s only 50 g. Also, one important part to remember is to remove you nock, so there’s no back pressure that could push your insert back out of the shaft…
I use the same amount of glue on every insert. 3 drops of glue, 2 on the end that goes in the arrow first and then 1 in the middle of the insert. If you use the glue I do it dries quickly, so you need to be quick. I can tell you how to get the insert out if it dries up before it’s all the way in…just ask… See Figure 4.
Set the arrow on the workbench, put the little tool in the screw end of the insert, put the 3 drops of glue in, grab the arrow and quickly push the insert in turning the arrow.
Let them set up for at least 5 minutes before you put your nocks back in. With some glues or epoxies you need to wait a lot longer.
7. Prep the arrow for installing vanes. I use a medium/high grit sandpaper. Just make sure you do a few rubs on the arrow where the vanes will go. Then clean off the dust with a paper towel and some alcohol.
8. Put your vanes in the fletcher making sure each vein is in the exact same spot. Put a small line of glue on each vein. Figure 5. If you noticed from the article picture I used to use a multiple arrow fletching tool, but then I had a heck of a time of making my arrows perfectly match when I was in the field and used a E-Z fletch tool. So, I decided to just switch to the E-Z fletch tool 100% of the time.
9. Put the arrow with the nock in the fletch tool, close it and hang it up for 30 minutes. That’s usually enough time for the Goat Tuff glue. See Figure 6.
I’ll continue to put HOW TO info, but this is a start for you to follow. Once done you should have a great arrow!
Hope this helps!