Thursday, December 20, 2012

Part 1-Straighten up and fly right

I'm always learning new things about the organization of one's time when scheduling the procurement, production and use of traditional tools.  One thing that came to mind during this project was the significant amount of time it takes to complete a single arrow.  You could imagine the annoyance that accompanies a  splintered arrow with a tip that just hit a rock and evaporated.

Most folks that flintknap go no further than creating an arrow point, just put the pretty little sharp thing in a drawer or give it to friends.  Turns out this is like giving a friend a single spoke to a wheel.

The process got faster when I created a little assembly line, one of those efficiency of scale type moves.  In other words, it's much more worth your time to build several arrows while you have the materials at hand.  By setting up a chain of operations you can fletch and haft up to ten arrows in a day with traditional techniques.  I'm sure there are folks out there that could turn out multiples of ten given the practice.

 Things you see here: Deer sinew for wrapping feathers and attaching points-this stuff is a great material to carry on hunting trips...prehistoric duct tape.  Twelve wooden shafts from the local archery store (thanks for the hookup guys!).  A bag of plastic nocks, yes plastic, I know I know.  A bag of stone hunting tips, pre cut fletching feathers. stone flakes for use in the process
 Here are the candidates, turns out each arrow takes on its own personality and calls for thought in creating a balanced arrow.  The weight of the fletching and arrow weight should be taken into consideration.  I made a suite of several different arrow weights to check out my favorite.  The stone materials you see here are argillite (green), Lonestar Beer bottle glass (glassy brown), Brown's Bench obsidian (larger black point), Malad obsidian (smaller San Pedro), Arkansas novaculite (white Pueblo Side Notch), Edwards chert (Concave base un-notched) and cherd from Florida (little brown point). 
 Deer back strap sinew, you just pull off strands, chew and apply as a wrap, you don't eben need to tie a knot!
 Nocks in place, beverage in hand and ready for the hard part...fletching...uggh.  This part is something that will take a lot more practice on my part.  you can have the best little hunting point out there, but if doesn't fly where you want it to you have wasted a lot of time and energy, two things you are at odds with when seeking food, water and shelter.  Here's a nifty tool: it's a composite tool, meaning it has multiple uses built into one tool.  I have created a steep concave indention for scoring the arrow shaft and left a sharp side for cutting and trimming sinew and notching the haft.  We find tools just like this one all the time.  The sharp side can be used to split feathers and trim the fletch seating.

Here is one fletch setting onto the arrow shaft.  There are more efficient ways to do this once the skills are honed, it was pretty tough to get right.  Here's the middle and final stages of fletching the arrow.  It's important to think about feather spacing as a misplaced feather will get ripped off by the bow as it releases.  So step number 1 is complete, fletching is on, now to repeat the process and get better at it.

Coming up next!!! I try a little different fletch tek and attach the points...stay tuned.

One feather down...infinity to go

half way through the process with binding on while it sets

finished fletching, trimmed and tied down with sinew

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