Broken Wooden Arrows

floppydog

New member
I shoot longbow at 3D targets using 5/16 cedar shafts. My draw weight is 40 lbs and length 30 inches. My problem is that I am breaking too many arrows. Last time i was out two arrows caught the back of the target, bounced off and broke! Any suggestions as to what to change? Or do I just have to accept this rate of loss?
 

4d4m

Active member
Be more accurate. Or get closer. ;)
Or just accept you’ll break arrows and have plenty of spares.

I think I averaged one breakage every time out in the woods shooting AFB. Usually when people put trees in the way.
 

bobnewboy

Member
Don’t change anything. Just keep at it, and you will get better :) . Depending upon where the arrow broke, wooden arrows can be mended / fixed up into ‘backup’ arrows for use on those targets setup sometimes to catch you out. For example, arrows can be ‘footed’ and new piles fitted, so long as the break was near the pile end. But don't be tempted to do any repairs more than about a quarter of the arrow length from the pile end. There is a Bearpaw jig for cutting the shaft off at a suitable angle, and that is used for the new pile end and the main part of the arrow. Then its just a matter or using good glue and practice.
 

dvd8n

Supporter
Supporter
I find that sometimes the trees jump in front of you.

But where are the arrows breaking? Could you toughen them up by footing them?

Alternatively, there are arrow repair systems available that let you splice arrows.
 

Geophys2

Member
It's just part of field archery, 30" POC arrow shafts spined and weight batched are only £16 a dozen, often feathers can be reused (I always use fletching tape) and with Tophat piles you just unscrew it and put on the new shaft. Consider your arrows as a consumable piece of equipment with a limited lifetime. We always say that a successful day's field archery is when you go home with the same number of arrows you started with. As a course setter I'm always a bit disappointed if archers don't break or lose a few arrow, it means I've set too easy a course.

I come from long range target shooting, where every time you squeezed the trigger a pound or more went down range, and you couldn't walk down to the target get it back and reuse it (the target was 1000yds away anyway). So a 2+15 round over 800, 900, and 1000 yds would cost a minimum of £51 in ammo, never mind target hire and marker fees. Archery is as cheap as the proverbial deep fried potato fingers. And don't get me started on the rest of the equipment comparisons.
 

Riceburner

Active member
It's just part of field archery, 30" POC arrow shafts spined and weight batched are only £16 a dozen, often feathers can be reused (I always use fletching tape) and with Tophat piles you just unscrew it and put on the new shaft. Consider your arrows as a consumable piece of equipment with a limited lifetime. We always say that a successful day's field archery is when you go home with the same number of arrows you started with. As a course setter I'm always a bit disappointed if archers don't break or lose a few arrow, it means I've set too easy a course.
This. Decent, challenging field archery will always run the risk of breaking an arrow or two. :D

Apart from 'practise, practise, practise' (which is the only real cure), it might be an idea to try spruce (IIRC) for your next batch of arrows. I (inadvertently) switched because I switched supplier to Carol Archery, and that's what she was selling. I've since found that they're quite a bit more 'robust' than cedar. Yes, when they break, they BREAK. But they'll take a lot of punishment before they explode.

I too use the screw on TopHat piles and they're very good, especially as they seem to cause the arrow to break 'right' at the pile - so if you cut your arrows a touch long, you can put on a new pile and re-use the arrow (have done that quite a bit).



Having said that - nothing quite beats the lovely smell of a bit of freshly snapped cedar. :D
 

Kernowlad

Supporter
Supporter
The wood flingers in our club do seem to break a lot of arrows.
I just lose vanes and nocks but hitting a deer leg at 50 yards and finding the steel rod inside it did cause a previously bomb proof XX75 to bend in an amusing way.
I seem to have to dig quite a few out too. A bit scratchy on the shafts.
 

malbro

Instinctive Archer
Supporter
Last time I came back with two more than I started, first time ever. I usually lose at least a couple but recently they have started coming back, I regard it as the cost of shooting in woods and long grass.
 

Del the Cat

Well-known member
I shoot longbow at 3D targets using 5/16 cedar shafts. My draw weight is 40 lbs and length 30 inches. My problem is that I am breaking too many arrows. Last time i was out two arrows caught the back of the target, bounced off and broke! Any suggestions as to what to change? Or do I just have to accept this rate of loss?
You can splice an bit onto the end, as the usually break just behind the pile.
Del
 

oldnut

Supporter
Supporter
Don’t change anything. Just keep at it, and you will get better :) . Depending upon where the arrow broke, wooden arrows can be mended / fixed up into ‘backup’ arrows for use on those targets setup sometimes to catch you out. For example, arrows can be ‘footed’ and new piles fitted, so long as the break was near the pile end. But don't be tempted to do any repairs more than about a quarter of the arrow length from the pile end. There is a Bearpaw jig for cutting the shaft off at a suitable angle, and that is used for the new pile end and the main part of the arrow. Then its just a matter or using good glue and practice.
I know this will not go down well but... I do repair most of my broken wooden arrows and not had one fail in the same place. there is a rule that I stick to though, they have to have broken with more than a 45 degree angle brake. I use cascamite and bind them with wax cord until dry, a quick sand and they are fine. I do have a moment of hesitation when I first shoot a repaired arrow incase it breaks and goes through my wrist, but I am not suggesting anyone else repairs there own, just saying it can be done.
 

Geophys2

Member
I'm sorry, but I believe it's foolhardy using a glued together wooden arrow shaft, properly footed is one thing, a glued break is another. Having had to take someone to hospital to have a piece of arrow removed from their hand, I would never allow a broken and glued together arrow onto any shoot I was involved in.

The two points where the arrow is under most stress are when it hits the target and more critically when being accelerated on release, these are the two points where the repair is likely to fail. If a sharp piece of wood moving at 150 or so feet per second comes into contact with soft flesh, there is only going to be one winner. Arrow shafts are cheap, the risks are too great to take a chance.
 

Del the Cat

Well-known member
I'm sorry, but I believe it's foolhardy using a glued together wooden arrow shaft, properly footed is one thing, a glued break is another. Having had to take someone to hospital to have a piece of arrow removed from their hand, I would never allow a broken and glued together arrow onto any shoot I was involved in.

The two points where the arrow is under most stress are when it hits the target and more critically when being accelerated on release, these are the two points where the repair is likely to fail. If a sharp piece of wood moving at 150 or so feet per second comes into contact with soft flesh, there is only going to be one winner. Arrow shafts are cheap, the risks are too great to take a chance.
1.You obviously didn't watch or understand the whole video.
2.The arrow through the hand... was it from a spliced arrow?
3. "proper footed arrow" That is still glued with discontinuities in the structure. I show several types of splice/footing in the video (which is why I can assume you didn't watch it right through)
4. Yes I've seen arrows break, but it's always been where they were previously damaged by impact with a tree etc. I've never had one break at a splice.
5. I say it's best for repairs just behind the point. There is no bending force there, and it would be off your hand in the first few inches of travel.(Where it isn't doing 150 fps).
6. Everyone is their own safety officer...

Arrows usually break just behind the pile because the pile gets deflected by a stone, branch etc, the shaft is still flying straight and due to its stiffness and inertia, the pile snaps off. Similarly, impacts further up the shaft can cause damage or fracture the arrow which is often visible if the arrow is inspected before use (many people forget to do this). When the arrow is loosed, the bending force then causes the arrow to break or open up the fracture.
The failures are not due to splices or well made glue joints which are stronger than the parent material*.
Your knee jerk criticism would be better aimed at people who don't inspect arrows before shooting them.
I s'pose I could concede it maybe "foolhardy" for someone with poor DIY/woodworking skills and no understanding of glues to do it, but I am certainly no fool.
Del
*I've made highly stressed flight bows with splices patches and all sorts of glued repairs and features on them in areas subjected to both bending and other loads.
 
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floppydog

New member
HI Guys
Thanks for all the advice and assurances that things will become better with practice. i have recycled arrows using the split and taper method and have gradually improved my technique. I had problems producing a straight shaft but as far as strength goes they all have broken somewhere else the next time! Most of the breaks are mid to tail end of the shaft - why I am not certain.

I was interested to see comparison of spruce and cedar shafts - anyone have experience of which is most durable? Also, what hardwood should I splice in at front end and what proportion of the arrow could be hardwood?

Up until now i have been gluing the screw-on tips onto the shafts - is this a waste of time?
 
I shoot longbow at 3D targets using 5/16 cedar shafts. My draw weight is 40 lbs and length 30 inches. My problem is that I am breaking too many arrows. Last time i was out two arrows caught the back of the target, bounced off and broke! Any suggestions as to what to change? Or do I just have to accept this rate of loss?
The best traditional archer I ever met (Dan Quillian) recommended trad archers shoot aluminum arrows until they possessed the skill to shoot wood arrows without the carnage learning leaves behind. Far from being a purist, Dan also pointed out that wood arrows can be shot quiet successfully from compound bows, in that the shock from the loose is actually less that from a longbow or recurve.
 

dvd8n

Supporter
Supporter
The best traditional archer I ever met (Dan Quillian) recommended trad archers shoot aluminum arrows until they possessed the skill to shoot wood arrows without the carnage learning leaves behind.
That sounds very sensible.
 

4d4m

Active member
I was interested to see comparison of spruce and cedar shafts - anyone have experience of which is most durable? Also, what hardwood should I splice in at front end and what proportion of the arrow could be hardwood?
My (very limited) experience is that spruce has been more durable. My first set of 11/32 arrows for my AFB were/are spruce. My 2nd set were/are cedar. I've broken more of the cedar shafts shooting from the same bows. After 5 years I've still got 6 out of the dozen spruce left and only about 5 of the cedar out of the 15 shafts I bought. and I shoot them from my ELB and the oak flatbow I've been making in lockdown.
Very much NOT a scientific sample!
 
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