Pennsylvania Game News - January 2011 - 57
through your target, inspect the leading edge of the vanes to ensure they remain firmly attached to the arrow shaft. I make all of my own arrows, and I always put a small spot of glue at the leading edge of each vane as added insurance one won’t lift on a critical shot and send my arrow off target. If your vanes are worn, have them replaced at a pro shop or replace them yourself, as I’ll discuss later. In either case, do not attempt to replace only one vane on an arrow. To ensure the proper spacing, (120 degrees on a 3-fletched arrow), I replace all three vanes every time an arrow needs to be refletched. Regularly inspect your arrow shafts. Aluminum arrows can become bent if they strike a hard object or even when being drawn from a target. To quickly check an aluminum arrow, roll it across any flat surface with the point removed and the fletching overhanging the edge of the surface. A bent arrow will “hop” and produce an irregular sound as it rolls across the surface. A more accurate check can be made using an arrow straightness checker, available at many archery pro shops or purchased for home use. However, when it comes to aluminum arrows, the effort in attempting to straighten one is not worth it. If an aluminum arrow is bent, discard it and get a new arrow; one that becomes bent will never shoot properly again. Carbon arrows are much tougher than aluminum shafts; they do not bend and, so, stay straight as new, even after repeated use. However, all arrows — wood, alumi-
num and carbon — can crack or develop stress cracks from a hard hit to the side of the shaft, either by being struck by another arrow or by striking an object such as a sharp rock or the side of a tree. Take time to inspect every arrow that you recover and inspect all of your arrows periodically. Check the length of the arrow, rotating it to look for stress cracks while using your fingers to check the smoothness of the arrow’s surface at the same time. If you find any cracks (no matter how small) discard the arrow promptly. Don’t put it in the corner and don’t give it to your kid to play with. An arrow with a stress crack is a failure waiting to happen. A failed arrow can splinter on the shot and pierce the hand or forearm of the shooter. I have seen this happen, and also seen numerous emergency room photographs. Play it safe. If you find an arrow with a crack in its surface, toss it. While few archers think about point fit, it is important as well. Field tips come in a variety of weights. The outside diameter of the point should match the diameter of the arrow or the arrow’s insert. A field point that is larger than the arrow diameter will be difficult to withdraw from a target and can damage expensive foam targets because the back edge of the field tip will catch on the target as it is being withdrawn. On the other hand, it is better to have the outside diameter of a broadhead ferrule be slightly larger than the diameter of the arrow shaft when possible. When the broadhead ferrule enters the body of an animal, if it is larger in diameter than the arrow shaft, it reduces the surface drag on the arrow shaft and results in increased penetration. This combination is easier today, with the availability of small diameter arrow shafts designed specifically for reMINIMAL TOOLS are required for arrow making. A simple jig, shown in center, plus an assortment of vanes, glue, arrow wraps and cleaning solvents are all that are required.