This weekend, January 17th and 18th, will be heavy with archery. In fact, I’ll be surprised if I can tote this load successfully.
On January 17th, I’ll be participating in Darkwood‘s Winter Archery Tourney and Hawk’s Feast. This means using a longbow and cedar arrows. The very next day is the Cabin Fever Shoot, where I’ll be using a traditional recurve with aluminum arrows.
I have often threatened to start a Yahoogroup called I Hate Wooden Arrows, though truly only in jest. They are a pain in the pancreas and frustrating to use. They warp and break easily, they absorb and lose water even if you seal them carefully, and you have to make your own.
You are welcome to purchase wooden arrows from the archery store, and you’ll be lucky to get a set that come anywhere close to being matched for spine and mass. Then you’ll have to resort to memorizing which ones shoot high, low, right, left and any combination of those. If you want to minimize this inconvenience, you roll your own.
Which means finding a good source of port oxford cedar, investing in some specialized tools and the tools to make some of these tools, and spending a lot of time getting it right. At first, you’ll waste a lot of time and energy making very expensive kindling. If you’re lucky, you’ll find an artisan who has been doing this for a couple of lifetimes to help you out.
Eventually, you’ll start cranking out some pieces of art that look suspiciously like cedar arrows. Then you start thinking, Do I really want to shoot these arrows? Can’t I just put them on display somewhere?
When your arrows break or get tweaked, it hurts all the more because they are something that came from your soul, not just your wallet.
I have been laboring to make a set of arrows for use at Darkwood, and have managed to get them to within ten grains and five pounds spine. Knowing that if I don’t hit the target, they’ll likely shatter on a rock will do wonders for my aiming ability.