Introduction

This is very much a cottage industry, with an output capacity for 3 or 4 sets a week depending on arrow complexity. The driving ethos is the match for the bow and archer in making the right set of quality arrows.

To place an order, please use the contact details at the end of the page. When ordering arrows please discuss your needs with Joff directly and have the information to hand that appears in the Specification Sheet.

Draw weight of the bow, draw length of the archer and whether right or left handed. The experience of the archer is also helpful to know.

The type of shooting the arrows will be used for, for example:
 
⇒ Target archery up to 60 or 100 yards
⇒ Field archery
⇒ Clout or roving clout

Please refer to Glossary of Terms section for a description of terms used in this website.

Guide to Basic Sets

For shafts between 9/32" and 23/64" in diameter

Basic Set

Parallel shafts, spined, weight matched and balanced to around +/- 1/8" with standard plastic nocks. Piles 3D field or brass bullet shouldered. Lacquer finish; 3" or 4" fletch depending on arrow weight and length. Where the weight distribution exceeds +/-5% across the set they may be split into 2 of 6, with the fletch colours reversed to distinguish each weight group.

Bob-tail or barrel

As above but tapered at one or both ends. Barrelling is sometimes used to fit a smaller pile onto a shaft when a particular pile type is required.

Self-nock

Invariably bob-tailed or barrelled, otherwise as above with a cut and reinforced nock. (Reinforcement through a plastic insert and binding immediately below the nocking point.)

Crown stain

Crown staining colours the wood whilst leaving the grain visible. It requires to be crested where the stain runs on into the remainder of the shaft left the natural colour.

Subject to discussion

⇒ Non-standard fletchings
⇒ Alternate piles
⇒ Footing (23/64" maximum)

Arrows designed for short and medium range work will have the leading edge of the fletches bound, to provide protection when the shot goes snaking through the grass.

Please refer to Glossary of Terms section for a description of terms used in this website.

Arrow Characteristics

The following is not a definitive guide but illustrates what I’m looking for to make a properly balanced set of arrows to match bow, archer and intended use.

As far as each of the properties described are concerned it is very difficult to obtain absolute measurements as there are too many variables in play to eliminate those not being examined experimentally, not least of which is the consistency of the archer.

What is practical however is to gain a good idea of relative effects; to give an extreme example, popinjay fletching on otherwise the same shaft compared with ordinary 4" parabolics do not travel as far, although we can be a little more refined than this.

Weight (or Mass)

A wooden arrow needs to be heavy enough to take the energy out of a wooden bow, otherwise a shock wave is set up in the bow limbs often felt as vibration.

10 grains per pound draw weight seems to be a good starting point, with heavier arrows at up to about 12gn/lb for short range work and lighter for distance, no less than 9gn/lb ideally.

The exception to the rule is flight arrows which might be as low as 6gn/lb but these will reduce the life of the bow, so should not be shot often and always from a well-warmed up bow.

Spine

A measure of the intrinsic stiffness of a piece of dowel.

The spine index should be near equal to or stiffer than the draw weight at the point of loose. The “wiggle" in the arrow, as it corrects for the paradox, ensures it will fly true.

A stiffer spine at short range can be desirable as it will reduce the amplitude of the oscillations (posh for wiggle) leading to a straighter flight over a short distance.

Whilst there appears to be no direct correlation between stiffness and weight, stiffer arrows do tend to be heavier, so if the weights are matched the spines will generally be fairly close.

Point of Balance

Whilst not strictly at the fulcrum of the finished arrow, this is measured from the base of the pile once the pile is fixed, the shaft and any nock-seat shaped.

This allows the set to be brought to balance without stripping fletching and binding off.

For most arrows 2/5ths of the distance behind the pile works well. For short range work it may be pushed forward (usually with a heavier pile); for distance backwards. Flight arrows work well with the balance point 9/20ths or so of the distance back.

Variations of around 1/8" either way appear to have little effect on arrow performance across the set.

Surface Area (or Drag)

The surface area of a Gateway 3" shield is about 45% greater than a 3" parabolic fletch, additionally the shield has a poorer aerodynamic shape.

Similarly, a 4" parabolic has about 55% more surface area. It will therefore have greater drag which is useful for straightening the arrow up faster at short ranges.

Keeping the shaft profile the same, size and shape of fletch will therefore have considerable influence on arrow trajectory and, ultimately, range.

Similarly, spinning the fletch increases accuracy at the cost of range.

The surface area of a 9/32" 30" shaft is about 56% of that of a 1/2" shaft of the same length, although the range of shaft diameters suitable for a given bow tends to be dictated by draw weight at the point of loose.

Profile

Bobtailing provides a better aerodynamic shape, and therefore better range.

The taper is generally very slight and has little effect on the spine of the shaft. It is probably of little value at short ranges.

If the shaft needs to be barrelled, usually in order to fit a lighter pile (typically for flight arrows), the natural shape of most things that swim or fly is with the wider part of the body forward (confusingly called breasting).

If you'd like your own copy, please download the Arrow Characteristics PDF here.

Sample Arrows

Guide Prices

Postage is additional, depending on where the arrows will need to be sent.
Currently £10 per set within the UK, £30 per set for the EU and £60 per set for the Rest of World.

Pro-rata costs will apply for more or less that a set of 12 arrows.

⇒ Basic Set: £120 for a set of 12 arrows
⇒ Bob-tail or Barrel: £140 for a set of 12 arrows
⇒ Self-nock: £170 for a set of 12 arrows
⇒ Crown stain and simple crest: £25 per set
⇒ Alternate piles: £12 to £15 for the shaft plus the cost of the pile.
⇒ Footing (23/64" maximimum): £20 per arrow
⇒ Flights: £15.00 per arrow
⇒ Heavies/Specials: By negotiation.
⇒Repairs: By arrangement.

Arrow Orders

Specification Form

* Needed, but best to talk through what you want to get the best match of archer, bow and arrow.

If you'd prefer to complete the form offline, please download the Specification Form here.

Please check your outbox to confirm the form has been sent successfully.

Glossary

There is no doubt nuance in the interpretation of terms. These definitions are provided as a simple guide for a new archer and to allow me to get a best match to bow and archer.

Arrow Length

The overall length of a finished arrow from the tip of the pile to the tip of the nock. (See draw length below.)

Barrel

Tapering the arrow at both ends.

Bobtail

An arrow tapered at the nock end.

Clout Shooting

Shooting over distance - standard clout shoots are over 180 yards, roving clouts have targets usually between 60 and about 200 yards where the archer has to judge the range.

Draw Length

As illustrated in the image, the length of the arrow sitting forward of the string with the base of the pile level with the back of the bow at the point of release. Measured from the base of the nock to the base of the pile for longbow.

Draw Weight

This is the draw weight of the bow at the point the arrow is released. In some instances it may be different from that specified for the bow itself as it may have been built to a specific draw length of 28".

Each inch above or below leads to a variation of around 4lb (as a working figure).

Field Shooting

Short range shooting at a variety of targets, usually 3D animals.

Fistmele

Old Saxon term meaning thumb measure, the distance between the base of a fist and the outstretched thumb (the "rule of thumb").

For the bow it provides an approximation of the bracing height; for an arrow it is the portion which includes the fletches down to the tip of the nock.

Point of Balance

The point at which an arrow tips (also centre of gravity). Most commonly this should be about 2/5ths of the length of the arrow measured from the pile. Any variation referred to is across the set, which is treated as a singularity (as is the weight match).

Spine

An index measuring the stiffness of an arrow shaft. Generally this will give an indication of the lateral oscillations of the arrow as it wends its way to somewhere near the target. Too low and it will sashay there like Marilyn Monroe.

Standard Sets

Parallel shafts, spined, weight matched and balanced to around +/- 1/8" with standard plastic nocks. Piles 3D field or brass bullet shouldered. Lacquer finish; 3" or 4" fletch depending on arrow weight and length. Where the weight distribution exceeds +/-5% across the set they may be split into 2 of 6, with the fletch colours reversed to distinguish each weight group.

Crown Stain

Crown staining colours the wood whilst leaving the grain visible. It requires to be crested where the stain runs on into the remainder of the shaft left the natural colour.

Self Nocks

The nock is cut into the shaft, rather than fitted over. As this introduces a fundamental weakness an insert is set in at right angles to the nock to spread the load. Additionally the shaft is usually bound with nylon thread immediately below the nock cut and, for heavier bows (70lb+) a leather insert glued into the nock.

Footed

Originally used to repair broken arrows, a hard wood insert is spliced in immediately behind the pile. The finished effect is similar to a billiard cue.

Flights

A lightweight arrow built specifically to maximise distance.

Gallery

"For the joy of the sport"

Workplace

Four columns Two columns One column

Phil Kearey 2020
Oil by Gary Williamson

Roy Bickerstaffe 2002
Photo: Terry Barlow

Photo: Field and Roving Archery Society

Photo: Field and Roving Archery Society

Mercian Bowmen
Photo: Gary Williamson

Mercian Bowmen
Photo: Gary Williamson

Mercian Bowmen
Photo: Gary Williamson

Joff 2019
Shire Bowmen Longbow Roving Marks
Photo: Ashley Bourne

Photo: Matthew Gibbons

Michelle Barlow 2012