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A Couple Homemade Dowel Arrows

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Dave Markowitz, Apr 4, 2012.

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  1. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Plymouth Meeting, PA
    I made up a couple arrows using 3/8" poplar dowels that I got at Lowe's. I selected them for straightness and grain, but didn't doing anything to straighten them beyond how they came home from the store. Fletching is 3M duct tape (it's OK for this use but otherwise it's garbage).

    Arrow #1 is my scrounged materials Zombie Killer model. ;) The point was cut from 16 gauge steel, glued and tied into a slit in the tip. It's not sharpened but if it hit an animal (alive or undead) I have no doubt it would cause a nasty wound.

    Arrow #2 is a blunt for small game or stump shooting. I made this one about an inch longer and it seems to shoot better from my 50# longbow. The point is a .357 Magnum empty, glued on with Ferrl-Tite hot melt glue.

    I reinforced the nock and tip on Arrow #1 using dental floss (continuing the scrounged material theme) and cement. I used artificial sinew for the same purpose on Arrow #2.

    I was pleasantly surprised with the sheet metal point of the Zombie Killer. I shot it several times into the ground and it only bent a little. Empty .38s and .357s have been used for blunt heads for decades, so no surprise that it works just fine. I have some more dowels and will be making up more of these.

    The tools I used to make these were my Victorinox SwissTool (scissors, knife, file, and saw), a pair of Wiss metal snips, and some sandpaper.

    Some pics:







    Some caveats if you try this:

    1. I would not shoot these from a compound bow.
    2. Carefully select the dowels for straightness, lack of grain runout, and general integrity.
    3. Inspect the arrows before and after each shot. If you see any defects developing, do not shoot it! You don't want the arrow to split and get part of it stuck in your bow arm.

    Also note that I did some online research about using dowels for arrow shafts before I made these. One source I found indicated that the average 3/8" poplar dowel spines anywhere from 65 to 80 pounds. So I felt confident that as long as I used good condition poplar dowels with little to no grain runout, I'd be safe shooting these in my 50# bow.
  2. wheelgunslinger

    wheelgunslinger Member

    Jan 2, 2005
    0 hours west of NC
    Dowels can be dangerous to use.
    A 60-80 lb bow can break the arrow upon loosing and drive the broken back end into your off hand forearm.

    This is a fun mental exercise though. You can take your wooden dowels and measure them for spine, calculate the front of center, and weigh them for weight variance (which will probably surprise you at the variance).
  3. mole

    mole Member

    Jul 21, 2005
    A m1 carbine shell fits perfectly on a 5/16 shaft, but these are usually quite low in spine and work for kids arrows. You can make your own "field points" by sharping the end of the dowel and then coating it with JB Weld, but the weights will probably have a good deal of variance. I make my own broadheads out of old circular saw and table saw blades.

    I like to use nylon upholstery thread from Wally World to tie on my feathers and reinforce my nocks. It's much cheaper than using silk. Just rub a little glue on it to make it more durable.

    I also like to cut my nocks on the bow and arrow with one of those rod saw blades for tile followed by clean up with a chain saw file and sandpaper. It looks like the edges on your nock could use a little more rounding.

    Have fun flinging

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