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Wooden arrows... a build along.

If you like to tinker with big or small projects and make new gadgets, this forum is for you. From arrow building to making a new kind of rest to replacing the cables and strings off your compound, here's a place where you can find like-minded people to discuss your ideas.

Re: Wooden arrows... a build along.

Postby Stykshooter » Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:58 pm

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Re: Wooden arrows... a build along.

Postby Stykshooter » Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:07 am

Now it is time to add a little stain to the shaft to bring out the color. I will stain up to the cap, and I don't worry about being too careful with the transition line. I know that my cresting is going to cover up the rough edges. I like to use a good oil based stain. Min wax or something of the like has always done a good job. The wood grain will really soak up the stain. I will wipe it on, let it set for a minute or so and then wipe it off.

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Re: Wooden arrows... a build along.

Postby Stykshooter » Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:10 am

Once I get them stained and dyed, I just prop them up and let them sit for about 24 hours or so.

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Re: Wooden arrows... a build along.

Postby Stykshooter » Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:13 am

The stain and dye will raise the grain up on the shafts so once they have dried for 24 hours or so, I will steel wool them again.

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They are usually pretty smooth by this time and showing some nice contrast with the wood grain.

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Re: Wooden arrows... a build along.

Postby Stykshooter » Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:21 am

Now it is time to start sealing the shafts. Guys use a lot of different products for this. I have used Bohning Clear & Blue Clear both before and had excellent results. I know some guys like to use gasket shellac, Min wax Poly and several other things. I know that a lot of the pros have their own secret mixture and a lot of them use Dally's Pro-Fin, which is a deck finish for boats. The last several years I have used Bohning Super Coat. You are supposedly able to get away with using only one coat. I like it because it gives me a tough, gloss finish and I get very little target burn on my arrows when I use it.
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I dip the full length the shafts. I have utilized several different contraptions over the years for this. Everything from a piece of pipe with a cork driven in the end to commercial dip tanks. In my opinion, you are heads and shoulders ahead of the game to just go on and spend the $13.00 on one of the Big Dipper dip tubes. It is sealable with a screw on lid and the reservoir holds a lot of liquid. I leave the shafts full length to dip them as that leaves a short "handle" on the end for me to hold on to. It doesn't get the coverage that the rest of the shaft does but it is going to be cut off when I trim the shaft to length and taper it.

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Re: Wooden arrows... a build along.

Postby Stykshooter » Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:31 am

A suggestion here... have some way to support your dip tube. I use a tall box that I cut a hole in the center of it. I have had one turn over on me, making a monumental mess, and I know of two of my friends who have had the same thing happen. Just to make it easier, some guys use a wipe on finish or brush on the finish.

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I full length dip the shafts and then hang them up to dry for about 12-24 hours, whenever I can get back to them.

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I hang them in a home made rack that I built using the metal arrow clips. Works well.

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You notice that I am doing the dipping in a corner of the "dungeon" of our house. A storage/junk room in the basement. Most of the year I like to do this out in the garage due to the very offensive odor. During the summer months the humidity is so bad down here that If I try and dip out in the heat and humidity, it ruins the finish. It will either crinkle or turn milky. The temperature was 94 and humidity was in the 90's when I dipped these shafts. When the conditions are like that I go into the "dungeon" where I have a dehumidifier running. I like the finish to be thin enough so that it runs off and stops dripping in about 5 seconds or so. I then hang the shafts up and let them dry. Then I steel wool them again, wipe them down with a rag that is damp with lacquer thinner and dip them again. I like to do this until I have three good coats on the shafts. Some guys like to do more, some less. Three gives me a good, protective finish. I like them to be completely smooth, high gloss and look like they are covered in glass.
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Re: Wooden arrows... a build along.

Postby Stykshooter » Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:59 pm

Now the shafts have been dyed, stained, buffed and dipped, it is time to dress them up a bit. Nothing makes your arrows look professional like a matched set of cresting. It is one of those things that you just have to practice at to become decent. It is easy to make one really nice looking arrow. It is kind of tough sometimes to make twelve that are exactly the same. The smaller the lines you paint, the harder it is to match them up. Cresting of your arrows is where you can go crazy and make something that is personalized for you. As gaudy or as sedate as you like.

Some guys use paint pens to do their cresting. I have tried them and have 8-10 different colors here at the house but I don't think it gives me as good of a job as regular old paint and a brush. Lots of guys use Testers or some other variant of paint. I have used Testers and some of the water based paints from time to time but in my opinion, it is hard to beat the regular Fletch Lac cresting paints. They are oil based and are definitely compatible with the dips that I use. They give me very bright colors and hold up well to rubbing and wiping as the arrow gets shot. They may be a little pricey, but one of those little bottles goes a long way. I probably make upwards of 30-40 dozen arrows each year and most times a bottle of cresting paint will dry up and become unusable before I run out of it.

A couple of givens here. Don't skimp on your brushes. I buy good quality camel hair brushes from an art supply store. You will be surprised at how much better a job you can do with a good quality brush compared to a cheap economy brush. Secondly, make sure you thin your paints. I like mine to be about the consistency of milk. It may take two coats to cover but I do not end up with any brush marks in the cresting if my paint is thin enough.

I started out with a home made crester, and it did a decent enough job. There are several commercial cresters out there now that do a great job.
You can tell a lot about a woman's mood just by her hands. If they are holding a gun, she's probably angry.
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Re: Wooden arrows... a build along.

Postby Stykshooter » Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:02 pm

This is one model that I use, a Bohning Pro model crester. I bought this one new in about 1984 and it has done literally thousands of arrow over the years. Very easy to use and user friendly. Just slide the arrow nock end in the chuck and turn on the switch. This crester make it fast and easy to lay down a lot of paint. I generally use this crester to lay down my broader base lines. I usually put down a base coat of white and then lay down my colors over top of it. This makes the colors cover better and brighter.


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You can tell a lot about a woman's mood just by her hands. If they are holding a gun, she's probably angry.
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Re: Wooden arrows... a build along.

Postby Stykshooter » Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:06 pm

This is another popular crester, the Spin Rite. It is a lot more delicate and intricate to use. I like to use it to put my finer lines on wooden shafts as it has the opposing rollers which hold the arrow shaft down and take away all of the bounce that you sometimes get with a not so perfect shaft and the Bohning crester.

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Both of these cresters cost about the same...you can find them both for around $170.00 or so each. If I had to confine myself to only the one crester, it would be the Bohning Pro Crester.
You can tell a lot about a woman's mood just by her hands. If they are holding a gun, she's probably angry.
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Re: Wooden arrows... a build along.

Postby Stykshooter » Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:07 pm

To me, and my nearly 55 year old eyes, this is the most essential piece of equipment to have on the bench when I am cresting arrows...

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You can tell a lot about a woman's mood just by her hands. If they are holding a gun, she's probably angry.
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