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Tradslinger

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Reply with quote  #1 
As a kid I made arrows out of river cane and certain reeds found out in wooded areas. Of course we didn't or understand anything about spine or anything else. Any fletching was hit or miss with more misses than anything. We didn't do anything to the nodes or much of anything else. For "broadheads", I used everything from broken glass to pieces of metal found along the railroad tracks. I remember spending all day making one cane arrow with a metal (from the tracks) broadhead. Like an idiot, to test it out, I shot it into a big pine tree and buried the tip. I was using some sort of hardwood tree that was more like a tall strong shrub of some sort to make the bow out of. it all worked for me out in the middle of nowhere.                                                                                                                                                                                   So today, after watching several YouTube videos on making cane arrows, was sorta thinking about making a few of them. No longer having a spine checker, would I be able to use something like a 1816 or a 1916 shaft to kind of get the spine in the ball park? I liked how one guy used small slivers of cane to fill in the front of the hollow cane to make it more solid plus a tiny bit heavier. With the apparent spine differences found in the carbon shafts, it seems like the cane would be a decent arrow for up to 15-20 yards to hunt with. Any ideas or experience with the river cane arrows?  and what about fletching with a fletching jig?
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"But a man drew his bow without taking special aim and struck the king of Israel through the joints of his armor." 1 Kings 22:34
ziplomacy

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Reply with quote  #2 
I have yet to make any rivercane arrows but I certainly want to. I did however just finish up a half dozen bamboo arrows, the shafts were sealed and finished when I got them. I shaved some bamboo skewers to fit the center and glued them in with superglue. then I used a guide on my disc sander to taper. I made a dozen a year ago with self nocks and they work just fine, this time I tapered the shaft and glued on 5/16 nocks, 9/32 or 1/4 would have fit better I think. I have hafted glass broadheads into the shafts and shot them and the glass breaks before the bamboo. I like them for stump shooting, they are very durable.
Good luck, cant wait to see what you turn out!

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Osage Selfbow #55@28"
NM Baraga #50@28"
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Ben Pearson Cougar #37@28"

Knoxville, TN
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Reply with quote  #3 
Oh, I was also able to insert a foreshaft on a few. I had to wrap some tape around the shaft to prevent it from splitting and then ream it out. I just used a pocket knife with a long skinny blade. Most were centered but some were a little off. I used osage which made for a beautiful arrow, however, I think that step was more work than it was worth since the bamboo doesn't need it. I don't know if rivercane needs a foreshaft or not but for some reason, I'm thinking it does. 
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Osage Selfbow #55@28"
NM Baraga #50@28"
Pronghorn Takedown #42@28"
Ben Pearson Cougar #37@28"

Knoxville, TN
Bisch

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Reply with quote  #4 
YES!!!!! I didn’t read the posts, but was just answering the question in the thread title!!!

Bisch

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Primal Tech longbow 50#@29”
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Sarrels Bobcatt TD recurve 50#@29.5"
Rob Green selfbow 47#@29”
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I hail from about 4hrs southwest of Tim King! [biggrin]
Shootalot

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Reply with quote  #5 
The bad thing in my opinion about river cane is that the wall thickness varies a lot from cane to cane making the spine and weight hard to predict.  Also the cane is waxy making gluing on feathers a pain.  I do use a fletching jig and then tie the feather on so if the glue doesn't hold, the feathers will stay on the shaft.   They are very durable and I enjoy making arrows from them occasionally and usually come up with a good shooting arrow.  
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Gordon Jabben
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chuckc

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Reply with quote  #6 
Not river cane, but i purchased Chinese made bamboo shafts, on a whim. They took a long time to get here ( slow boat from....really). I found those to be wonderful. Unfortunately I ordered a light spine and the bow that fits them is a small recurve i reserve as a blind bow for turkey, so i don't use them much.
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ChuckC

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I did too !

Madison, Wisconsin.   Public land hunter
Tradslinger

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Reply with quote  #7 
I hope to see the river cane as a source of easily accessable arrows, meaning that I can get them semi easy. I have access to bamboo growing on our land but don't know if this kind would work for arrows. it is a fast growing type but I guess I should just try some and find out. From what I understand, it is a very durable arrow material and the potential is actually better for me than working with cedar again. plus it is just plain ole cool to use. My dad would get a kick out of me using it, he is an Elder in our tribe, he is the Fire Keep or Keeper. We are of the Wolve clan and his Indian given name is Talks To Bears. So it seems that I have been talking myself into doing this after all.   
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"But a man drew his bow without taking special aim and struck the king of Israel through the joints of his armor." 1 Kings 22:34
fdp

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Reply with quote  #8 
Here's a though, and it just a thought.

Rather than worrying about measuring the shafts for a particular spine, why not just cut the shafts long and trim the length to get them to shoot where you point them? The difference in the point on that many folks are very quickly going to bring up due to the different lengths of shafts is blown way out of proportion. As are the differences in physical weight at the ranges that most people shoot.

Any kind of cane, reed, or bamboo can (and probably has been) used for arrow shafts. Including Phragmites reed. It just takes different techniques to turn them in to arrows.

Smoothing out the nodes looks nice for sure, but it essentially does absolutely nothing for the shooting qualities.

Nocks and points aren't nearly as big a problem as most folks are lead to believe, You can in fact (if you want to) just glue a dowel in the end of the shaft, flush with the end, and grind the taper on that.

Nocks are simple because you can either use self nocks, or glue on nocks. Either cut the self nocks directly in the cane, and a wooden plug and cut the self nocks directly in that, or add a wooden dowel as described above and grind the nock taper on that.

You can fletch any arrow shaft that you can get in the jig with a fletching jig. Personally I don't use a fletching jig for any arrow shaft material unless it is a man made shaft.

Can arrows have been used for literally eons for survival, war, competition and recreation. To think that they would have any type of limits as it pertains to use is a mistake.

Sam

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Reply with quote  #9 
I haven't made a lot, but spine has always been very hit or miss - mostly miss. But they sure are fascinating.
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Sam McMichael

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Hill Wesley Special (2, both 65#)
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Tradslinger

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Reply with quote  #10 
Well, after harvesting about 23 pieces of bamboo this morning, I have come to a conclusion. For this kind of bamboo that we have, it appears that new growth bamboo may be the best choice as the older stuff goes from too big to too skinny too quickly. so I may be forced to go to the river cane as it tends to be a longer growth for the growth in diameter. To be more fair about this, I have to explain that we did some rather quick harvesting as a storm was quickly approaching. We got almost 2" of rain in short order.  In one way it would be very nice not to have to buy shafts ever again. I am speaking for short range hunting arrows as this is about all I do any more is hunting. To also be fair, there are thousands of kinds of bamboo and I just have one kind. I am quite sure that there are far better types of bamboo out there for arrows than what I have. So I will do what I can with this bamboo but plan on getting a lot of river cane to actually work with. From what I have learned, one needs to sand the waxy stuff off of the the area where one plans to fletch for the glue to stick. I can see applying some simple wax back between the fletches to water proof it again. I can see using glue on broadheads or even using weighed inserts and screw in heads. I see a lot of options really with these. Time will tell. Thanks everyone for your input. Jerry
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"But a man drew his bow without taking special aim and struck the king of Israel through the joints of his armor." 1 Kings 22:34
Tom M

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Reply with quote  #11 

I probably mentioned this before but I made up a doz or so for a friend. He took them to Africa to hunt. My only real issue was the not so uniform diameter from shaft to shaft . I bought some of those hardwood plugs from 3Rivers for nock and point ends of shafts. Some fit, some didn’, some broke. Ended up using the skewer idea. I used my heat gun to compress the nodes and straighten the shafts. Nodes are weak points of shafts. Sanding them isn’t the best idea. Also make your cuts at least 2 inches from a node. Cane, bamboo has a skin, makes it shin, lightly sand that off before applying any finish or gluing fletch. 

 Oh, my friend took some game animals with his bamboo arrows. He was disappointed he didn’t get a Croc, the guide driving the dugout chickened out at last minute. 


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Sun City, Az. by way of San Diego, Ca. Bear TD's Wes Wallace Royal LB, ILF risers and various limbs, Vintage Works 1962 Kodiak reproduction made to my specs

I hunt public land.
Tradslinger

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Reply with quote  #12 
Well we went to the Ouachita River and collected about 70-80 canes. so I am pretty happy with them. am hoping to end up with a dozen or two decent shafts. Now have to build a spine tester. No hurries, plenty of time to clean them up. will leave them way long to see where I get my spine on each one plus they need to dry. I will be shooting for 40-42 pounds spine. But I will still end up needing feather fletching and maybe plastic nocks if I got that route. 
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"But a man drew his bow without taking special aim and struck the king of Israel through the joints of his armor." 1 Kings 22:34
chuckc

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Reply with quote  #13 
Lotsa work ta do before arrows yet.
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ChuckC

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I did too !

Madison, Wisconsin.   Public land hunter
Tradslinger

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Reply with quote  #14 
yep, lots to do and it will be a process for sure. but when I get it worked out, it will be even more awesome to harvest a deer with one. I have an awesome longbow and an awesome recurve so I am pretty set in that regards. I have trashed a lot of wood arrows in the past and hopefully these will be a little more durable. I had bought a lot of cedar shafts to get the correct spine years ago. I had ended up with heavier spined arrows than what I wanted. Being basically a free replentishable resource, I can wade thru canes to get the correct spines.
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"But a man drew his bow without taking special aim and struck the king of Israel through the joints of his armor." 1 Kings 22:34
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