Straight to The Point!

In this week’s blog we are going a little more urban with our bushcraft as we look at improvised arrow heads.
As with all bushcraft we will utilise whatever materials are available in the environment which we find ourselves in at the time. Supplies may be plentiful, or you may just find yourself with no choice but to abrade a stick into a point, using nothing more than a stone from the ground.

As a keen archer and having made several bows in the woods with the Woodland Ways team, I find myself frequently repairing arrows from family usage, to extend their service life for as long as possible. This got me thinking, what else could we use? Bone and stone have been used throughout the world for many thousands of years. Small stone points have been found in South Africa which are believed to have been used as arrow heads, dating back 64,000 years.

Household items that could be repurposed as arrowheads

To begin with, I made a brief search around my house and garden to source things which could be repurposed as arrowheads. These were a mix of items that would work to varying degrees, with some working better than others, and some that will last longer than others. The range of materials sourced will vary with the tools and time required to work them, with some being fashioned using simple improvised techniques in a brief time.

I will be using slate, a nail or Allen key, a teaspoon, a 4mm thick piece of oak, an old handsaw, a piece of broken glass and a tin lid.

The next step is to draw out your chosen design of arrowhead. Use a piece of card or simply draw the outline of your chosen head directly on to the work piece. I chose the former as I wanted to experiment with several assorted designs. I then transferred the arrow shapes from the card to the material by drawing around them with a permanent marker. There are numerous arrowhead shapes to choose from, all with different pros and cons, for different purposes.

Arrowhead designs drawn out ready for cutting

I began cutting out the shapes using various tools. The tin, I was able to cut using heavy duty scissors.
For the hand saw I used an angle grinder. The oak I used a hack saw, a wood file and then some sandpaper.
The nail I abraded the head into a sharper point using sandpaper, although it would have worked fine without any sharpening. I cut off the nail head using a hack saw and inserted it into a predrilled hole in the end of the dowel. The glass was already in a usable shape, so I just shortened it by scoring it with the sharpened nail and snapping off the excess. The slate can be shaped in a few ways and is relatively soft and easy to work. Rough shapes can be achieved by scoring and snapping before shaping with a file, sandpaper or abraded on a harder rock. The teaspoon I flattened in a vice before shaping it with a grinder and roughly sharpening it with a file.

Arrowheads cut out, with some mounted

The improvised heads, can then be mounted into your arrow shafts. They can be affixed using glue, and then bound with either cord, sinew, or natural fibres etc. Again this depends on where you are and what you have available. In these examples, I have slotted them into some dowel rods which I have notched out ready for binding and fletching.

What else can you find that would work?

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