I sometimes wonder why I shoot wooden arrows, especially when I go to a shoot to discover they have chosen an ex-quarry and all the shots are surrounded by rocks just mm below the surface. Invariably these are the days when I miss more than usual resulting in a pile of broken shafts.
Then there are the days when I pick up carbon or ally shafts and despite their obvious advantages I know why I shoot wood – it’s more natural to me, I love the link with tradition, even though my bow has a glass back, the traditional no sights style just feels right.
What to do though with the pile of broken arrows ? bearing in mind that like many archers I shoot the best arrows I can make and the fact that a good wooden arrow will have had a huge investment in time and effort to produce, you can’t just stick them in the bin. Somehow they have to be salvaged – I don’t make arrows a couple of inches too long so that I can re-point them when they break. The only possible way to be able to re use these arrows is by the addition of an extension to the shaft.
You could take the opportunity to foot the arrow in the traditional way which is a time consuming process, there is another way which is quick, easy and straightforward.
The Arrow-Fix multi tool
Before we discuss the tool in detail, it will produce a small joint on the principle that a taper is produced as one side of the joint (the male part) and the wood shaft is drilled out with the special drill to produce a hole with the internal dimensions of the taper (the female part).
This method produces a joint which is strong and the visible part of the joint is very small, which means you can expect a neat finish. Provided the same shaft wood is used in the repair then the spine of the arrow will be unaffected. The real bonus with this method is that it is quick easy and your arrow will be back in service in short time.
The main body of the tool houses multiple functions. The first are 2 taper tool blades, the first will cut a point taper at the standard 5° – this can be used either to prepare a shaft to accept a standard tapered field point or as the taper that will form part of the joint. The second blade will prepare the shaft with a standard 11° nock point. Each is marked with a symbol to denote it’s purpose just to ensure no mistakes happen.
In order to taper the shaft the front of the tool has been designed with several hole to accommodate different sized shafts from 5/16″ to 23/64″, there are a pair of holes of each size which will mean that if it is set to taper 11/32″ then you can access both the point and nock blades with that sized shaft. To change the size you are using there is a small Allen bolt which is removed, the dial is reset to the next size and the bolt inserted back into the tool – thoughtfully the manufacturers have included an Allen key.
In the photo above you can also see a centre hole. In the exploded photo at the top you will note that this is where the drill part of the tool is inserted, this special drill will produce the internal part of the joint, this will be the female part of the joint.
Before the drill is inserted in place the size of shaft will need to be selected, the other end of the tool is where the shaft will be entering and in order for the shaft to be kept in correct alignment the correct sized entrance hole must be chosen, this is a removable socket which again can be changed to accommodate shaft sizes from 5/16″ to 23/64″
Once again this is held in place by another small Allen bolt.
The drill is now inserted into the tool via the centre hole as shown earlier, it is pushed all the way through until the socket of the shaft holder is met. It is important to orientate the drill correctly as there is a flat side where another Allen bolt will hold it in place.
The tool is now ready to use. Firstly cut the additional shaft piece that will be glued into the shaft to extend it. In practice it doesn’t really matter which part of the male/female joint is where, the male taper can be on the original arrow or the extension but I tended to use the arrow as the female part. This should be tapered with the nock taper blade.
Next, the whole tool is inserted into a drill and the whole tool will be turned, what you now have is your own mini lathe. However the drill is not essential and such is the quality and sharpness of the drill that the socket can be formed purely by using the tool in your hand – I preferred using the drill approach but the point is, if you wanted to you could take this into the field with you and fix an arrow on the hoof – I know that sounds a little nerd, but, I can think of one shoot I have been to where I actually ran out of arrows due the the rocky nature of the ground and the fact that I had brought just a few with me. The tool is small enough to fit into a pocket and a couple of inches of spare shaft would take litttle room. You laugh now but there may come a day when you smash all your arrowsand you will remember these words … and the fact that you laughed at them !!
The shaft is fed into the spinning tool and such is the precision of the set up that you will create an internal cone to accept the tapered shaft. Be careful not to push too hard as the shaft approaches the end of the process as the wall thickness is wafer thin at the edges.
Arrow Fix recommend a 2 part epoxy, we would know this better as Araldite – in fact many folks will use this already to affix points to arrows, although there is nothing wrong with this approach I tend to use Titebond iii. This waterproof wood glue is about the best I have come across, it is easy to use and the best bit is that it is easy to sand. This is especially important once the joint has cured as Epoxy is very hard once set and you should use a small file to remove any excess glue rather than try to sand it off. The advantage of 2 part epoxy is that you can have the shaft set in 5 min.
Once the joint is put together using your chosen medium, the Arrow Fix tool has another little trick up it’s sleeve,in order to maintain the straightness of the shaft/joint they include 2 rubber bands. These are to be used to secure the shaft and joint in a special groove along the side of the tool..
You need to take a little care whilst joining the two parts as the socket will be fragile and pushing the taper in to the socket with too much force will result in the socket part splitting, not necessarily a problem as long as there are not too many.
The quality of the resulting joint is as good as the care you take whilst preparing the 2 ends, the tool is engineered to very tight tolerances, I was initially sceptical that a joint of this nature could be created without a lathe – I have seen them done using a lathe in the past and it’s a very nice joint, one of the key advantages of this type of joint is that there are no sheer forces generated when the arrow hits the target or something hard, a splice joint could be susceptible to sheer whereas this socket joint is probably as tough as it gets when joining what is intrinsically a skinny dowel. Once the joint was complete my sceptisism was cured, it works, and it works much better than I thought.
Once the joint has cured any imperfections can be sanded out or should the shaft have not joined fully to create a smooth transition from one part to the other it is possible to mix a little sawdust with some Titebond iii ( or any wood glue) and fill in any imperfections and sand again to leave a prettier finish.
The designers have pretty much thought of everything, and even include a pencil in the really neat little storage tube they supply the kit in. The centering sockets are also available in High Grade Steel for when you are using hardwoods, so if an arrow you have already footed should break you can still use hardwood rather than add a section of softwood..
The basic kit will allow you to repair your chosen diameter of arrow shaft, there are 3 package levels. Package 2 includes a second shaft diameter centering socket and also a drill holder… we had the drill holder which accepts 43mm diameter drill, which is a standard size throughout Europe – sadly neither my Black & Decker battery operated drill nor my super cheap Tesco drill fitted this clamp…
The level 3 package includes all the above but also enables the tool to be used to affix the T Tip point, this is a different type of point which operates using a tang which is inserted in to the shaft after a pilot hole has been drilled straight up the shaft – the special sized drill bit is used in the tool to ensure the hole is central…it is an exciting prospect, to use a point that is not fixed on to the shaft by conventional means – watch out for the T Tips review coming soon..
Features & Design
No doubt this tool could have been invented and produced anywhere but the fact that it is of German design and made to German quality standards will only inspire confidence, of course the design has been well thought out, I have tried to think what other features they could have incorporated, but, it is so packed full of useful and clever features only the addition of waffle making facilities will improve the concept.
Enables a joint which demands fine tolerances and which would only have been possible with a lathe. Excellent.
Value for Money
Euro 88 is not cheap, however, think back on all the arrows you have ever broken… it’s a lot isn’t it ?… if you could have them all back for just Euro 88 that would be a bargain right ? The whole kit will probably pay for itself in short time. No matter how good you are wooden arrows are always going to get broken.
It makes total sense that broken arrows should be repaired, this tool offer a quick and simple solution. Take some time to become familiar with the techniques involved in getting the cuts just right and you will be rewarded with an arrow that will shoot as well after the repair as it did before..