Boyton Tapered shafts

Reviewed by Steve
Home > arrows > Boyton Tapered shafts

Anyone who has spent any time at all with Chris Boyton knows that once a conversation is started it will wander off to include innumerable topics regardless of where it starts, one thing, as they say, always leads to another and with Chris' wealth of knowledge and experience in all things archery it is inevitable that the subject gets wider and wider. With a mind as sharp and as fast as his tongue actually pinning him down to one subject or project or even one conversation is a herculean task as you are drawn ever deeper into his archery web…… However…… we did it !…In the past I have had small batches of tapered arrow shafts from Chris, his standard shafts are excellent so when he tapers them they are as good as you are ever likely to find. The problem is that there are never enough of them to go around…. This time we badgered him until he produced a special production run just for us. In the process we discovered a little more about this extraordinary mans operation.

It seems that there may be more of these top johnny tapered shafts in the not too distant future as behind the scenes he has been working on a number of options to produce tapered shafts, we had a long chat and the following is the condensed form of the conversation !!

I have been supplying tapered shafts in various forms for some while now, but have not pushed them due to many other commitments in my one man business.
I have built two specially made grinding machines which I use to taper my shafts.
The first machine is one which will put a taper on any finished shaft up to 1/2 inch in diameter, and will produce tapers of any length up to approx 26-27 inches. This is the machine I use to taper the large poplar livery shafts where a large amount of wood is removed during the process.
This machine needs a little time in setting up to suit shaft diameter, length of taper etc, and is only used for runs of 50 shafts or more. It is a stop start process, so each shaft has to be fitted in to the machine, it is then tapered, then the machine is stopped and the shaft removed.
The second machine is a real production machine, and was a project I have been working on for many years, and with help from American engineers I finally got it into production in the last year or so.
This machine has a dual use, and is what I use to sand and size the Boyton pine shafts I produce.
The great feature of this machine is, apart from putting the finish on the shafts it can be set to taper the shafts at the same time, or even do a double taper (barrelling).
This machine has a constant through feed, with only  a light stock removal rate, therefore outputs of 1000 parallel shafts an hour, or 600 tapered ones per hour are possible. These are all potential figures, and of course machines can be built to run at all sorts of speeds, but one has to work at a speed where quality can be controlled and defects can be look for.

To have these machines built by an Engineer would have cost thousands of pounds, but because of my machine tool and fabricating background, I was able to build them and save some money, but they still cost a lot of money in man hours of design and development.
I don't taper individual’s sets of shafts, but prefer customers to get them from the outlets that I supply shafts to.

So…. what are they actually like to use and shoot ? Firstly we had a very special requirement. Most of the bows I tend to shoot are cut way past centre, this allows you to tune the bow to the arrow as opposed to having to tune your arrows to an exact spec…. that's the theory, in reality it means you haven't got to lay out sums of cash to find the "right" arrow as you can make the bow accept a much wider selection of shafts in terms of length, spine, point weight and even fletch shape and size. Being able to build up or reduce the strike plate is key in this. My preference for tapered shafts is well documented so we won't head down that particular road again, suffice to say that for me tapered is king…

This little batch was to suit my own bows and those of a few friends which are very similar in draw weight and more importantly in power output and all have the facility to alter the strike plate within a fairly broad band.. There is probably a huge discussion to be had as to how long the taper should be and to what degree it should taper, I have experimented with tapers of different length, especially when I first started tapering my own arrows, I have tried almost everything from 9 inches through to a full length and for no particular reason 14" seems to work very well and still leave me with an adjustability in terms of some of the other variables, a little wriggle room to tune the arrow as-well as the bow. So this batch were requested at a 14” taper

For the purposes of this exercise we have an 11/32 shaft that is tapered to 5/16 at the nock, it would be possible to go thinner at the nock but doing that throws a number of other variables in to the equation, you might say " it isn't rocket science" however it is arrow science which can at times get quite complicated… don't belive me ?.. ask Stu Miller….. I am firmly convinced that our medieval forefathers used a tapered shaft due to its ability to be used in a wide range of bows…. if the Mary Rose taught us anything it was that pretty much no two bows are the same. I needed the spine range quite tight and within standard tolerances of +/- 2# and Chris very obligingly provided exactly what I asked for.

For the small ( in my opinion) premium of a few quid to have a professionally tapered shaft this is pretty much a no brainer… for those that doubt that a tapered shaft makes any difference I say this… a parallel shaft that is perfectly tuned to the bow, made by someone who knows what they are about when it comes to arrows and who has an understanding of the bow being used and the style and techniques employed by an individual archer will fly as true as the proverbial arrow… if that's the case then what is the issue ?……… most folk are not shooting a perfectly tuned arrow, the addition of the taper will allow you to be close yet still get awesome flight from your arrow, in fact I would go as far to say that you could be wrong by some margin and still experience excellent arrow flight…. all my opinion of course, but from the experiments I have done a perfect tapered arrow flys better than a perfect parallel one..

The spine I asked for was 50/55#….. upon receiving the shafts one thing jumped out straight away and that was the incredible quality of the shafts, straight grain from end to end, the finish is beautifully smooth and as the taper was 14" it starts off imperceptibly and reduces at a steady rate, in fact you need to put one end of a shaft against the tapered end of another to actually see the difference, the finish was such that you could not, by touch alone discern where the taper had started.

Several shafts were immediately turned into arrows, I knew exactly what the bow I was going to use required ( it was actually a Black Swan by Arvid Danielson which is currently on review ) and the arrows did not disappoint…

Given the choice I would urge you to give tapered arrows a try, the trouble is there isn't always a choice…. Chris has so much on the go that tapered arrows are not necessarily his top priority….. if you want to try them, pester your dealer to get some in, you won't regret it !!… Now turn up the voume and listen to these beauties fly !!!


Features & Design

Chris takes his fabulous Pine shafting and adds a perfect 14" inch taper… so beautiful it hurts !


To do your bow and yourself justice you need an arrow that is right… superb performance

Value for Money

worth every penny and more


The arrow is the bit that you use to reach out and "touch" the target, it's the final component in the mix, we spend huge amounts of time setting up the bow and then years of practice trying to develop great form… if you are not using the best arrow you possibly could then what the heck are you doing ????

Essential Details

Price : £30/dz

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