Easy Taper Tool Basic
Of course I enjoy handling bows and shooting them and yes I get huge pleasure whenever I have access to a new bow, but the passion of archery is aroused in me by arrows, excellent arrows will make you look good, can increase target scores and allow you to hit game where you want and when you want. A poor arrow will frustrate you and can destroy the possibility of a pleasurable afternoon with a bow.
There are of course a number of things which will make an arrow suitable for your bow but assuming the arrow is spined/weighted and tuned correctly for your bow then there are a couple of things you might do to improve performance. Chief amongst these things is tapering - elsewhere on this site I have described the effects of tapering an arrow shaft but it's worth repeating here.
There is little doubt that a tapered arrow flies better , it isn't just because it looks as if it does there is in fact science to back it up. Put simply when an arrow goes through paradox it can recover quicker if there is less weight or mass at the back to flap about. A properly spined parallel shaft will fly perfectly well, but when you shoot a tapered arrow for the first time you will see the difference.
Another good reason to shoot tapered shafts is that it moves the balance point further toward the front. When the weight is moved forward the arrow will fly with more stability, however this is where there is a trade off between stability and trajectory and it all starts to get a little complicated.
Shifting the balance point forward, (this point is known as the foc - front of center, which is expressed as a percentage.) aids stability but at the cost of flatness of trajectory, similarly if the foc is moved back from the front the arrow shoots flatter but with less stability. So, how do you know where the foc should be ?, happily this is not new science and there is a wealth of ballistic information around to help the archer achieve perfect arrow flight. It is generally accepted that 7-11% is a good range as a compromise between stability and trajectory for a target or 3D archer, the American society for testing and materials recommend 9% as a typical figure. For a hunter 10-18% will be desirable, firstly a greater point weight will aid penetration and at short range hunting distances stability will be more important that shooting flatter for a little further.
So, you are now itching to try tapered arrows, but where to locate some. Despite the fact that almost everyone will agree that a tapered arrow is better than a parallel one 99% of arrows being used are parallel. Tapered shafts can be tricky to get hold of although some manufacturers do specialise in them, the price however can be off putting and may add a premium of almost £1 per shaft, like everyone I do get through wooden shafts and over time this premium can add up. An alternative would be to make your own, a tricky business as spine will be changed along with weight and making a tapered set that matched is a labour of love, at least in the past that might have been the case.
At first glance it looks like something Uncle Bob knocked up down the end of the garden, as it describes itself, it is indeed a basic taper tool, in fact the method of tapering is the one that first springs to mind - sand away the unwanted material.
The tool/jig is a constructed valley that tapers to 5/16" at the far end, the valley is lined with some oxide "sand" paper and using a drill the shaft is spun down the valley achieving the desired taper - simples !
In fact it is so simple and rudimentary I was suspicious.
The tool is supplied with a shaft adapter to use with a drill, the shaft goes in the adapter and the adapter goes in the drill, upon checking my drills I found they were all 3/8" chucks and the adapter is 1/2" so wouldn't fit my drills. I do however have a comprehensive workshop and was able to fashion my own adapter. There is enough meat on the adapter that is supplied for you to take the drill bit end down to 3/8" if you own, as I do, only standard DIY type drills, it can be easily sanded as it is hard plastic.
Once in the drill I followed the simple and straight forward instructions " gently feed the shaft in to the tool using a backward and forward motion". Just 4 minutes later I had a perfectly tapered shaft from 11/32" down to 5/16" along the back 14" of the shaft.
14" is the maximum length of taper you can perform, however, there is nothing to stop you from also tapering the front end of the shaft and producing a barrelled shaft. In years past when I was an avid target archer I managed to get some shafts made by a chap named Don Stokes who ran an outfit called The Tallahatchie Workshops, they went by the name of Supercedars - even though they weren't made from cedar, as I recall the ones I had were cherry. Anyway, those barrelled shafts came out of my bow like they were laser guided, Don retired and the shafts were no longer available, I still make barrelled arrows on occasion and I am telling you once you try them you won't look back. The reason I don't always shoot barrelled is because they do take a long time to make - well, they were until today when I started using this tool.
Just one hour later and I have a set of barrelled arrow shafts matched in spine and weight, the finish is excellent too, a quick rub with some P400 is enough to bring up a glass like finish.
When you are tapering you will be changing the static spine of the shaft - figure on 2# for a single taper of say 10" and 3# for the full 14" - if you are going for the full barrelled shaft experience then allow 5 to 6# in your calculations.
This is a tool which really does live up to it's name of "easy", a child could use it, I appreciate that most archers are not as fanatical as me when it comes to arrows but this tool is so quick and so easy to use it brings the possibility of tapered and barrelled shafts to every archer. Within 4 or 5 dozen arrows this will have paid for itself.
Initially I had concerns that the sandpaper might not last too long but, using the correct motion to gently feed in the shaft will greatly reduce the chance of "blunting " it quickly.
Inevitably at some point it will wear out and need replacing, this is a simple matter of taking out the two jaws, unsticking the sandpaper and lightly sticking new paper in place and returning the jaws to either side of the valley. There are security clips at the front and rear of the valley.
Thoughtfully the makers have provided a hole of 5/16" diameter on the right so you can check your diameter once you have finished sanding.However the tool is well set up and all the angles have been worked out for you.
The finish of the tool belies the accuracy with which it is made, it does look a little rough and ready but it has been constructed solidly and to produce shafts of a fine tolerance, I had a woodworker friend of mine look it over, he too is an archer and had in the past been talking of making something similar himself but hadn't because it was difficult to get the measurements correct, he explained how critical it was to get the tool spot on and he too was impressed by the results this tool was capable of.
There are 3 versions of this tool, the Basic - this one, as reviewed.
The Professional. This version of the tool has not one but two grinding grooves. One for rough and one for smooth, if you intend to taper lots of shafts this could be the set up you need, the professional also has the ability to change the entry diameter from 11/32 to 23/64" or whatever size you wanted to use. We have not reviewed this version.
The Taper Center is the third in the series and includes not only the two taper guides which again are adjustable but also a dust box - a nice touch as this tool can generate a substantial quantity of dust. Included also are the sharpeners to taper the nock and point, again this version is not the one under review.
For all 3 incarnations of this tool Flybow offer replacement sandpapers.
Well, I know what I am doing this weekend !!
If you want to shoot tapered or barrelled arrows then you need this tool, we recommend that you get yours from Flybow, who stock a range of fantastic Traditional Archery Products, and when you do, please mention Archers-Review. .
Features & Design
Sometimes the obvious is the way to go, this tool has been designed to take an arrow down from 23/64" or 11/32" to 5/16" and it does so simply and in a manner that requires no "shop" experience, components are tough and the construction is solid - I particularly like the use of coach bolts to secure the jaws in their correct place.
Superb, I am a huge fan of tapered and barrelled arrows, up until now these have required a huge amount of patience and skill to produce, this tool will allow even the most hamfisted and impatient archer to have accurate tapered and barrelled shafts.
Value for Money
Any tool that pays for itself in just 4 or 5 uses is a no brainer. Easy 5*
Rates right at the top in terms of archery tools. If I were only allowed 3 tools in my archery workshop this would be one of them.