Traditional Archery Gear – Wood or Carbon Arrows

Source: Stick & String Adventures Podcast – Episode 27 – Archers Roundtable

The Continuing Conversation between


In the previous blog post Nick talked about the advantages of starting off with carbon arrows due to their consistency and durability.  The conversation continues…

Jason Albert – I would do the same thing with my arrows.  Where you said to go carbon.  There’s a lot of clubs out here. When I first started out I went everywhere and I shot with everybody I could.  I broke so many arrows and spent so much money it was just ridiculous because I was buying carbon arrows. So I would suggest that right off the bat that you buy a cheap jig and a taper tool and do it yourself from wood in the start.  You’re throwing yourself into the lifestyle

Nick Viau – Don’t get me wrong.  I am a huge wood proponent.  Anybody who’s ever read my blog know that I started out carbon.  I moved down to wood.  I had a lot of misconceptions about wood. I thought wood was just snob shop wood.  There was no benefit of doing it.  There’s no reason to do it.  There’s no good wood left. I had every excuse that would detract me from day one of people teaching me how to shoot.  I have broken far less wood than I have carbon and aluminum. And that is a fact.  I don’t know if it’s because you take a little more time with the shot or what.

One of the reasons I really like wood is because I think they are easier to tune.  Carbon arrows are so picky on whether you go a half-inch off the length or you add a little bit to the point weight.  Not only that but carbons are not easy to maintain in my opinion.  You can’t keep the shaft like you can with aluminum.  You have to watch how you scrape them.  You can’t take any of that top layer off.  To refletch them you usually have to use wraps.  Their just not easy to maintain. I found that out right away.

I absolutely agree with you Jason that you need to get a jig. This is one of the things that I try to tell people when they start. I started out with six carbon arrows that were beautifully fletched and wrapped and I blew feathers off of one the first day. That was out of my six and I felt so bad about it.  I took it back into the shop and had him redo it.  He did it for me for free, but I thought…  What am I going to do when I go back home.  (At that time I was up north with my folks when I bought my bow.)  I thought, what am I going to do if I loose an arrow somewhere else?  I can’t keep bringing this back to a shop to have them refletch them for me every single time.  It’s not going to add up.  So I immediately bought a jig, started doing my own stuff, and that brought me down the road to maintaining my own equipment.  I absolutely agree that for any beginner…  Go get yourself a fletching jig.  Learn how to do it.  Have someone show you.  And that’s one of the biggest tidbits of information that I could apart on anybody.

Ned Miller – I have to default to you guys on the carbons and aluminum only because…  Again, this is kind of the weird thing.  how were you introduced to this sport and this lifestyle.  I’ve only been shooting wood.  I’ve never shot anything else off a traditional bow.  Only because when I first started out I was shooting my dad’s old recurve.  My dad had wood arrows.  That’s what they had back then.  That’s what they were using.  So that’s what I started out using. I kinda thought that was the only route you went.  A lot of it comes from…  Where did you start?  Who influenced you? What perspective do you have on it based on that alone.

Jason Albert – A lot of people don’t realize how easy it is to do this.  I mean, you’re not going to be making grade “A” arrows off the bat that look just absolutely beautiful, but you can make arrows that fly straight.  If you like the roving and stuff like that, and you go out there with carbon arrows, you’re going to be breaking them like you wouldn’t believe.  At twelve or thirteen dollars an arrow, that’s just ridiculous.

“When I first started stump shooting, that’s when I really started breaking arrows.”

Nick Viau – I will chime in on that one too.  When I first started stump shooting, that’s when I really started breaking arrows.  When I was first trying, I thought for a joke that I would just take a cedar out to the woods.  Just a plain old stained cedar arrow, three fletched.  I wasn’t doing any fancy cresting or anything at that point.  I had some dark walnut stain and I would just stain them and I was shooting them.  I had this cedar arrow.  It was kind of second.  It wasn’t very good on the grains or anything like that.  I had just a standard blunt on the end of it.  I went out and shot for two days with my dad.   I put that thing in trees, into rocks, all kinds of stuff.  Aside from having to re-straiten it a couple of times, it never broke. I was amazed at that point.  I was a believer in how strong wood can actually be.  I think what makes them strong is that their flexible and come back to their original state.  Carbon’s are a little rigid, aluminum’s are a little rigid and they don’t react well to deflection. Carbon’s don’t react well to direct hits. Especially against stumps and things like that.  They tend to peel.

Jason Albert – And at three or four dollars an arrow, even if it does break, you’re still doing okay.

Nick Viau – And you can make more.

Ned Miller – There’s the point right there.

Jason Albert – That’s most of the fun of it.

Ned Miller – I recommend anyone getting that jig too.  That’s how I started out.  that’s how a lot of people started out.  you get one jig.  You get your supplies.  You give it a shot.  You find out you can do it.  You end up keeping with it.  You end up getting more stuff and you keep building.  that’s just kind of how a lot of this starts.




About rasherquivers

Owner/Operator of Rasher Quivers
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