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The Care and Feeding of Your New Wood Arrows

First of all, thank you very much for having Greenman Archery make your new arrows. Making wood arrows is what I do for a living. I'll never get rich at it, but I sit down to my work each day with a smile on my face and joy in my heart - I truly love to do what I do.

I hand straighten shafts at least three times as I build them into arrows. But, wood can be a tricksy creature and being the natural material that it is, sometimes it can be a challenge to keep them straight. Since these arrows have a finish on them the easiest way to address any issues is to simply sight down the shaft to check for any curves. If one is found gently bend the shaft over your hand in the opposite direction. Go slow and be careful; breaking your arrows while straightening them is not going to make you a happy archer.

To keep your arrows straight they should be stored properly. Resting horizontally in foam arrow dividers is great. Loose in a quiver is what most of us do and it's ok, but probably not the best. Above all, don't rest something (like the bow) on top of your arrows and expect them to stay straight. Also, try to protect them from extremes in temperature; don't store them in your freezer or on the dash of your vehicle on a sunny day. When pulling arrows from the target, grasp them near the target and pull straight back. Don't bend the arrow as you pull.

Arrows have a tough life. Our bows launch them downrange at high speeds and they stop in a fraction of a second when they hit the target. Sometimes our targets aren't very kind to the arrows: rocks and metal target frames can stress our arrows to the breaking point, or nearly so. Sometimes our arrows are even targets themselves for other arrows. Woe to the archer who makes the first good shot on a 3D target, that arrow will be an aiming point for everyone else in the group.

Carefully inspect your arrows before every archery session. Look for damage on the shaft, check for damage to the finish that can indicate a damaged shaft. Gently flex each arrow; sometimes a fault isn't obvious until the shaft is slightly stressed. Any arrow with a cracked, splintered, or otherwise damaged shaft should be immediately retired. Broken arrows make us sad. Arrows that break as we loose them can hurt us.
Be sure all the feathers are well fastened to the arrow shaft. If any are coming loose retire the arrow until the fletching can be repaired or replaced. Embedding a feather in your hand as the arrow rushes out of the bow makes the day way more exciting than necessary.

Check to be sure the arrow nocks are in good condition and are not broken, cracked, or loose on the arrow. A cracked nock can lead to a dry fire with the bow and that can lead to a broken bow. An arrow with a compromised nock needs to be retired until it can be fixed or retired permanently.

Be sure to check over your arrow if anything happens to it during your archery session. Did you hit the target frame? Was it possibly hit by another arrow? Did it go skipping along the ground for forty feet behind the target? Be safe, check the arrow for damage.

Most of us don't shoot into the dirt (on purpose) but arrows can still get dirty. To clean them, gently wipe off any dirt, mud, blood, or watermelon juice with a damp cloth. At the target range an archer's tassel is nice to have on hand. Dirty feathers can be gently brushed with an old toothbrush or one of those cheap paint brushes from the home improvement store. If the feathers are matted just hold them over boiling water at your kitchen range. The steam will give the feathers new life. You'll be surprised at how well that works.

Finally, if you have any questions about your arrows, please do let me know. If you're curious about how I arrived at certain decisions in the crafting of your arrows I'll be happy to fill you in on my thoughts. Ever since I had custom fishing rod builders laugh at my questions when I was a young grommet trying to learn how to make my own rods it's been in my mind that while there are trade secrets, for the most part knowledge is meant to be shared.

Happy Archery!