2. MAKE THE ARROW
A. CUT THE DOWEL
To measure the correct length of the arrow for the
user, ask her or him to draw the bow using an extra-long piece of dowel, and mark the shaft 1" in front
of the spot where the dowel touches the arrow rest.
Cut the lengths of dowel (look for those that have a
straight grain running parallel with the shaft).
B. CUT THE NOCK AND SHARPEN
The nock keeps the arrow in place on the string
when the bow is drawn. To your hacksaw, attach 2
fine blades together in opposite directions. Clamp
the dowel to something so that it’s vertical, and cut
a nock to comfortably fit the bowstring (Figure H).
Sharpen the dowel with a pencil sharpener.
C. SPLIT THE FLETCHING
Fletchings stabilize the flight of the arrow and are
traditionally made from feathers. We used chicken
and cockatoo feathers, but turkey feathers are
best. Using scissors or a trimming knife, halve the
feathers lengthwise down the center of the quill,
then trim to about 3" long.
Each half-feather has a natural cup that imparts
spin to the arrow. Use fletches that are cupped in
the same direction to provide a slight rotation that
D. ATTACH THE FLETCHES
Using sticky tape to temporarily hold it in place,
attach the first fletch at 90° to the nock (Figure I).
Wrap the cotton thread around the shaft at the
top end of the fletch to position it, then attach the
second fletch 1/3 of the way around, and the last one
Check positioning to ensure that the fletches all
face the same way and are evenly spaced. Wrap the
twine around the shaft, covering the front edges of
the fletching. Then tie down the back ends of the
fletches in the same way (Figure J).
E. TRIM AND GLUE
Put a few drops of varnish onto the twine to bind
it firmly, and trim off any excess bits of twine and
feather. You can use contact glue to press down the
length of each fletch, but this isn’t necessary.
3. MAKE THE TARGET AND SHOOT!
Paint a target, the bigger the better, on a piece of
cardboard (Figure K), styrofoam, or a straw bale
with paper pinned to it. Hang it and start shooting!
Knot-tying techniques and more resources can
be found at