Wooden arrow makers and suppliers

It’s not hard getting hold of arrows for longbows – you can pretty much shoot any wooden arrow from the majority of bows, from cheap and nasty woodies off Ebay through to the most wonderfully crested Victorian style barrelled or tapered target arrows.

However – there’s actually not that many people who can make them well.

Many of the sets of wooden arrows you can buy from professional archery shops are reasonable quality, but as with any of these things – they’re built to a price. What you want to be looking for is whether the arrows are spine matched (correctly – to both your bow and your draw weight) to within around 5lbs – more than this and you’re likely to find things going a bit awry side to side. Next you need to make sure that they have weight matched them – at least to around 30grains for the set – any more than this and they’ll be drifting high and low.

Unsurprisingly, many longbow shooters make their own arrows, but most sets of wooden shafts aren’t weight matched, and we’ve seen a set of 12 shafts with a range of over 150 grains. You’ve got 2 options – either pay extra for them to be weight matched, or buy in bulk and match them yourself! I guess which option you choose will depend on how many you lose or break!

There’s loads of good resources on making good wooden longbow arrows around, and we’ll try to collate a few of them later, as making your own arrows is incredibly satisfying, and in the long run it’s usually economic, but many people simply don’t have the time. A good set of arrows will take a week or so to make, with often 4 or 5 hours of work. Once you start looking at all the tools you may need for the job it becomes a toss up as to whether it’s worth while.

For those who don’t want to make their own, we’ve fallen back into our old habit of list making:

  • Little John Arrows – John Catley has an incredibly good reputation and provides some very nice Victorian style arrows – cresting, tapering and barelling, spine matching to within 1lb and weight matching are available with either Boyton pine or spruce shafts.
  • Carol Archery – Carol Edwards has been making arrows for many years, and sells arrows, shafts and even her own design of fletching jig. Boyton pine and poplar.
  • Sylvan Archery – Hilary Greenland has also been making arrows for years, with expertise in historic and flight arrows.
  • The Fletcher – We work with these guys, so we’re biased! They make some great cheap love ’em and lose ’em arrows for reasonable prices which are all spine and weight matched so they actually shoot well, but they also have an enthusiasm for strange woods and historic arrows. Pine, Spruce, Birch, Ash, Bamboo, Poplar – if it’s worth making it into a shaft – they’ll try it.
  • HiForce – These guys come with an enviable reputation for competition arrows, including tapered shafts and a matching service to arrows you’ve had previously – they’ll even try to replicate your favourite arrow. Pine and Spruce.

As always, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but we’ve tried a heck of a lot of arrows and not found many that are worth writing home about – if you’ve found a great arrow maker you think deserves to be in the list – get in touch:


Leave a Reply