You know what’s really frustrating with arrows?
It’s when you go to pull your arrow from the target and discover that the point has stayed in the target.
Dang, that just bugs the heck out of me!
People go to all sorts of measures to try to prevent this from happening. I’ve seen it suggested to use a tap to actually thread the inside of the field point. I’ve seen people drill the point after it’s on the arrow and pin it with a nail. I’ve also seen it recommended to rough up the inside of the point with sandpaper on a stick.
Now, these aren’t bad ideas and they can certainly help, but it may be possible to avoid these steps by faithfully following two points:
Clean the tips. Metal tips come from the manufacturer with a thin coat of oil or grease. This may be left over from the machining process and also helps keep the tip from rusting before we buy it. If that oil or grease isn’t completely cleaned out of the tip, there isn’t a glue we use that will keep that tip on the arrow.
Use an appropriate glue. Traditionally, the appropriate glue has been Ferr-L-Tite hot melt glue. It’s good stuff and properly used it’s going to work well.
Another possibility is a good quality epoxy glue.
Some folks have had reasonable success with other glues but these are the two most common glues being used.
I used to use hot melt glues but quickly got tired of juggling the hot tip, pliers, glue, the arrow, and the heat source. When the excess molten glue squeezed out of the tip I either had to (carefully!) wipe it off while it was still hot or try to chip it off once it had cooled. Neither of those was really a lot of fun.
I quickly began looking for another glue to use.
A number of years ago I built custom fishing rods. I remembered reading about guys building big game rods here on the west coast who were unhappy with using Ferr-L-Tite for rod tip guides and went to using epoxy. They maintained that the epoxy was easier to work with than the hot melt, it was more secure, and if a tip guide was broken they could easily remove it for replacement by a careful application of heat.
Dang, this sounded custom made for what I was experiencing in arrow making!
I’ll tell you what, once I tried using epoxy for arrow tips I never went back to the hot melt glues.
I recently got a little bug in my pants and decided to try my hand at video production. I chose epoxied arrow tips as my subject and I don’t think it came out too awful.
There was a brief bit of excitement when the arrow finish ignited but that was quickly snuffed. Let that be a lesson to you, some of the finishes we use are flammable so watch that flame!
Something I mentioned in the video but didn't get into detail on is cleaning the tip before gluing. I can't stress enough how important this step is. If the tip isn't squeeky, perfectly, immaculatly clean, the glue will be compromised.
I currently use denatured alcohol for cleaning the tips. This is a mild solvent that you can buy in any paint store or paint department of the home improvement store. I soak the tips and then clean the inside with an inexpensive cotton swab. Keep a pair of tweezers or something handy because sometimes those cheap swabs leave a ball of cotton in the tip.