Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gluing Arrow Tips with Epoxy

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.

Happy Archery!


Lady Arwen of the Silver Rose said...

You really do make it look easy.

Garith said...

Looks good, no jumpy camera shots, good sound, well paced speech, you did great for your first video.

If it doesn't rain to heavily the night before and during the day I will see you on Sunday at the range. after all I am made of

Guy Taylor said...

Lady Arwen, glueing arrow tips really doesn't have to be as complicated as some make it.
Clean the tips and use a good glue, that's pretty much it.
Thanks for watching!

Guy Taylor said...

Garith, thanks very much for your vote of confidence in the video. Did you notice the fly that almost walked across the lense? I don't know how I kept a straight face.
Let's hope for good weather this weekend, it would be great to see you again.
Don't joke about the sugar, I know a certain lady who maintains that's what you are made of :0

Anonymous said...

Hi Guy great video, re your shorts and molten glue experience, well here is mine.
I was using hotmelt glue, had a bit of glue in the point and the point was being held over the gas burner, I was barefoot! I dropped the point, moved out of the way, fell over a kitchen stool, kicked the stool hard with my big toe, cussed and yelped with pain on the way down and greatly entertained my wife lol, result, very painful sprained toe!


Noel (censu)

Guy Taylor said...

Noel, that's great!
You and I must work alike, that sounds just like what I'd do. If we ever work in the same place at the same time it will get exciting.
Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I just Super-Glue them on. The air here is so dry, it defeats hot melt. Or at least so it seems. By the way, my blog Guerilla Chef is back up and running again!

Guy Taylor said...

Cyanoacrylate glue, or CA glue, is another of those glues that people find great success with on points. I tend not to use much CA glue because I have such a devil of a time keeping the bottle tip from clogging and stopping the flow of glue. But for those who can keep the glue coming out of the bottle, it's great stuff.
If anyone wants to give it a try, the thick or gel varieties will probably work best on tips. And please, don't buy your "super glue" at a discount store, get the good stuff at a specialty store like a hobby shop.

Thanks for the word on your blog, I've been watching and hoping. For anyone who wants to see the Guerilla Chef blog go to
He's a good writer and covers some great subjects.

Ivanevs said...

Awesome video i m slowly progressing to making my own arrows. What wood in your experiance is best for making shafts?


Check out my blog:

Guy Taylor said...

Thanks for reading, Nick.
There's a lot of different arrow woods available and most will make great arrows.
For milled shafts I like and currently use Sitka spruce. Port Orford cedar is an old standby but it can be chancy finding good quality cedar shafts these days. Surewood is making excellent shafts from Douglas fir and I'm looking forward to using more of them in the future.
For natural shafts, I feel bamboo is just about as good as it gets and there are all kinds of other materials like wild rose, dogwood, arrow weed, cane, etc.
I like your blog! I've seen one other person make a bow out of an old pair of snow skis. It's an interesting project and it looks like you did a great job on it.

Fat Guy said...

good video, guy. i look forward to seeing more videos from you! :-)


Conisbrough Castle Archers said...

Stumbled across your blog and you have done brilliant for your first video... Just need more to come in future!

Guy Taylor said...

Conisbrough, thanks very much for your comment.
I do have ideas for a couple more videos but I've been so busy making arrows lately that I haven't had the opportunity to pursue them. After the Chamberlin Ranch shoot I hope to have some breathing room and tuck into the videos again.

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Anonymous said...

Hi Guy
Would this method work on aluminium arrows? I realize your answer would only be an opinion.
Great Video John U.K.