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I just bought wood dowel (beech, to be precise) with a diameter of 8mm and length of 100 cm.

I am planning to use them as arrows but there is a problem: my archery skills can be terrible sometimes and I hit hard objects like tree, concrete etc. and I am worried that this will break my arrows one by one.

Can I harden the wood to reduce the chance of breakage with the following additional requirements?

  • It shouldn't be too expensive.

  • It shouldn't increase the diameter too much.

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  • If your arrows are made well (and this starts from carefully selecting which 'sticks' (dowel) you buy, so that the grain is very straight) there should not be a great chance of breaking them in normal use. Hitting trees should present little problem. But hitting a large rock or concrete is not normal use and you should do what you can to minimise (or eliminate) the chance of this. Anyway there is no way you can strengthen them without significantly changing their diameter and shooting characteristics (because they will become very much stiffer).
    – Graphus
    Mar 18 at 9:39
  • Unless you hit a hard surface (rock, metal) square on, I would think you're more likely to damage the tip than the shaft anyway. The metal point or blade edges will be more damaged by the glancing blows off of harder materials, while the arrow shaft will flex and wobble. The Mythbusters did an episode on Robin Hood splitting an arrow - go check that out for some awesome high-speed footage of arrows in flight (including how much they wobble) and to see just how hard it is to cause a wooden arrow shaft to split. I think that after watching that, you won't be so worried...
    – FreeMan
    Mar 18 at 12:07
  • This isn't really on-topic for WW SE. Fletching and so on may use wood, but the craft and techniques are very specific and their own thing. No doubt other SE sites like Outdoors or one of the sporting ones might have previous Q&A to search.
    – jdv
    Mar 19 at 13:23
  • Also, it ought to be pointed out that hafting depends on a lot of factors, few of which are considered when making dowels. Dowels are, generally, not created for even flex or straight grain along the haft. If the dowel happens to pass through an exposed layer of a growth ring, it'll just split in half when fired, never mind survive impact. Hafting and fletching are so specialized there isn't even that much woodworking involved in making them, other than the general spoke shave technique to size.
    – jdv
    Mar 27 at 13:55
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Breaking your arrows 1-by-1 is certainly better than breaking them all at once! :)

You could use aluminum arrows, but they might bend instead of breaking. Carbon fiber would shatter. Wood will break. AIUI, it's the nature of the beast, and part of the cost of "doing business" (or participating in the sport).

All sporting equipment will wear out and/or break requiring repair/replacement. Just think, you might miss the target completely and lose one in the woods somewhere - nothing you can do to prevent that one but get better as an archer. I presume that making your own arrows is going to be less expensive that purchasing manufactured ones, so consider these a lower cost opportunity to improve. You can get more expensive ones one you're hitting the target consistently enough to justify the expense.

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