Tonkin bamboo arrows

Status
Not open for further replies.

Berny

Member
Anybody tried these?
Got something to share?

I'm now on my second set, just acquired from Mark Hill last week.
They were reviewed on AIUK in Jan 2011, I commented then & again today.

Nobody else has commented - why not?
Am I the only person shooting these?
 

English Bowman

Well-known member
I don't think that they are allowed in Longbow or Traditional GNAS styles, so I won't be using them. The rules state that arrows should be made from wood, and since bamboo isn't wood the arrows aren't legal.
 

Dr.Bob

New member
Anybody tried these?
Got something to share?

I'm now on my second set, just acquired from Mark Hill last week.
They were reviewed on AIUK in Jan 2011, I commented then & again today.

Nobody else has commented - why not?
Am I the only person shooting these?
I like 'em, (mine were from the same chap btw) although being my first non-metal arrows and also the first arrows I've ever tried making, maybe I'm not all that qualified to review them ;)

I'm just finishing off my first set (using, not making) and down to my last 3 now :( time to buy more sticks. OK, grasses. And on that topic............ if they're not in the same GNAS class as woodies, what do GNAS say they are? Aluminium? Carbon fibre? Unobtainium?
 

blakey

Active member
I'm just finishing off my first set (using, not making) and down to my last 3 now :( time to buy more sticks. OK, grasses. And on that topic............ if they're not in the same GNAS class as woodies, what do GNAS say they are? Aluminium? Carbon fibre? Unobtainium?
I understood that GNAS allows Bamboo longbows? So why not Bamboo arrows? Seems to me they'd make a fantastic alternative to wood, being much stronger? Cheers
 

Berny

Member
I don't think that they are allowed in Longbow or Traditional GNAS styles, so I won't be using them. The rules state that arrows should be made from wood, and since bamboo isn't wood the arrows aren't legal.
Dunno about the GNAS view of wood v. grass, but as someone replied if bamboo is ok for bows .....

....but it doesn't matter to me anway, I shoot 'em for field at local NFAS courses or NFF
& noone's ever objected
....having said that, I haven't shot them in a competition, might try next year.

Brian (Kupris) if you're reading this, as a GNAS field man, what do you think?
 

CraigMBeckett

New member
Tonkin Bamboo makes good tough arrows. I buy my shafts from a bloke in China, he sells them in spined lots of 100, nodes ground down and varnished. Very competitive prices even with the postage. Look him up on Ebay, (search for bamboo arrow shafts). Postage from China only took a few days to get tp Australia, would not have thought it would take much longer to the UK.

Craig
 

Berny

Member
I believe this is the same guy my original set came from (via a chap in Germany)
& believe this is who our own Mark Hill gets his from.
I've seen his ads on ebay, but often he excludes the UK as destination for selling them,
dunno why - perhaps someone has an exclusive - Mark?
Esp. for example #65-70, #70-75, the spines I wanted to buy.
 

CraigMBeckett

New member
Berny,

perhaps someone has an exclusive - Mark?
You are probably correct in your assumption, Tiger, the Chinese Ebay Seller and owner of the bamboo factory does seek associates in other countries so your Local seller may be his associate, but looking at the prices the cost is about 2.5 times that of purchasing them from China.

Craig.
 

Marzi

New member
Would love to have a go at making a set of bamboo arrows to match my bamboo longbow.
Are they much more difficult to make than woodies? Can you use other points than insert? How do you nock them?

Marzi
 

Berny

Member
Making Tonkin Bamboo Arrows

Would love to have a go at making a set of bamboo arrows to match my bamboo longbow.
Are they much more difficult to make than woodies? Can you use other points than insert? How do you nock them?

Marzi
I'm not an expert, but .....

Take a look at the Archers Review article here.

....I've found it more-or-less as easy as woodies, although the main issue i've had is
tapering for the pile and/or nock.
My first batch were already self-nocked (just a smooth slot) which I just bound under
after 1 arrows split. The smooth slot nock I got used to, but if I tried to let someone have a go with them, most people would let the arrow drop off the string - so, yeah, against all the recommendations/norms I must have lightly gripped between my fingers.
I did put nocks on some to see if it made any real difference to my shooting - I didn't notice any.

Second set, primarily tapered for piles & nocks, primarily using a Woodchuck Powered Taper Tool , also reviewed by Archers Review ( i already had it & had't noticed this review at the time).
I have not glued inserts in any of my sets & just used ordinary taper piles glued with araldite blue.
I have tried 3 different bladed taper tools, but in general they tend to split the cane, although occasionally I've got a clean taper.

I only have 12 of set 2 left (24 originally), broke another 4 yesterday, 1 the pile sheared off, 2 snapped at nodes, 1 split from behind pile to first node.
These are spined at #65-70 & are 8-8.5mm.
I think these are too fragile for me and/or my bow & will look to try a higher spine & thicker shaft.

Set 1 were unspined, but I checked a sample & they averaged #90+.
They were 9-10mm diameter. I've still got a dozen of these & shot them also yesterday.
Didn' break any.

The next set (to be acquired very soon), will most probably try inserts (at least on the piles).

N.B. I primarily use them for field, as I kept breaking lots of woodies (my aim is getting better). I think breakages did reduce as they appeared to more robust.
 

Berny

Member
Plugs & nodes

Berny, did you plug the ends or get the neck of the pile up against a node when you were making them?
No to both so far.

Will try plugs on next set.

Have read some of the node theory (after the event), but I just randomly cut to length.
Also, perhaps contrary to other peoples recommendations I've put the piles on the narrower end (8mm) & nock on the wider end (8.5mm), although I made a sample of 3 the other way round - but haven't yet checked to see which are the latest breakages.
Will go check this afternoon.
 

Mark in England

New member
I feel there are real advantages in using the thicker end for the point and the narrower end for the nock. You gain the shooting advantage of a tapered arrow as well as having the CoG further forward, all of which make for an arrow that seems to straighten quicker and be more forgiving.

If cutting tapers for points and nocks glueing a wooden plug in is a good idea. It does help strengthen the shaft but the real advantage is that it give you greater glue area - it obviously impossible to taper and glue to the central hollow in the shaft! I have one of those blocks with guide channels and clamp it up against a small belt sander. Works a treat.

I find that it is easier to grind/sand the tapers. It gives a cleaner finish. A really sharp blade in a pencil sharpener type cutter can work but doesn't stay sharp for long. If not cutting really well they will tend to twist and split the boo rather than cut cleanly.

For self nocks I would advise binding behind the nock. A self nock will be strong if cut just behind a node so binding in that case is not absolutely necessary.

If using inserted points binding would definately help stop splitting. Binding is a common feature on far eastern bamboo arrows.

I really do like bamboo arrows and admit to a commercial interest - I sell bamboo shafts. I do that because I like them. It's been a bit of an uphill struggle over the past four years or so to get Chinese suppliers to understand the requirment, to explain why we need what we need, to improve quality etc, but I think we are there now and it is great to see them commercially available round the world now.

Mark Hill
 

Yew Selfbow

Active member
What is it about Tonkin (Arundinaria amabilis) Bamboo that makes it the cane of choice for arrows and bow backing as opposed to Borinda, Kuma or Timor Black.
 

Mark in England

New member
This is my understanding of why Tonkin is used rather than other bamboo species.

When I first started talking to Tiger about making bamboo shafts I wanted Chinese Arrow Bamboo (Fargesia spathace)which was used by the Chinese and is somewhat lighter. This is the bamboo famously eaten by the Panda. I did get two deliveries of this and it is good, but Tiger reported that there was too much difficulty cutting shafts of the right size, there is a major difference in strength between one or two years growth which you can't really tell until cut andsorted, too much wastafe due to insect damage.

Tonkin is easier to cut in the right size, it is very insect resistant (though I have had to reject a fair few insect damaged shafts myself), the wall thickness is greater and the power fibres are spread throughout the wall thickness and it is somewhat easier to straighten. All this means it can be harvested and made into arrows in bulk rather than a craft industry.

These same advantages are why Tonkin got a good reputation for making bamboo rods.

There certainly have been other bamboos used for arrows, notably the Korean Arrow Bamboo (Sasa coreana) and Japanese Arrow Bamboo (Pseudosasa japonica). I've seen some very delicate looking narrow Indian bamboo war arrows with small triangular bodkin points which seemed incredibly strong. So far I have had zero response from the parts of the Indian government who are alledgedly set up to promote commercial use of bamboo in India though. It is still used there for arrows, but I can't get hold of any :>(

I may be wrong but I am under the impression that many bow backings sold as Tonkin aren't actually Tonkin at all. I beleive it would be quite hard to find true Tonkin wide enough to make a bow backing. If there is a source of large Tonkin poles I'd love to know so I could try it as a bow building material myself.
 

N.Vodden

New member
Ironman
Hi everybody!

I have been shooting bamboo arrows since switching full time to the Korean traditional style and also with my other Asiatic bows, and I cannot recommend them highly enough. I bought a batch of them from Mark and I have also recently finished a set of Tiger shafts as well for my day to day arrows. Bamboo arrows are a joy to shoot, they feel and look fantastic, fly well and are very tough. I have placed several bad shots that would have decimated a wood and the bamboo has survived unscathed. Marks shafts were slightly heavier than the Tiger shafts I have now, but they are not exceptionally heavy. The set of 8 club arrows I am using now average 415 grains for a 34" arrow with only about 7 grains from the heaviest to the lightest.


Mark's advice on the build, using the naturally thinner end as the nock for the barrelled effect, and gluing in wooden dowels to reinforce the tapered areas is spot on. I used these methods in building mine and it works well. I have also self nocked several shafts successfully, and have obtained some sinew to reinforce these and fletch them with pheasant feathers, for some truly traditional looking arrows.

I have just uploaded the buildalong photos I took of them for a friend on photobucket and you can see the album here Bamboo Arrows pictures by Igneas - Photobucket if anybody is interested?

Cheers :)
V
 

Berny

Member
Pile & nock positioning

Whilst with a 33" shaft the options are limited, where would be the best place to put the pile (and/or nock)?
- up against a node?
- where there's enough shaft to use an insert without drilling through the node?
- as far from a node as possible?
 

Yew Selfbow

Active member
This is my understanding of why Tonkin is used rather than other bamboo species.

When I first started talking to Tiger about making bamboo shafts I wanted Chinese Arrow Bamboo (Fargesia spathace)which was used by the Chinese and is somewhat lighter. This is the bamboo famously eaten by the Panda. I did get two deliveries of this and it is good, but Tiger reported that there was too much difficulty cutting shafts of the right size, there is a major difference in strength between one or two years growth which you can't really tell until cut andsorted, too much wastafe due to insect damage.

Tonkin is easier to cut in the right size, it is very insect resistant (though I have had to reject a fair few insect damaged shafts myself), the wall thickness is greater and the power fibres are spread throughout the wall thickness and it is somewhat easier to straighten. All this means it can be harvested and made into arrows in bulk rather than a craft industry.

These same advantages are why Tonkin got a good reputation for making bamboo rods.

There certainly have been other bamboos used for arrows, notably the Korean Arrow Bamboo (Sasa coreana) and Japanese Arrow Bamboo (Pseudosasa japonica). I've seen some very delicate looking narrow Indian bamboo war arrows with small triangular bodkin points which seemed incredibly strong. So far I have had zero response from the parts of the Indian government who are alledgedly set up to promote commercial use of bamboo in India though. It is still used there for arrows, but I can't get hold of any :>(

I may be wrong but I am under the impression that many bow backings sold as Tonkin aren't actually Tonkin at all. I beleive it would be quite hard to find true Tonkin wide enough to make a bow backing. If there is a source of large Tonkin poles I'd love to know so I could try it as a bow building material myself.
Thanks for the reply Mark ... are you supplying tonkin shafts? if you are, I wouldn't mind buying a few
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top