Arrow shafts were made out of shoots, such as dogwood, wild rose, ash, birch, chokecherry, and black locust. Reeds from common reed grass were also used with some frequency throughout North America with the exception of the Plains where reeds did not grow. Shoots were shaved, sanded, or heat and pressure straightened.
Using Dogwood tree shoots, it took several days to shape the wood to be perfectly straight. Choosing the right feathers was an important part of arrow as well and both two and three feather arrows were made.
The chief skill of Native American men lay in making weapons. They whittled bows from tough wood or bone and shaped them into a curve. They made arrows with a sharp stone head and lashed feathers to the arrow to make it fly straight.
However, broadly speaking, a native bow would max out at 50lb draw weight and have a maximum range of 150 yards (perhaps stretched to 200 yards for a good archer with an excellent bow).
The weapons used by the Comanche tribe included bows and arrows, stone ball clubs, jaw bone clubs, hatchet axe, spears, lances and knives. War Shields were used on horseback as a means of defence.
They were generally around three and a half feet long. Such bows were very strong and was a favorite for use in war. The bow wood was picked and carefully selected because of it’s straight wood grain. In the old days, the Comanche bow was smoothed with sandstone and was greased with beef fat.
Size and Shape Matters. Myth Number 2: The smallest arrowheads were used for killing birds.
For the bow string, Cherokee men once used a strip of bear intestine stretched and twisted into a string. It was not the only thing used, but to them it was the best material, Grayson said. The skin of an older fox squirrel can also be used to make a string, as well as groundhog skin.
Arrowheads may be attached to the shaft with a cap, a socket tang, or inserted into a split in the shaft and held by a process called hafting. Points attached with caps are simply slid snugly over the end of the shaft, or may be held on with hot glue. In medieval Europe, arrowheads were adhered with hide glue.
Arrow shafts from the high and late Middle Ages were made from wooden boards. A special jig was used to turn staves of square cross section into rounded shafts with a selection of planes. Sandstone and fish skin smoothened the surface, the nock slit was cut into the wood with a small saw.
People in Africa invented hunting bows and arrows, probably about 64,000 years ago. Some of the earliest arrowheads come from South Africa.
Most indigenous forest peoples use simple self-bows constructed of local materials such as palmwood, beechwood and letterwood. The extremely long arrows commonly used – up to 2.5 metres – are tipped with bamboo or wooden heads, depending on their use, and are too long to make quivers practical.