General Information - (Page Still In Progress)

Archer's Paradox

Most archers have heard this expression, but what exactly is it and why is it important? 

When you release the string the energy is transferred into the arrow. As the energy travels down the arrow it comes up against the heavy point which tries to stop the energy moving forward. When this happens the arrow bends then starts to straighten but overcompensates so bends the other way, then straightens and so on till it evens out and flies straight to your target. 

It is important because it affects the choice of spine for your arrow. Too strong a spine and the arrow will hit the bow as it bends and go to the left, too weak a spine and the arrow will veer off to the right. 

I have put a link to a clip on YouTube which shows the Archer's Paradox in slow motion it shows you much better than I can explain. 

Arrow Spine and Shaft Size

The spine is the stiffness of the arrow. The spine is dictated by several things.


Firstly, the wood that is used and how that wood was grown. The denser the annual rings, the heavier the wood and therefore the higher poundage the spine. You may find two arrows which look identical, made from the same wood, but one could have a spine of 30lb and the other 20lb. 


The longer an arrow the more flexible it will be, but the longer it is the heavier it is.


The heavier the point the more flexible the arrow will behave. 


Light poundage bows will need arrows that are quite flexible. So for a bow of 35lb you would probably want arrows with a 25lb spine. I usually go 10lb lighter for the arrow compared to the bow weight. 


Arrow thickness will also have an effect on the spine. The thicker the arrow the higher the spine poundage. A small diameter arrow of 9/32 would be suitable for a bow of up to about 30 - 35lb. 5/16 and 11/32 are the most common shafts for field or target archers. 

Parallel Arrows

Parallel arrows are the most commonplace arrows. They are a regular diameter from top to bottom. 

Tapered Arrows

These arrows are greater in diameter at the pile end and taper gradually down to the fletchings, or indeed the other way around! Archers using a light bow may benefit from tapered arrows due to their lighter weight. Some people think that the tapered arrow bends round the handle better and also straighten quicker. 

Barrelled Arrows

These arrows are tapered from the centre to both ends. This arrow does straighten out very quickly but appears to have a greater wobble upon release. This arrow would be better for short distances (up to 25 yards) rather than the longer ones. 

Footed Arrows

Footed arrows are made up of two different types of wood. The foot is usually a heavier hard wood. It forms about 1/4 of the lower part of the arrow and is spliced together with the main body. 

Footed arrows are very strong and will withstand more abuse than single timber arrows. 

Footed with Mahogany
Footed with Mahogany