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  • Writer's pictureWill

Fully authentic arrows in progress

The start of a very special set of arrows for a friend in Italy. These will be as authentic as I can make them, from materials used to methods.

The shafts are Populus nigra (black poplar) - this is the exact timber species that the majority of the Mary Rose arrows were made from. They are hand planed from square blanks down to the same dimensions as the Mary Rose arrow MR82A1892/9 and then rough sanded using coarse paper.

The nocks on these arrows are far, far smaller than most people realise - around 7mm in diameter.

Then the beautiful blonde cow horn is prepared by cutting a ring from the horn, splitting, heating (in hot water) and pressing flat, before strips are cut and either split down their thickness or simply pared down with a knife into incredibly thin inserts. They're about the same thickness as printer card!

The arrowshafts are very carefully split (no sawing here!) with a sharp knife and the horn inserts fitted. As the photo shows, the fit should be so tight that without any glue the shaft is closed up around the insert.

Isinglass (fish glue) is used to secure the inserts, as I find it slightly more durable than hide glue.

When complete, the shafts are sanded or scraped until smooth. Check out that honey glow when the light finds it way through the horn!

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