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The measure of stiffness in an arrow. Of less importance with 'centre-shot' bows (ie those firing through the centre of the handle), but of major importance with arrows fired past the side of the bow. Although originally made of a single length of wood, many archers used to splice different types of wood together to enhance the properties of the arrow. Hardw oods were often spliced into the head and/or heel (fletching end) of the arrow and softwoods used for the central shaft. Such spliced hardwoods are known as a footing. The softwoods allow the arrow to retain its flex and lowers the weight of the arrow. The hardwoods in the head and/or heel allow these areas of the arrow to withstand the major stresses in the arrow namely the splitting stress of the string thrusting against the centre of the arrow (if separate nocks aren't used), pushing it forward and pos sibly splitting the wood, and also the compressive stress of the arrow hitting it's target. \par Often nocks would be reinforced by cutting a slot at right angles to the nock and inserting a short section of horn or bone. Hence the stress of the released string is spread across the horn and thence across the whole end of the shaft, rather than being concentrated in the grain directly below the string.
Arrow Straightening
Wooden arrows will often warp slightly in normal usage. This warpage can be removed by gentle heating (usually with steam from a kettle or similar) and carefully bent back to straightness. Fastening the arrow to a straightedge during the process will help to ensure strai ghtness. The ancients used to do this by heating over a fire and then sliding the arrow backwards and forward through a small hole in a piece of bone. Arrow flights were nearly always made of feather. The stronger and heavier the feather, the better for a flight. Goose and turkey feathers were often used, although many of the middle eastern archers preferred hawk or eagle feathers when available. And wing (pinon) feathers are always preferred over any others although Turkish arrow flights were also made from tail feathers.
Archer's Paradox
This is not as significant with modern bows, many of which have a shaped handle allowing the arrow to pass through the middle of the handle. It is much more significant in older bows where the arrow is fired past the side of the handle, yet the string actually moves towards the centre of the bow, rather than the edge where the arrow rests. The arrow still manages to fly to the point of aim. In actual fact, the string moves directly towards the centre of the bow which causes the arrow to curve around the side of the bow and continues to curve and oscillate from side to side in flight. This results in a wavering arrow flight which smooths out as the a rrow travels until this sideways movement has been fully damped out. During this flight, the arrow is actually flexing. Because of this, it is most important to get the correct amount of stiffness (spine) in arrows intended for a non centre-shot bow. If the spine is too high, the arrows cannot flex correctly in flight and hence are less able to correct for the travel of the string. If they are too low, then the arrow is less able to dampen the flex in flight, and hence the flexing continues too long. The arrow 'spine' must be closely matched to the bow weight, as a heavier bow will induce greater flexion. The shaft of the arrow needs to be thicker (to take the extra stresses) and also stiffer (to dampen out the added flex) for a heavy bow, and thinner and lighter for a light bow.
Primitive man started with a arrowhead that was hardened by burning the end of the shaft slightly, then sharpened by shaping the burned end. A 2- blade broadhead (2 cutting edges) was used as the primary hunting and war arrowhead for centuries, either cast from bronze, chipped from flint, or forged in iron/steel. The arrival of plate steel armour meant that the arrowhead had to change to allow it to punch through rather than cut, so bodkin points were developed in a variety of sizes and shapes. They tend to be very narrow and longer than a hunting broadhead, with little or no cutting edges, in a square or triangular cross-sectional shape to enable it to place the maximum stress on the smallest area of steel plate armour as possible, so as to penetrate as deeply as possible. Japanese and Chinese arrowheads, on the other hand, have a wide assortment of warheads, each of which have specific effects and intended uses. Amongst these are specially designed heads with hollow channels through them to enable the air to flow through them, giving different sounds in flight. These can be used to scare men and horses in combat. They also have armour piercing alternatives etc. Turkish flight arrows often had horn tips, thus reducing weight as much as possible.
Simple leather forearm-guards (bracers) with leather thongs were most common, although the more advanced craft of archery amongst some of the middle eastern groups used to make bracers from thin strips of wood, bone or ivory and held in or glued to a leather or cloth body and strapped on. Formal English archers were also kn own to have worn a large glove which extended as far as the elbow, and had pockets fitted for spare strings, wax etc.

Offered by Brian.