Traditional Archery Discussions on the Leatherwall


Making a primitive metal broadhead?

Messages posted to thread:
N. Y. Yankee 20-Mar-17
bigdog21 20-Mar-17
bigdog21 20-Mar-17
Jimmy Blackmon 20-Mar-17
Chief RID 20-Mar-17
Runner 20-Mar-17
Steve Milbocker 20-Mar-17
Steve Milbocker 20-Mar-17
Osr144 20-Mar-17
George Tsoukalas 20-Mar-17
Osr144 20-Mar-17
Bob Rowlands 20-Mar-17
StikBow 20-Mar-17
Sawtooth 21-Mar-17
2 bears 21-Mar-17
Bowlim 21-Mar-17
Longcruise 21-Mar-17
Jeff Durnell 21-Mar-17
Jeff Durnell 21-Mar-17
Jon Stewart 21-Mar-17
shatto54 21-Mar-17
Bob Rowlands 21-Mar-17
Jeff Durnell 21-Mar-17
Jeff Durnell 21-Mar-17
2 bears 21-Mar-17
Jeff Durnell 22-Mar-17
Longcruise 22-Mar-17
twistedlimbs 22-Mar-17
Bob Rowlands 22-Mar-17
2 bears 22-Mar-17
Bob Rowlands 22-Mar-17
Longcruise 22-Mar-17
Runner 22-Mar-17
Hellbender 22-Mar-17
Bowlim 22-Mar-17
Longcruise 22-Mar-17
Runner 22-Mar-17
Longcruise 22-Mar-17
Longtrad 23-Mar-17
Longtrad 23-Mar-17
Steve Milbocker 23-Mar-17
sir misalots 23-Mar-17
N. Y. Yankee 23-Mar-17
Longcruise 23-Mar-17
Osr144 23-Mar-17
twistedlimbs 23-Mar-17
Jeff Durnell 23-Mar-17
Osr144 23-Mar-17
Matt Ewing 23-Mar-17
Longcruise 23-Mar-17
Osr144 23-Mar-17
Osr144 23-Mar-17
Osr144 23-Mar-17
fdp 23-Mar-17
Slayer NE 23-Mar-17
Osr144 24-Mar-17
From: N. Y. Yankee
Date: 20-Mar-17




I have planning to make a few hand made broadheads out of thin flat steel and using thread or sinew to tie them into a slotted shaft. Wondering if you have done this and what is the best way to design the head to make it easy to tie in?

From: bigdog21
Date: 20-Mar-17




http://www Michigan-sportsman.com/forum/threads/homemade-broadhead-project.236472

From: bigdog21
Date: 20-Mar-17

bigdog21's embedded Photo



cutting them out of circular saw blades make good steel broadheads

From: Jimmy Blackmon
Date: 20-Mar-17




Pappy hunts with them all the time. He's a wealth of knowledge on every style/type.

From: Chief RID
Date: 20-Mar-17




The Bowyers Craft by Jay Massey has directions for one from banding steel I think.

From: Runner
Date: 20-Mar-17




You can also make tanged Asian style heads from concrete nails. Heat them up and pound half the length flat on an anvil.

From: Steve Milbocker
Date: 20-Mar-17




Go to Good Will and buy some spoons. Pound them out,shape them with a file and sharpen them up.Leave a little bit of the handle for the tang.

From: Steve Milbocker
Date: 20-Mar-17

Steve Milbocker's embedded Photo



There's good videos on YouTube. I got this pic off there.

From: Osr144
Date: 20-Mar-17

Osr144's embedded Photo



This is all I use these days.Get some high carbon steel sheet .Heat it up and aneal it by heating it up and let it cool. Cut your profile out and shape it with a file /Grinder or what ever you like. Polish it reasonably clean and reheat it till you can see the color change to a straw color and quench it in oil .This may differ with different carbon contents in steel.I find straw color works best for me.This case hardens it to about 50 to 55 ish Rockwell.If it feels similar to a bear razor head to file than its about right.Use a straight tang shaped to match the shaft diameter it can be bound to the shaft with sinew or like I use fine copper wire. A few glass ones in there too.All binding is done with copper wire or artificial sinew. OSR

From: George Tsoukalas
Date: 20-Mar-17




I have and there are directions on my site. Jawge

http://traditionalarchery101.com

From: Osr144
Date: 20-Mar-17




George has a nice simple design well worth looking at.My design is a tanged type.I like Georges style and my next batch will be wearing Georges style.I reckon Georges style would be so easy to shape too VS a tang style.I am fond of bone and knapped heads too. OSR

From: Bob Rowlands
Date: 20-Mar-17




Trade points. I have made seven total, from skilsaw blades. They are very good heads if I say so myself. Mine look like those on the left in OSRs photo. The back edge on mine is perpendiculatr to the cutting edge. Technically there is a CO state law on that.

From: StikBow
Date: 20-Mar-17




I have used old car keys and spoons. Pound the spoon flat and shape them. The keys take a great single bevel and flat tear up rabbits. I got Japanese car keys from a rent a car place. The Nissan keys were wide and lent themselves to shaping and weight balancing. Aluminum arrow shaft for footing and strength. Cheap easy way to get started.

From: Sawtooth
Date: 21-Mar-17




I'd like to see one of those car key broadheads. That's cool.

From: 2 bears
Date: 21-Mar-17




Fascinating. Are spoons actually hard enough for hunting? That sounds easier than cutting out steel. I have messed with bone and glass for a novelty but would not hunt with them. Thanks.>>>-----> Ken

From: Bowlim
Date: 21-Mar-17




You can get semi hard steel to start with, a lot 4130 is available that way.

Another option if you either want to forge them or start out annealed is to get something like 1020 or better still 1040 if you can find it. In theory this stuff can't be hardened, but you actually can harden it in super quench, and it is a single step process, and super quench is something you can make out of household materials, is not flammable, or all that messy in a spill. It will not harden like a fine knife, but if broadheads were hardened that hard, they would not be file sharpenable.

From: Longcruise
Date: 21-Mar-17




1074 and 1080 are readily available in annealed state. I don't make broadheads (yet) but use carbon steel for non archery projects. Why not get the good stuff?

From: Jeff Durnell Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 21-Mar-17

Jeff Durnell's embedded Photo



Trade heads aye. Poundin' bolts works. These 125 grain broadheads were 7/16" grade 5 bolts. Heat and beat. It work hardens them just so, and no further normalizing or hardening needs done. They're tough as hell. Tang same width as arrow dia., multiflora rose in this case, with holes drilled in them to aid with a sinew wrap. They take and keep a shaving edge about like a Zwicky does, look cool, require work.... and kill stuff dead... good head :^)

From: Jeff Durnell Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 21-Mar-17

Jeff Durnell's embedded Photo



From: Jon Stewart
Date: 21-Mar-17




Nice looking old school head Jeff Durnell. Lot of hard work in them.

From: shatto54
Date: 21-Mar-17




X2 Jon, I love the look of those heads. Jeff do you keep shaping at a certain thickness to get the consistant weight. Or just heat and beat until you're close. They look so symmetrical. Great work

From: Bob Rowlands
Date: 21-Mar-17




Jeff the handle on that bow is killer. Nice heads as well.

From: Jeff Durnell Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 21-Mar-17




It's weird, can't yet explain it. I keep heating and beating and it all goes pretty easy and straightforward, flattening a bolt, the bolt shank getting thinner and wider as I work it, but then after some time, the 'thicknessing' seems to 'stall out' at just the 'right time'. Like, when it gets to this point, it seems to substantially 'resist the hammer' for lack of a better term, so I stop trying to fight it, and begin to grind/shape, maybe a fraction wide to allow for correction, but it's usually unnecessary and very close to done at that point, and when I measure after shaping, it's thickness is invariably .045 - .050", with a max width of 1 1/8", and it's weight is within a grain or two of 125 grains.

As long as it holds out, I'd rather be lucky than good :^)

From: Jeff Durnell Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 21-Mar-17




Thanks fellas.

Bob, that's 'Lioness', the alpha huntress that's been my #1 hunting and shooting companion since '04. Those broadheads are her canines :^)

From: 2 bears
Date: 21-Mar-17




Jeff those are great looking heads. Are you forging the threaded part? Do you cut the head off? What length do you start with? Do you heat with a torch or charcoal? I would love to try that if you give me a good starting place.Thanks.>>>------> Ken

From: Jeff Durnell Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 22-Mar-17




I cut the head off and used that end. Use any length bolt that offers enough smooth shank length. I used a torch on those particular heads.

From: Longcruise
Date: 22-Mar-17




Some of the heat treating regimens in this topic are suspect?¿?¿

From: twistedlimbs
Date: 22-Mar-17




Heavy gauge Spoons hammered flat have taken down several deer/pigs for me. They take a hair shaving edge with just a file and are plenty up to the task.

From: Bob Rowlands
Date: 22-Mar-17




Good stuff Jeff. Thanks.

From: 2 bears
Date: 22-Mar-17




Jeff thanks so much. So you cut the head off and hammer the un- threaded portion so length don't matter.Right? Ending up at 125 grains is what stumped me I got it now. >>>-----> Ken

From: Bob Rowlands
Date: 22-Mar-17




Thanks Ryan.

From: Longcruise
Date: 22-Mar-17




I'm not trying to belittle or denigrate anybodys workmanship or end results or judge the value of any end product. Just saying that the heat treating described in some of this topic is not getting to the best end result possible.

From: Runner
Date: 22-Mar-17




We"re not making a Katana here. ;)

From: Hellbender
Date: 22-Mar-17




Old carpenter saws from flea markets and thrift stores are another good source of steel. You can pick one up for $5 or less, and that will yield dozens of points. A Dremel cutoff wheel is a pretty efficient way to rough them out, then clean them up with a file. I hafted mine with JB weld and bound them with braided fishing line soaked in CA glue. Buried a few into trees and such without even splitting the shaft.

From: Bowlim
Date: 22-Mar-17




"1074 and 1080 are readily available in annealed state. I don't make broadheads (yet) but use carbon steel for non archery projects. Why not get the good stuff?"

Well obviously cost. But anyway, given the profile of broadheads, high impact resistance, and low hardness, seeming to be preferred, jamming unnecessary carbon into the steel just gets you more heat treating steps, which in this profile of material is not much of a step forward. Broadheads aren't knives, for instance. It isn't unusual for them to go through forming, welding, brazing, heat treatment. For such a "simple" product, no need to complicate matters.

From: Longcruise
Date: 22-Mar-17




Bars of any of the 1040 through 1095 are going to run you about $10 and each will make from 12 to 16 broadheads depending on what your design is. It's already annealed so that's one less step plus it makes it easy to work in the initial cutting stage.

If the workman has the heat source to anneal, say, his saw blade, then he also has the heat source to harden it. It can be properly tempered in any kitchen range oven.

And, I have to agree that old saw blades, if they are thick enough are excellent sources of steel but they are tempered to behave as a spring which is workable for a broadhead but annealing it then hardening and tempering to a more suitable hardness would be better.

When I buy broadheads I want well made and propery heat treated heads. Why would that suddenly be unimportant with a homemade head?

Like I said, I'm not trying to denigrate anybodys process or end result. I HAVEN'T MADE ANY other than a few for the kids to use bunny busting. I have worked with heat treating steel for other projects not archery related. Just explaining my thoughts on it.

From: Runner
Date: 22-Mar-17




It's not unimportant . The title of the thread hints at a range of tolerance though.

From: Longcruise
Date: 22-Mar-17




Runner, you are correct. The topic is about "primitive" and what I'm suggesting while not modern, it's not primitive in the historical premise of archery.

Any post Paleo NA hunter would have been pounding out spoons.

From: Longtrad
Date: 23-Mar-17




I dont think the paleo even used bows... I doubt they were into smashing their spoons either

From: Longtrad
Date: 23-Mar-17




I dont think the paleo even used bows... I doubt they were into smashing their spoons either

From: Steve Milbocker
Date: 23-Mar-17




I don't know why some are thinking that you have to have special heat treated metal. If you get a decent edge on it it will do the job. It only has to cut once to kill game. I don't think convicts worry too much if their shanks are 50 Rockwell or not :)

From: sir misalots
Date: 23-Mar-17




nice video ryan They look like the would do the job for sure

From: N. Y. Yankee
Date: 23-Mar-17




Thanks to all for the good info and pics so far!

From: Longcruise
Date: 23-Mar-17




"I dont think the paleo even used bows... I doubt they were into smashing their spoons either"

The comment was "post Paleo" native Americans. Which was pretty much right up to the arrival of metals from Europe. There was use of metals by copper country Indians who beat copper into tools but probably not into arrow points.

From: Osr144
Date: 23-Mar-17




Steve ya know what soft steel does if it hits bone ,it will bend and curl up.If you can heat treat steel why wouldn't you do it ?Sure primative style but I heat treat my heads because I can.You don't need to be making a katana grade steel but you don't need to make a crappy soft steel arrow head either.Trade points recovered from the battle of little big horn show that the quality of steel used varied from soft to brittle.Trade points were a cheap item sometimes made from barrell hoops and other scrap steel.I will one day forge me some Damascus steel heads.There other possibilities too. Steel cables and chainsaw chains make interesting steel cutting implements too.I actually hunt with mine and they seem to perform satasfactory on game.I was curious as to how good my tempering was and since I had access to a Rockwell punch machine I tested my points.i have also made socketed medieval points too.I tried bone and stone / glass points as well.Trade points are just an easy way for folk to try primative points.Its a great start.Flint knapping comes later for lots of folks. OSR

From: twistedlimbs
Date: 23-Mar-17

twistedlimbs's embedded Photo



Just throwing this out there... I've killed 8 big game animals with spoon points that were shave sharp. Never a single failure. They are plenty tough. Yes, spoons do not fall into a historical category, but primitive does not mean paleo (which was pre-bow, and pre-heat treated stone btw), archaic, or any other time period. That being said, I am personally more into stone points, which fwiw, spoon points are a lot tougher than stone, yet I continue to kill deer with stone points. I tend to avoid this site more and more due to the onslaught of naysayers denouncing that which they have not done. If I listened to everything people on this site told me was no good over the last decade, I'd not have 2 dozen primitive kills under my belt. So 8-0 on spoon points gets the big thumbs up from me... and it is within the spirit of primitive archery.

From: Jeff Durnell Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 23-Mar-17




Same goes for me. Just quietly walking the walk.

From: Osr144
Date: 23-Mar-17

Osr144's embedded Photo



I think I have killed about 50 odd head of game with trade points and a few with glass and bone points.Bone I restrict to smaller game as they are not the most effective on pigs or goats.Spoons got me plenty of rabbits and foxes when I was a kid too.I see no reason to use spoons these days but they are a great source not to be ignored.I have used them in the past but I get too lazy to go to the thrift shops and get some.I do collect lots of glass and recently porcelain plates for knapping.The most memorable experience is a kill with a knapped point.Stainless spoons of reasonable quality don't necessarily need heat treating.They are deceptively tough.Inuits make copper heads on walrus or bone fore shafts. OSR

From: Matt Ewing
Date: 23-Mar-17




Hey dont take it out on all of us. So please share your knowledge!

From: Longcruise
Date: 23-Mar-17




Ryan, not seeing anybody attack you. Hope you didn't mean me!

FWIW, once again, I said "post" paleo. That covers from about 10,000 years ago up to the present. I think there is evidence of bows prior to the end of the paleo period. Personally I view the end of the paleo period as being somewhat varied geographically. Technically it means stone age which the NA were in when Columbus got here or the Vikings whichever.

That spoon in the vertebrae is very impressive!

From: Osr144
Date: 23-Mar-17

Osr144's embedded Photo



Here is some real deal Indian trade points.big horn ones OSR

From: Osr144
Date: 23-Mar-17

Osr144's embedded Photo



Do ya think a bit of heat treatment is warranted here OSR

From: Osr144
Date: 23-Mar-17

Osr144's embedded Photo



Period correct styles vary a lot OSR

From: fdp
Date: 23-Mar-17




LOTS of really good work guys. Thanks for sharing.

From: Slayer NE Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 23-Mar-17




it would seem the whole idea of making your own broadheads is to make a product superior to those that can be store bought. The reason most bought heads aren't properly hardened and tempered is that most people can't sharpen them. There is NO reason not to make a proper hard broadhead, and it's not magic. I did an article for Traditional Bowhunter's online magazine recently on the process. Here's the technique in a nutshell - PM me if you want more details. I've also forged some great broadheads from various high carbon steels.

While a broadhead can be made from any steel, including old spoons, why not make a great broadhead? If you're going to all of the trouble, and plan on killing a living, breathing animal with it, it's only responsible to make the best quality head possible.

Start with a high carbon, not stainless steel - saw blade, file, etc. Heat it to cherry red, bury in warm sand or ashes and let cool slowly. After it is cooled, cut it to shape with a saw or 4" grinder. Once cut to shape and the edges shaped to about the thickness of a dime, again heat the steel cherry red and quench in cooking oil - used deep fryer oil works well and is safer than old motor oil. The broadhead will now be as hard as possible, but probably brittle. Polish the steel slightly and carefully heat it - a propane torch works well, and heat from the shank end. You will see the "temper colors" develop and travel across the head. You want to heat slowly and carefully until the tip is just getting straw colored, and the back of the head is blue - immediately quench again. This takes a little practice and if you mess us, just re-harden. Now, carefully grind your edges and finish sharpening. Be careful you don't heat any of the cutting edge past blue or it may be too soft and easily nick on contact with bone.

From: Osr144
Date: 24-Mar-17

Osr144's embedded Photo



I make my trade points to save money.It is not unusual for me to take up to 100 arrows on a 2 week pig and goat hunt.No I don't think any trade style point is better than a socketed modern 2 blade .I can make them and get a good temper and they work fine.They are quick and easy to make but not so much too mount.I bind my heads with copper wire and pope and young made small broadheads that way too.OSR





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