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?
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 :^)
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 :^)
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
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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 :)
"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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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