A Unique Splice of an Arrow Foot

I'm appending two images:

One is of the shaft of an arrow that shows a short segment only because I used a scanner to capture the fine detail of the very tip of this length of the body of the arrow.

Currently, I've only guessed this end of the shaft of the arrow was created with some form of end-mill device or primitive 'router' kind of equipment on square stock. When this arrow was created, there wasn't anything like the modern 'router'.

To see the image of this shaft-end, go to:




The images are of the two pieces of an old and decrepit arrow that was pulled apart in order to analyse the 'splice'.

The 'foot' image shows a rough and slightly decomposed remnant of a dark brown hardwood (undetermined species) whose 'splines' tapered to less than a threads-breadth and perfectly merged with the shaft.

Various signs on the shaft seem to suggest that the arrow-body was milled by means of a rotating cutter but since it was made in about 1930, it was probably not what we'd call 'router' typical 'router work'. More likely a drill-press using an end-milling bit in conjunction with a jig that allowed the stock to be moved into the cutting blade and gradually move away from the cutting blade.

Similarly, the 'foot' or hardwood tip probably was cut into squared stock with 'vee cuts' with a very fine rip-saw. They'd be cut 'cross-ways' at angles that would correspond with the blade-profile used on the shaft.

I can only suppose that the final merging of these two pieces was secured with hide-glue and the entire compound article was then set into a lathe for rounding.

I'm not at all certain about any of this speculation, but can't find anything that talks about this kind of arrow on the internet.

My grandfather was an avid archer. He attained many cups in the art. He was a world-flight champion, (466 feet) and is mentioned by Time Magazine:


He was a neurosurgeon and GP, and inventor. Still, I'm not at all sure about his role in the development of this 'footing' of an arrow. I wouldn't be too surprised if he did.

I'm aware of putting a shaft into a kind of splice of hardwood that is simply a 'split', but the merger I'm looking at and attempting to show here seems to show a much more sophisticated kind of wood-work.

I'm trying to find out what the roots of this method were.

What is perhaps equally perplexing about this is, in the so-called vastness of the internet, that finding relevant references to this art are yet spare; and despite the claims of search engines of hundreds of thousands of pages answering search terms, page after page is only a redundancy with few new facts.

I'm hoping people with some first-hand experience with this art will read this and perhaps contact me with some insights derived from first-hand experience or actual historical knowledge.

I'm currently attempting to reconstruct such an arrow derivatively.

I will post other examples of arrows and bows constructed by my grandfather or his peers in the near future.

Interested parties can contact me at:


Roger Scott Cathey,

Portland, Oregon



By: Roger Scott Cathey

About the Author:

A science writer mostly, but also
write stories and general interest