Recovering from near bronchial pneumonia takes a toll on the healthiest of people. It zaps a person’s energy and drains motivation to do anything constructive. After a week of sitting in my chair like a zombie I decided I had to force myself to do something constructive. Looking out the window at the winter landscape reminded me I needed to resist the urge to go out in the cold winter air where I would be sure to relapse. I needed a mindless project that required little consideration yet occupy me enough to keep me inside by the fire. That’s when I decided to construct a set of reproduction Plains Indian arrows. Sounds crazy I know, but our home is decorated in a western motif and it needed a set of framed Indian arrows. Besides, it was all I had the energy to do at the time.
Years ago I used to enjoy spending winter evenings sitting in front of our old open fireplace chipping obsidian into arrowheads. It was a hobby I enjoyed to pass the time and after a while I became fairly proficient at it. I had constructed a bow out of a branch of seasoned Mountain Mahogany and backed it with artificial sinew for both spring and strength. I back twisted hair from my horses tail into a very strong cord to be used as a bow string. It worked well enough and after some practice I became fairly proficient at constructing arrows accurate enough to shoot an occasional rabbits or other small game for the dinner table. I wouldn’t have wanted to rely on my skills for survival, but I thought if the chips where down and all else failed I could use what I had learned to provide the basic needs for my family. Learning survival skills such as identifying edible plants, constructing small animal snares and starting fires without modern convinces fascinated my innovative nature.
Remembering these old skills that once brought me so much enjoyment I decided to see if I could remember how I constructed arrows out of natural materials. In those days I collected such things as flint or obsidian, animal sinew, bird feathers (usually from road kills) and willow or Rosehip shoots for the shafts. I even rendered down plants to produce die colors to stripe the shafts. Not having immediate access to most of those things I used what I could find around the place. I used a set of reproduction Flint points that I had bought a few years before. For sinew I resorted to frays of a nylon cord and when all was said and done I was satisfied with the authentic look of the final product. Nancy wanted to put me in business selling my arrows on the internet of which I didn’t have the time, but after seeing the price of arrows in Indian craft stores in Scottsdale, Arizona a few weeks ago I thought it would in fact be a good way for someone living on the land to pick up a little extra money.