Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Home Made Arrow Dipper

DipperFor those of you who have read my shoot report entries you will know that I have been having a fairly disastrous time with broken arrows and hence needed to make some quickly. I have been considering dipping my arrows as an alternative method of varnishing my field arrows. Given that their are few archery shops in the UK that seem to sell these and given the obviously simple concept I decided to have a go at building one from the odds and ends in my garage. Given that I don't tend to throw anything away, much to my wife's consternation, I have a variety or weird and wonderful things in the garage and any time I can make something from them is proof that my "it will come in useful at some point" argument is correct.


To build the Arrow dipper below I used the following items:

  1. 3.6m of 19mm x 22mm planed pine.
  2. 1m 32mm plastic pipe.
  3. 18 round magnets (10mm with holes in the centre). These can be found at e-magnets.
  4. Glue,  nails and clips.
I decided to use the round magnet (with a hole in the middle) because I've been using steel modkins on my field arrows and decided this would be a good way to hang then to dry. As an alternative you could simply take an old bow string and hang the drying arrows from that.

Building the Arrow Dipper

Putting the dipper together is fairly simple

  1. Cut wood into the following:
    1. 2 x 1m pieces.
    2. 2 x 60cm pieces.
    3. 2 x 64cm pieces.
  2. Drill 18 evenly spaced 10mm holes in one of the 60cm pieces of wood. This will be our top piece of the frame.
  3. Glue magnets into the holes.
  4. Now simply nail & glue the two 1m sections of wood to the top piece (in my image below you will notice that I have two side pieces and that's simply because I lengthened my original build to better accommodate my arrows) and repeat the process for the other 60cm piece at the bottom.
  5. To provide a simple drip tray I nailed one of the 64cm pieces of wood to either side of the base. In addition this provided extra rigidity to the structure.
  6. Screw a couple of clips (32mm) to one side.
  7. Take a 1m section of 32mm pipe and clip it onto the frame using the previously attached clips.
  8. Seal the base (I used an angle joint and end cap because it was what I had) using an end cap.
The basic structure is now ready for use and all we need to do is fill it with varnish and away we go. But before you fill it with varnish directly from the tin please look at the notes below.


Varnish Viscosity

I tend to use Ronseal Quick Drying or Diamond Hard Gloss varnish for my arrows (the water based one). If you attempt to use this type of varnish directly you will notice that it is too viscous to run smoothly off the, hanging, arrow. Through a process of trial and error I have found that mixing the varnish with water at either a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio (i.e. 2 parts varnish to 2 part water) produces a a thinned varnish of a viscosity that will run smoothly off the arrows whilst hanging. A quick rub with wire wool after the first coat produces a beautiful smooth finish after a further two dippings.

Using the Dipper

Before using the dipper I only fix the piles to my shafts (see above). I then proceed to dip the shafts once up to the base of the pile then wire wool before adding my simple florescent yellow cresting (always 6.5" long so I know my bow is braced at the correct height). I then dip them again before applying a my own printed wrap before their final dip.

Once the arrow has been dipped 3 times I then proceed to fit the nock and attach the fletchings.


As I mentioned above I tend to use Steel piles and hence was able to use the magnets to hang the shafts whilst drying. If you do not use Steel piles or do not have any magnets then simply run an old bow string under the top bar and start by attaching the nock first and using these to attach to the string.

If you prefer to use a solvent based varnish then you should look at mixing the varnish with its solvent (usually white spirit) in the ratios above but check that the solvent is not going to react with you plastic pipe.

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