I have tried many woods such as birch, oak, Western red cedar, ash and fir but because of the method of manufacture, pine seems to work the best for me. Port Orford cedar is an excellent arrow wood. Perhaps, it is the best. However, it is unavailable in board form in New England to my knowledge. Off the rack white pine is an excellent substitute for Port Orford cedar.
Choose the straightest grain board you can find. You are looking for parallel lines across the top and the bottom. At least, that is the ideal. Rip the stock into 0.5 in. by 0.5 in. by 36 in. pieces. Obtain a 3 foot scrap board. Nail two cleats parallel across the length of the board about 0.25 in apart. Your future arrow will rest in this. Glue or nail a piece of scrap across the width of your board to keep your future arrow from moving as you plain.
I use a one in. block plane. Plane each corner 20 times or so making 8 sides. Experience will tell how much planing is needed. Plane each of these corners and you have a potential arrow. Drill an 11/32 in. (for the point) and a 23/64 in hole (for the knock end)in a piece of scrap. Hold the shaft in your hand with the plane on top to reduce the ends to the width you desire.
I make a barrel tapered arrow. That is, it is thicker in the middle than the ends. You can control the spine remembering that removing wood from the middle has a greater effect than removing it from the ends.
Copyright 1999 George C Tsoukalas