Autumn olive shafts

Pamunkey
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Pamunkey
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Joined: 1:28 AM - Jan 21, 2003

5:30 PM - Jan 30, 2017 #1

Has anyone here ever used autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellate) for arrow shafts? The game commission here in VA used to plant this to attract wildlife on WMA’s up until the 1980’s, but now it’s listed as an invasive non-native species. I’ve never used it for arrows myself, but I have eaten the fruit. I was out hunting this past Saturday but the squirrels and rabbits proved elusive, but I took the opportunity to gather four decent looking autumn olive shafts. I scraped the bark off when I got home and coated them with a light coating of melted bacon grease, and then bundled them tightly with rubber bands (I applied the grease just to keep them from drying too quickly and checking; having not used this species before, I wasn’t sure whether that would be a problem). They’re drying pretty quickly despite the grease coating, but there are no signs of checking. I’ll probably give them an initial heat straightening next week after they’ve dried a bit more.


Last edited by Pamunkey on 5:35 PM - Jan 30, 2017, edited 1 time in total.
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Pamunkey
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Pamunkey
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Joined: 1:28 AM - Jan 21, 2003

6:24 PM - Feb 08, 2017 #2

A few observations regarding autumn olive for arrow shafts. First, the ones I collected shrank quite a bit while drying; if I use it again, I’ll definitely cut larger diameter shoots. Second, not all of the shoots I gathered were round in cross section (some were sort of elliptical); gathering larger diameter shoots and planing them down to size would help eliminate this. Third, the wood did not check at all while drying. This could be due to a number of factors- i.e. shoots cut when the sap was down, shafts greased to slow drying, etc. The shafts also heat straightened easily, and tend to stay straight once straightened. Here are the shafts planed down to size, cut to about 27” and sanded. They retained a pretty light yellow color (it’s kind of difficult to see in the photo):





 


It remains to be seen how they perform as arrows, but things look promising.
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Archeryrob
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Archeryrob
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Joined: 4:37 AM - Feb 12, 2003

3:50 PM - Feb 10, 2017 #3

We have Russian Olive growing around here and I have one in the yard I can get a few shafts out of to play with. It seems stiff like it should work good.

The Olives are so small and hard to find.
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Pamunkey
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Pamunkey
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9:09 PM - Feb 10, 2017 #4

Rob,
They seem to fruit heavier in certain years, and the quality of the fruit can vary from bush to bush. When they bear heavily, you can just strip off handfuls of fruit. I did a Google search, and a similar species Russian olive has a specific gravity about the same as red oak.

Will
 
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beardedhorse
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beardedhorse
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Joined: 6:35 AM - Mar 27, 2009

12:55 AM - Jul 04, 2017 #5

Tamarisk is similar in that it is a non-native invasive species. Also called salt cedar and hard to eradicate. Has eliptical cross section and sometimes a round cross section, too. Dense and can make good arrows.
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