Tapering Tools

Taper Tools

There are quite a number of ways to put point and nock tapers on your wood arrows. But one thing is for certain, if the tapers are not accurate the result will be that the nock or broadhead is mis-aligned and you will very likely get poor arrow flight.

There are several commercially made tools for putting accurate point and nock tapers on wood arrows. These tools range in price from a couple of dollars to over a hundred dollars. The above photo shows four of the more widely used taper tools. The first tool (from the left) is similar to the old plastic pencil sharpeners that you used in grade school. These tools come in different sizes for different diameter shafts. So if you have 11/32" shafts then you have to have a tool specifically for that size. These tools are cheap, selling for about $4 each. The problem with them is that the blades will get dull pretty fast and the result is a less than clean cut. The blades are not replaceable so you have to buy a new taper tool when they get dull. They also will not work very well on hardwoods like ash.

The second tool is a more refined version of the first. It is still a pencil sharpener type tool, but the housing is aluminum and the blades are replaceable. You can buy the tool plus guides for 5/16", 11/32" and 23/64" shafts for about $25. If you only make a few sets of arrows each year, then this is probably the best tool to purchase. Extra blades sell for about $1 each.

The third tool is the Horizon power taper tool that has been around for a number of years. I understand that Horizon has recently informed dealers that they will no longer be making this tool so it may be unavailable in a short time. This tool uses a small electric motor with a sanding disc attached. There is a nylon guide that the arrow goes through. You can get guides for each size of shaft that you are using. Using the same guide, you can make either a 5 degree point taper or a 11 degree nock taper by simply turning the guide around. These tools sell for about $75. I have used one of these tools for years and have found that there are some problems with them. First, if the shaft diameter is not exact and the arrow wobbles around a little in the guide, then the taper will not be centered on the shaft. Also you have to be careful that the nylon guide does not move to the side after you get it set. If it moves towards the sanding disc you may find that you have cut too deeply and your nock or point will fit too loose.

The fourth taper tool is a Woodchuck taper tool. This design has solved the problem of different shaft diameters by having a "V" groove in the body of the tool that is permanently set at the correct angles for nocks and points. It has a positive stop so that you can adjust the length of tapers that you want to make. This taper tool sells for about $130. If you build a lot of arrows, then this is probably the machine for you. If you have a group of people that you shoot or hunt with then one option is for everybody to pitch in a buy a community taper tool. Just make sure that you are all good friends who can share equipment.

Another option is to make your own taper tool. I have seen several examples of people using table saws or radial arm saws with a sanding disc attached. Use your ingenuity to develop a system to hold the shaft at the proper angles. If anybody out there has a good set of plans for building a jig for use on a table or radial arm saw that you would like to share, let me know and I will add it to this section.

Raw Arrow Materials
Weight and Spine
Straightening Wood Shafts
Tapering Tools
Nock Alignment
Aneline Dyes
Feathers - Wing Choice
Feathers continued..
Splicing Feathers
Arrow Finishes - Part I
Arrow Finishes - Part II Bohning Paints
Arrow Finishes Part III - Other finishes
Cresting - Part 1
Cresting Part II
PBS Arrow Building Contest 
Finishing Wild Turkey Feathers
Homemade Cresting Machine
Marble Dip
Self Nocks

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