Saturday, October 17, 2015

Make a Saxton Pope Style Broadhead

For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, Saxton Pope is the fellow who re-introduced traditional archery to North America in the early 1900’s.  He and Art Young (Pope and Young, get it) are basically the fathers of all that we do in the way of traditional archery today.  Any how, I was reading his book, “Hunting with Bows and Arrows last week and came across an illustration of how he made his broadhead hunting points.  I couldn’t believe it.  He was making points nearly the same way that I started making them when I was twelve years old.  Of course Pope was making broadheads this way because there was no archery tackle in those days.  I was making them this way because I was twelve years old and there was no money in those days.  So my archery buddies and I would buy wooden target arrows for thirty-nine cents and then use a little scrap metal and my dad’s shop to turn them into hunting arrows.  I still make broadheads the same way today.  I just think they look better than the three blade glue-on broadheads and, of course, the fact that they cost about a twenty-five cents apiece doesn’t hurt either.

Here’s how I make them:

First I make an arrow just like one of my target arrows except that I use five inch fletchings instead of four inch.  I fit the head of the arrow with a target point attached with hot glue.  I use Easton Scout target points that you can get on eBay pretty cheap.

Next, I take a triangular file and file a small starter groove in the top of the point.  You want to make sure that this groove is exactly parallel to the string nock on the back of the arrow.

Using a hacksaw I cut down into the point to just below where the taper on the front of the point ends.  I run a folded piece of 80 grit sandpaper through the cut to remove burrs.


Now I use a heat gun to heat up the point and a pair of pliers to pull the point off.

Then I take my hacksaw and continue cutting the slot in the shaft until it is almost down to where the bottom of the target point will come when I glue it back on.

The broadhead blade is cut out of a piece of steel sheet that is a little less than one-sixteenth inch thick.  It is about the thickest that I can cut using heave tin snips.  Make sure that when you lay your pattern out that the blade will be wide enough to comply with local hunting regulations.  In Texas the finished blade will need to be a minimum of 7/8 inch.  Yours may be different.

A file and sandpaper are used to finish up the blade.

When the blade is finished I push it down into the slot that I have cut in the target point.

Now the broadhead is pushed back onto the shaft.  The tang inside of the target point will fit on down into the shaft where I have slotted it.

I drill a small hole that goes through the target point, the shaft, and the blade.

Then I push a small brad through the hole and cut the end of it off with wire cutters.  I leave about a sixteenth-of-an-inch of brad sticking out.

With a ball peen hammer, I peen down the raw end of the brad to make it a small rivet.

Voila, a target point and some scrap sheet steel have now become a hunting broadhead.

Note that Saxton Pope made his broadheads with barbs on the back; something that is now illegal in some areas.  Also, his broadheads were enormous; as much as three inches long.  Of course he was often hunting very large game including elk and bears.