Traditional arrows are made of wood (cedar or pine), a flexible and resilient material still used today. Aircraft grade aluminium arrows are lighter (and therefore faster and more accurate) as well as cheap to buy. ‘Carbon’ arrows (composed of carbon fibre and aluminium) are thinner and lighter still but possess the same strength and travel the fastest with a flatter trajectory. They can cost up to six times more than aluminium arrows.
Why are Bows Made of Different Materials?
It is not so much about the material used in the bow riser (handle), but about the material used in the limbs. Limbs can be made of fibreglass, laminated wood, carbon fibre or a composite of these materials. While limbs made from each material may have a rating of 34lb at 28” draw length (i.e. the same force exerted on your fingers at full draw), it is how the material stores and returns this energy that is important (energy profile). Carbon limbs are more energy efficient and impart greater speed to the arrow (snaps back quicker from full draw) than wood limbs, and does so consistently over a range of environmental conditions.