How to make an arrow head

Updated February 21, 2017

Learn how to carve and chip arrowheads the way native Americans practised this craft of making weaponry for bow and quill. The secret is a steady hand and a bit of practice in the art of flint knapping, the centuries-old practice of flaking and chipping pieces of stone to form tools and cutting weapons, including arrowheads, spear and dart tips, and knives. The skilled flint knapper knows where and how hard to strike a piece of flint to cut away pieces and form the stone into the desired shape. Using a file to hone the finished piece gets the flint arrowhead ready for mounting to an arrow shaft.

Choose a piece of flint or quartz in a roughly triangular shape, about the size of the desired arrowhead to save carving time.

Remember that weight decreases distance, so work with a piece of stone no larger than necessary.

Place the flint or quartz on a block of wood with the stone grain running the length of the planned arrowhead (tip to back). Position the stone's edge off the edge of the block at the desired angle.

Strike the edge of the stone hanging off the block with an old hatchet or flat hammer to chip and flake the piece into the desired shape. Adjust the stone on the edge of the wooden block as necessary to continue forming the arrowhead.

File the edges of the arrowhead to sharpen toward the point.

Coat with lacquer or shellac to achieve a high-gloss finish.

Lace the arrowhead to an arrow shaft if desired, using heavy twine or leather lacing. Wrap the lace in an X pattern, left to right, over and under the arrowhead's back edge and around the arrow shaft.

Things You'll Need

  • Old hatchet
  • Flat hammer
  • Coarse file
  • Wood block
  • Pieces of flint or flat quartz
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.