Words from Kevin Forrester
I recently caught up with Kevin Forrester to learn why the Forrester Wood Shaft is the best available today. "The key" he says, "is to bring out the natural character of the exotic woods I use. I personally select every stick of raw lumber, and know how to read the wood grain to see the arrow shaft in it. It's part art and part science, coaxing the best qualities from each piece of stock through careful application of turning speed, heat and pressure."
Exotic Woods: Spiral Interlocking Grains
“The exotic woods I select are hardwoods and ‘soft’ hardwoods, which by nature grow more slowly and create a tighter grain. The tight grain is important, but what really makes these woods special is the interlocking nature of the grain." Kevin handed me a few different shafts to compare as he continued to explain the benefits of exotic woods.
"Most woods being used for arrows today have straight grains that split easily. Most tropical tree species have an interlocked grain which grows in a spiral direction around the tree” he explains. But that's just the start. “With these tropical species, every few years the grain spirals turn in the opposite direction. God knows why this happens. I just think it's important for archers to understand that these exotic woods are incredibly strong and resistant to splitting, making them ideal for crafting the best arrow shafts.”
Tougher Than Concrete - Tougher Than Dangerous Game
Kevin explains that arrows made from these exotic woods are not only tough, they are more stable in flight, and can be made in smaller diameters without compromising performance. "In fact" he adds, "these arrows are so tough that even concrete blocks are no match. I love all the stories and photos from our customers showing arrows buried in concrete blocks, yet the shafts are undamaged. Better yet, I get a lot of satisfaction when a customer shares a story about taking some incredibly large game taken with one of our arrows." You can read customer reviews and check out their photos here.
Crafting Matched Sets - The Art and Science
Kevin says every species of hardwood is variable and unique, so certain challenges come up when creating an ideally matched set of premium wood shafts. "To create a matched set, the diameter, weight, and spine for each shaft has to be within a tight specification. Nature isn't always on my side - I need to work with it, and adapt to it."
To create his prized matched sets, Kevin has mastered the the turning process, re-calibrating the tools to adapt to slight changes in wood density. “The light-weight 'soft' hardwoods I turn require even more attention to detail in order to ensure consistency,” he says. “I create wood shafts from carefully selected individual boards to better match structure and grain pattern within a set of arrows. One of the challenges of making arrow shafts from spiral and interlocked grain wood is identifying irregularities in the grain.”
Kevin says it has taken him years to learn how to read these woods. “I'm now able to tell a spine range just by picking up a board, feeling its weight, and studying the grain” he says. "For example, the mahogany I choose has a much tighter grain than typical mahogany. The resulting arrows are the same weight as those made from Douglas Fir, but without the tendency to split from 'Robin Hood' shots."
Serving Traditional Archers Worldwide
Forrester Wood Shafts come in a wide range of premium exotic hardwoods in all standard diameters. A wide range of options are available, including precisely matched sets, self-nocked versions, and even custom dimensions. "We have customers in all parts of the world. I value learning from all of them, and with that understanding I'm able to develop better products."
Forrester Wood Shafts - Tailored to Specific Uses
Speaking of better products, Kevin was really excited to share about the opportunity in competition archery. "Our wood shaft arrows are becoming more popular with competition archers, as wood arrows are now required in the traditional field for some large organizations."
"I also think horse archers will like my arrow shafts due to their toughness, which is really important because it's a rough sport” he says.
"Forrester Heavy-Hitters™ have the density and punch needed to handle any big game in North America, as well as Africa,” says Kevin, “Forrester Matching Mahoganies™ are perfect for competition archers, as well as recreational shooters and hunters of small to medium size game.”