How to Make Arrowheads From Wood


An arrowhead is a fairly simple shape, requiring little attention to detail, which makes it the perfect project for someone new to whittling. Carving an arrowhead can also be an educational experience for young woodworkers such as Boy Scouts or schoolchildren, as the teacher can tell stories of Native Americans and how they would have used the arrowheads. While the project itself is easier than most, it is still extremely important to practice safety when using any saws or carving knives.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood
  • Band saw
  • Sharp carving knives
  • Marker
  • Sandpaper
  • Beads and leather string (optional)
  • Choose the type of wood you wish your arrowhead to be made of and have it cut down to a 5- by 5-inch block, approximately 1 inch in depth. You have a wide variety of options when it comes to woods. The type of wood most commonly used by carvers is a soft wood called basswood. It can be found at most craft or woodworking stores. If you want your arrowhead to be tougher, you may choose a harder wood such as pine or cedar. Harder woods are more difficult to carve, but the end result will be more resistant to damage. Other options include butternut and catalpa, which are also quite easy to work with and have an attractive grain pattern.

  • On one face of your wood, use your marker to outline the shape of the arrowhead you wish to carve. This should be a rough "V" shape with a point at one end and two rectangular notches at the other. Exact proportions and shape are up to your discretion.

  • Carefully using the band saw, cut the wood around the outline you just drew.

  • Using your sharpened carving knives, whittle down the edges of your arrowhead to form relatively smooth and tapered edges.

  • After you've reached a satisfactory shape, use sandpaper to smooth your arrowhead. Coarser sandpapers are better for harder woods.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may wish to decorate your arrowhead. Some options are painting, or attaching colorful beads to leather rope and tying them around the notch.
  • If you are planning to carve arrowheads with young children, you can choose to use very soft wood, or blanks made from plaster of Paris.
  • When using a band saw or carving knives, always make sure you cut away from yourself, aiding in the prevention of potential injury.
  • Also, make sure any people are at least an arm's length and a half away from you while you are cutting or operating machinery, to ensure their safety as well.

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  • Photo Credit fond de bois image by WSC from
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