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home made shafts

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Sep 3, 2004
I like to build my own shafts ( and guns too ) but have trouble to find the good material. I know that many commercial shafts are made from oil quenchend carbon steel, or 17-4 PH. I can do many things, but heat steel is a thing I can't do.

I live in a place where I can't buy rods of these steels already heated near home. I will have to buy it on the web, if those exists. I've find a web site who sell 17-4 "centerless ground annealed". Does anyone know what means "centerless ground" because my english is not perfect yet.

Is this good to make stiff shafts?

I also thought to buy titanium rod to make my shaft, but I never seen a titanium shaft, so I'm not sure. Is it weighting enought for penetration?

I've a lot of interrogations, so if someone can help me, let's go;)


'Centerless grinding' is a method of grinding a round shape as opposed to 'centered grinding', as in a lathe. You can google it if you want to learn more, but essentially it has no bearing on what you're trying to do because you don't need the rotary precision that it gives you (shafts bend).

'17-4' means 17% Chrome, 4% Nickel steel. The steel is 'PH' or precipitation-hardened. 'Annealed' means it has already been precipitation-hardened with a single low-temperature process. There are different age-hardening time/temperature schedules. So you won't be buying the steel to heat-treat it yourself. It's already done for you. '17-4, annealed' simply indicates it has certain property, just like '17-4, condition H 1150M' has another property, and so on.

As for titanium, it's pretty stiff, but pretty expensive too (8 times the 17-4 steel). I'm not a spearfisherman, but in my opinion it won't work as well because a titanium spear will be too light.

Try McMaster-Carr for the basic material (www.mcmaster.com)

Good luck,

Peter S.
I actually made a shaft for my gun because I couldn't find any replacements but then I found were to get them.It wasn't to
hard but for $21 I could buy a new one so I just buy them and modify them they way I want( hawain,Tahitian) ect. I would buy a
peice of regular steel and practice on that till you get the hang of it.
Hey guys, this is more a bit of techie-trivia than anything else. But just wanted to provide some clarification on 17-4ph annealed versus heat treated. Annealed means it was held at a certain elevated temperature and allowed to soften. So chances are, if you've bought 17-4 ph annealed shafts, they are as SOFT AS CAN BE and are therefore easily workable/machineable. If you have access to a heat treating facility, you can take your 17-4ph annealed shafts there and have them heat treated (i.e. hardened). If you go this route make sure you specifiy a heat treat of H900. This will bring 17-4 ph to its highest tensile strength of 185-190 ksi. H900 means its brought up to a temperature of 900 degrees fahrenheit and held there for one hour before removing from the furnace and air cooled. Any longer in the furnace and it will have a softening effect, just like annealing.

I have yet to find a place that sells already heat treated rods in small quantities online. Pretty discouraging isn't it? If anyone does, let everyone else know.

Thanks Longfins and Gilbertm,

It helps me, but don't help me. Ity help me to know what I need, but tells me that I haven't find it yet.I can't find hardened steel on market, and am not confident enough to heat it myself, and I not equiped. Think I'll abandon soon...
Yeah, that's a lot easier. No shops in the next 200 miles. Call on the web: a Riffe shaft... 50$ us + 15$ us of shipping= 90$ canadian.........................

Riffe? Are you trying to obtain a Riffe shaft? Those would be difficult to build because the fins would have to be hand made and welded, then there is a two step heat treat process for 17-4. Come to think of it, somebody should tell Riffe, his shafts are soft. Just what are you attempting to make??? Sometimes it is possible to purchase and cheap shaft and modify it. Let me tell you, filing grooves and notches into hardened steel is no fun but it can be done. I've built several shafts to my own design. Just look at the Biller 54 thread and Caribbean Biller thread. I might be able to help you if I can figure out what the heck you are trying to do.
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The shaft I want to build don't need fins. Only a regular notches.

They are simple to make, but the problem is the material.

I know that Rob Allen use carbon iron, but where can I buy these materials?

If you know a cheap and stiff shaft brand that I can modify, let me know.

My problem is money exchange and shipping fees, so I need to do my shafts.
You are still dancing with me. You complain about the price of Riffe shafts but then say that you don't need a Riffe shaft??

You missed a good EBAY deal. Two weeks ago, some shop in FLA was selling in lots of five, Allen 6 foot Hawaiian free shafts for $25/lot. These were plated spring steel and could have been modified.

Where are you? Canada?

What type of gun, exactly? Right now, I don't even know what diameter steel.
I tought about Riffe because I find' em stiff, but maybe there's better. The shafts I need are 6mm to 6.5mm max. No slide ring, Tahitian/or Hawaiian, at least 4 feet, ans big fins are not wanted.

The Riffe shafts I was thinking were Euroshafts, with tiny fins. It'll make me crazy, it's been 6 months that I'm searching.:duh

And yes, I'm in Canada, but at 15 minutes from U.S.A. so I call to the U.S. but price has to be good
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That's only 1/4 inch shaft, like a coat hanger. I assume that your gun is open track since you say that grooves can be cut. I didn't know that a groove could be cut in a shaft so thin but my experience is limited. I was thinking maybe welding a rib, about 3/16 high and cutting notches into that. Might be a problem deciding where to drill the line hole. One would want the line to lay correctly. OK, at least I now know something about your problem, and I see why it's a problem. A couple days ago, there was a new Riffe 9/32 arrow on EBay and it went for $27. I'll try to find out more but the shaft size might be a problem.
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