Woodchuck Taper Plane

Reviewed By Steve

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There is little doubt that a tapered arrow flies better , it isn't just because it looks as if it does there is in fact science to back it up. Put simply when an arrow goes through paradox it can recover quicker if there is less weight or mass at the back to flap about. A properly spined parallel shaft will fly perfectly well, but when you shoot a tapered arrow for the first time you will see the difference.

Another good reason to shoot tapered shafts is that it moves the balance point further toward the front. When the weight is moved forward the arrow will fly with more stability, however this is where there is a trade off between stability and trajectory and it all starts to get a little complicated.

Woodchuck Taper Plane

Shifting the balance point forward, (this point is known as the foc - front of center, which is expressed as a percentage.) aids stability but at the cost of flatness of trajectory, similarly if the foc is moved back from the front the arrow shoots flatter but with less stability. So, how do you know where the foc should be ?, happily this is not new science and there is a wealth of ballistic information around to help the archer achieve perfect arrow flight. It is generally accepted that 7-11% is a good range as a compromise between stability and trajectory for a target or 3D archer, the American society for testing and materials recommend 9% as a typical figure. For a hunter 10-18% will be desirable, firstly a greater point weight will aid penetration and at short range hunting distances stability will be more important that shooting flatter for a little further.

Naturally you will want to try tapered arrows and your first option would be to buy some ready tapered, although convenient it can be expensive. In the past I have spent hours sanding shafts down, a laborious task. Here though is a little jig all ready set up and good to go. A teper at the rear of around 9 to 10" has been found to be desirable and this tool produces a maximum 10" taper.

Woodchuck Taper Plane

One end of the arrow is placed almost at the backstop, shown above,I say almost because you don't want it fitted up tight, it should be so close that there is just a sliver of daylight between the shaft and the backstop. The nock end, already tapered sits at the far end - this is where the tapering will take place.

The backstop is adjustable to allow for different length shafts. Up at the tapering end a small receiver will accept the nock and with the backstop adjusted correctly the shaft is held securely as it will sit on a center bock which supports the shaft at about 1/3rd it's length.

There is a facility for the nock receiver to be moved up and down in the vertical plane to set the taper angle, so you could bring an 11/32 shaft down to 5/16" or to 9/32" if you wished, there is no scale or pre-sets so this will involve some trial and error, however provided you don't go mad straight off then a shaft can be brought down in stages until you are happy, at that point the rest of the arrows in the batch can be done.

So, once the arrow is in and an angle has been set it's just a case of running the small plane along the guide rails, you will see the little shavings coming off, turn the arrow and repeat, do this all the way around the shaft and in a couple of minutes you have a tapered shaft. The key point here is to let the plane do it's work and not try to force the plane with downward pressure, as you rotate the shaft the taper will get longer, so don't worry if at first the plane isn't biting a 10" taper.

A word of caution though, make sure you have straight shafts or straighten them first because if you try this with a bowed shaft the taper will be uneven. I find that tapering 10" decreases the spine by 2 to 3#, so be aware of that before ordering your shafts.

You don't have to taper 10" that is the maximum you can go to, with a little re adjustment you can tailor the taper to suit your needs.

So how about some chested or barrelled shafts,taking weight from both front and rear will mean that the arrow settle down really quick.

Features & Design
Woodchuck have developed several nice jigs for various tasks, this one I like because of it's simplicity and ease of use, there is nothing complicated and this is one of those products that isn't too clever for it's own good, this has to be the most straightforward way to taper an arrow.
Provided your shaft is straight this will do a nice quick job of tapering it. Have some patience and it will do a nice job.
Value for Money half a review mark
If you use tapered arrows a lot or don't use them because they are expensive then this has to be good value - if you don't use tapered arrows then maybe you should try them - either way one of the tools I love to use. You could say it was a lot of money for a very basic tool and that you could make a jig yourself, if you are that kind of person you probably already have made one, if you have not made one then what's all the fuss !!
Overall half a review mark
There are not that many ways of getting a taper on an arrow, this is simple but does require a straight shaft and a gentle touch, however get it right and you are in for a treat.


Your Comments

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  • Posted by: Spiderman on Jan 10, 10:11

    Steve gave me this jig some months back to try and I agree it is a very simple tool to use.I produced half dozen nock end tapered shafts in about 30 minutes I know Iv’e been using woodworking tools for years,which must give me an edge,but this made the process so easy.The small plane is a Stanley a quality tool maker.Only tip I would give when using it Keep the blade sharp,take it slowly and don’t over rotate the shaft as you plane.The taper will begin to form quite quickly. after that all that is needed is sanding. Steve told me the cost and at the time I thought it a little expensive , it would not be too difficult to make one.All in all a handy tool anyone can use and with a little practice make some acceptable tapered shafts.

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