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I'm new here. My name's Ian (<that's an " i " ). I'm "out of country" for business at the moment, but before I had to leave I was making quality bodkin points. I feel the need to expand my porfolio of points and am really quite interested in the "tudor bodkin".
The problem is I have absolutely no idea how it is formed (actually I have one idea... but I don't think it holds water... a spring swage maybe?.... were they even used in the dark ages, spring swages?). I've dredged the depths of the inter-webs looking for even a clue to how this point is formed and I have come up empty handed. Anybody with knowledge on this? Any help or explanation... or for that matter.... just a hint would be so very helpful. Thanks in advance.

- Ian -

ps: not sure who made this actual point it was google image retrieved, if i had a clue who made 'em I wouldn't bother even asking if I could use the image... I'd ask them how they are made.


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If you had clicked on the picture that you found in your google search it would have led you directly to the person who made them. Took me about 5 seconds;

PS I believe they are forged as a regular bodkin and then given flanges in a swage, as you suggest.

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on a post below... (the regular bodkins)... says they're made by Hector Cole. The tudor ones maybe the same maker, it doesn't expressly say. I'm going to go right to the source and ask. I figured I'd drop this gem here first see if there were any adept arrowsmiths about. Anyone watch "Forging Medieval Arrow Heads The Longbow Series Vol 2"? I was wondering if there are more than just regular bodkins made in it, if so I'll just buy it. How many smiths out there forging points or crossbow hardware?


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Dear All,

There are excellent instructions with color photos for making medieval arrowheads in Secrets of the English War
Bow by Hugh D.H. Soar, Westholm Publishing, Yardley, PA, 2006, ISBN 10: 1-59416-025-2. It also has a lot of good information about medieval archery. I hav gotten good use out of my copy.

I've never been able to figure out how a diamond cross section medieval cross-bow bolt head was made except by swaging. There are no parallel faces. There may even be two sets of swages involved, one for the rear potion of the bolt head (in front of the socket) and one for the point.

Cbert, let us know what you find out. I have always assumed that the central ridge or spine on medieval spearpoints and arrowheads was done with swages. The concept was certainly known since a swage is only a simplified coin making die. Those have been around since circa 600 BC.

George M.

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Welcome aboard Ian, glad to have you. Stick around, seems you've kindled a thread and there'll be lots of opinions, links, howtos, etc. come of it. It's got my attention, be nice to be able to make my own arrows, armor piercing heads aren't on the shop shelves for some silly reason.

Frosty the Lucky.

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I have been making standard bodkin points since I saw John Murray do them years ago and I also make two blade broadhead type with the rolled socket and it is a lot like making a leaf only in high carbon. I like the look of the Tudor type but it almost looks line it was made out of hollow form. Think rolling a socket but a lot longer and welded of course then put a long taper into the socket and pinching the sides down against the taper.
I don't know just thinking out loud here.

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I've only made the standard bodkin not the fluted ones or the 4 fluted ones. I hope that terminology is correct. The variety of arrowheads is amazing.


In chatting with some expert smiths in England that make them it was rare to use anything other than wrought iron (or mild steel) and the cup was very seldom welded. One way to look at it is they had to crank out hundreds of these items to be shot once so the fastest way was the way to go. If they wanted a cup for a 3/8" diameter shaft they started with 3/8" round stock, if a 1/2" shaft then they started with 1/2" stock.

All I can add is that I made some tooling to make the job easier. This is a combination swage, cone and cutoff that fits in the hardie hole. Since I demo all over I never have the same size hardie hole twice therefore the angle iron pieces to fit what's required. The photo shows how it was constructed using forge welding.


If you hear more about the four fluted arrow construction I'd love to learn about it.

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When I spent a summer in Germany I bought a renaissance quarrel point from a metal detecting guy---he wondered why I didn't go for the prettiest. The most weathered one showed the flow of the wrought iron perfectly telling me *how* it had been forged. Quite simple. Now I'm hunting for where it got hidden away last time I went on a long trip....

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