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Re: (TFT) Troubles with chase

I spent a few years playing with a group called Daggorhir, a fantasy combat reinactment group much like the SCA or Markland.  This group was unlike the other two I mentioned because it had extremely tight rules about weapon creation, and the fact that all these weapons were fully covered in foam..  

Your arrow story brings this all back to me, of course.  And, just in case someone out there is wondering how to make an actual arrow with a foam tip that you can shoot from a 40 lb bow without hurting (killing) anyone.. I can tell you how we made them.

To begin, I want to point out that arrows are dangerous and that no one should ever shoot one at someone else without accepting the risk upon themselves.  Second I want to point out that these arrows will absolutely be a little top heavy once you've altered them.  Test fire them to understand their limitations and to learn how to properly balance them.

Steps to create a foam tipped arrow.

1. Buy some inexpensive, hollow, aluminum arrows.  It is essential that you not use wood because wood can break and leave a very sharp piercing tip.   You can buy screw in hunting points for this type of arrow, but if the arrows come with tips, you must remove them.  If they do not screw out, then saw off the tip.
2. Buy a dense foam camping mat.  Cut large marshmellow sized foam disks out of the pad.  You'll need at least three, probably four.  Cut out an "X" of regular foam (doesn't have to be thick).  The sides of the "square in the center of the X" should be the same size as the radius of your foam disks.  The arms of the X should be almost double the height of all the disks combined.
3. Cut a hole directly in the center of one of the dense foam disks.  
4. Find a dime (or a nickel if you're cheap).
5. If you want to balance the arrow out, you'll want to straighten out a wire coat hanger and buy a bag of cotton balls and some bb's (or some dirt if you're super cheap).  
6. You can do this more accurately, but it doesn't need to be perfect.  Weigh the foam and the dime and pour out an equal measure of BB's into a cup.
7. Tape or superglue the "noch" on the arrow so it doesn't come out (the noch is the groove where the arrow meets the string).
8. Pour the weighed bb's into the arrow so they are packed at the fletching end of the arrow.  Ram some cotton balls down into the arrow to keep the bb's from rolling forward.  Some people put a little elmers glue on the last cotton ball to really make it stick.
9. Poke the tip of the arrow through the dense foam disk with the hole in it.  
10. Using electrical tape, tape the dime onto the end of the arrow so it is centered.  Circle the shaft behind the dime with electrical tape to reinforce the tape holding the dime on the arrow's tip to keep it from sliding side to side.  It is essential to keep that dime on the end of the shaft.  If you're going to screw up and use too much tape, do it here.  You can also choose to superglue the dime on, but you won't be able to remove it without cutting it off later if you do that.  
11. Push the dense foam disk already on the shaft up over the tape and either glue it or place a piece of tape over the time and surface of the foam.
12. Glue the other foam disks to the tip of the arrow over the dime.  
13. Add one wrap of soft electrical tape or cloth tape around the glued dense foam disks that now should look like a big blue/black marshmellow on the tip of the arrow.  
14. Add the soft foam cross to the top with the X over the point.  This should be considered a sacrificial piece of foam.  It should only be secured at the shaft of the arrow, and no tape.. that is zero tape.. should be added to cover the foam.  This soft foam is meant to keep people from being scratched by a near miss, or to soften the tip when hitting someone in the face.  

It might take a couple tries before you figure out the balancing.  No balancing adds a danger of a spinning arrow which is pretty dangerous.  Feather fletching is safer than plastic, but the price difference is pretty steep.  The fletching won't do a great deal to this less aerodynamic missile anyway.  Bigger fletching obviously works better.

You must use a bow that is 30-40 lbs.  When in doubt, go smaller.  

The dime (or nickel as some used) is essential to the construction.  Without this surface area increase on the tip, you can punch right through all of the foam.  The coin on top of the "dense" foam creates enough surface area to prevent poking through the material.  

I've also seen people add a piece of very soft cloth over the sacrificial foam cover.  Personally, I just kept more sacrifical foam crosses in my pack with some tape.  

You don't want to overdo it with the weight. You can make the arrow so heavy that the fact that it's foam doesn't matter.  If I cover a bowling ball in foam and hit you with it.. it's still very heavy.  Think about the speed of the arrow and the weight.  Obviously, some foam is heavier than others, the heavier it is, the better it protects, but, the lighter foam means a lighter arrow which hits with less force.  Lighter foam means less balancing. 

You should also be able to slap a person with the arrow from the side without hurting them.  If you feel the dime/coin edge, then the diameter of the dense foam disks is too small.  The lighter the foam, the more likely you'll feel it from the side.  Surprizingly, softer foam is also not really as good.  So, I found that the cheaper camp mats worked better.

Be aware that cold weather makes dense foam harder.  

Longer arrows tend to work best.

Don't fully draw the bow if you're close enough to hit someone with a half draw.  No compound bows!

And last.. and this is the most important thing of all.. every arrow must be tested on the maker at near point blank range before it gets approved for use in a battle.  Our group used to mark all weapons with colored tape when they passed inspection.  Arrows were marked with red tape on the shaft to indicate them approved as a one hand thrusting weapon.  

Oh, and I did this stuff when I was 16.  I'm not saying I was an idiot then, but clearly, you're endangering yourself and others whenever you shoot a projectile at them.  Don't be dumb about it and I'm absolutely not recommending that anyone do this.  Legal liability has changed drastically since the early 80's.  Use your own judgement, not mine.

Good Fortune,
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