The forging of metal arrowheads, usually in iron or steel.
|Historic area of significance||UK|
|Area currently practised||UK|
|Origin in the UK||Iron Age|
|Current no. of professionals (main income)||2|
|Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
|Current no. of trainees||0|
|Current total no. serious amateur makers
|Current total no. of leisure makers
|Minimum no. of craftspeople required|
Arrowsmithing peaked in the Mediaeval period when the use of the English war bow was at its height, and declined along with the bow as a weapon of war once fire arms became dominant. The craft was revived in the twentieth century with the formation of re-enactment groups, and today these groups provide the market for the craft.
Specialist forging techniques and tools are required for the forging of the heads.
There are many variations in arrowheads, but they fall into two main groups: hunting and war.
Issues affecting the viability of the craft
Market issues: This is a very niche market and there is not enough demand to make a living from it.
- Skills: The forging of simple bodkin arrowheads is within the capabilities of any good blacksmith but the forging of accurate arrowheads that are more complex requires specific skills over and above that of general blacksmithing
- Overseas competition: there has been an increase in hobby arrowsmiths working overseas making arrowheads based on a few photos as compared to actual examples, and selling them for much less, flooding the market with inaccurate products.
Craftspeople currently known
- Hector Cole MBE
- The Society of Archer-Antiquaries