Want to start a bar-fight? Mention that carbon or aluminium arrows are as traditional as wood arrows.
We love to get on our high horses and look down at people around us, especially when we believe fanatically that we are right. Right?
I love to quote Bertrand Russell which said: " I'm not willing to die for my believes, because I might be wrong."
And with arrow use among traditional archers it is the same. Some believe that wood arrows and wood arrows alone should be shot from traditional bows.
Let me make this point: Unless you have knapped your own stone axe, while wearing your brain tanned buck-skin and have been living in the bush all your life, distanced from all modern technologies and comforts. Have, felled a sapling with said axe and worked with stone tools to fashion a bow and arrows, I believe your argument does not have a leg to stand on, let alone a horse.
Shooting a historically correct bow, I can understand the archer's need to replicate historically correct arrows and only use them in said bow. That is a different story.
But please people, most archers today shoot with a glass laminate bows, glued with highly advanced glues. We live with all the modern comforts at our finger tips and yet we love to belittle another person shooting with carbon or aluminium arrows. Or in least grunt to ourselves that, THEY are not real traditional archers, like me.
Let us stop such nonsense: It takes a lot less effort to be kind to another person.
Let us be kind to each other!
To get back to arrows, the traditional archer today has the choice of 4 materials for their arrows. And which ever one you choose, they all work great. It all boils down to personal preference and the most important availability and/or affordability. The latter reason, I believe is in the truest spirit of traditional archery, as our ancestors used what was at hand, and available.
Wood: I believe the most effort, to build and maintain an arrow, is intrinsic to the wooden arrow. Pros: Wooden arrows are usually heavier than carbon arrows, which help a lot for hunting. They have a very aesthetic look and feel especially when made with self-nocks. Wood arrows are completely biodegradable when sealed with natural oils such as tung-oil or shellac. I love to posses the skill to make and shoot them, but they do have their short comings. Cons: Wood arrows bend easily and you have to constantly check for straightness, which is not to much trouble and usually becomes habit. They are easy to straighten with practise, but sometimes they just wont, and it is better to discard such an arrow or have a place on your wall for all fallen soldiers. They tend to be weaker than other materials, so breakage is more common. The life span of a wooden arrow is the shortest of all materials, just due to the fact that wood deteriorates after time and with usage. This said you will still get hundreds of shots from a single arrow, unless something unfortunate happens to the arrow. My wife shot two consecutive deer with the same arrow before it broke on the second deer.
Carbon: Probably the strongest choice for arrows. They can also be affordable, but be cautious of poorly made carbon arrows. Pros: Carbon arrows are usually ready to receive flecthing. They stay straight and are extremely durable. You could probably get 1000's of shots from a single arrow while target shooting (unless you hit something that breaks the arrow). The spine weight tolerances on carbon arrows are fairly tight compared to wood arrows and thus better consistency is achieved. Cons: Some of the lower priced carbon arrows splinter when they break. Especially when hunting you should be aware of this, when dressing and cutting your meat, as you do not want to swallow any sharp shards of carbon. Some carbons might be too light for heavier draw traditional bows, and that is why I like to lean towards the carbons that are made with traditional archery in mind. I know those have the wood grain wrappings and the reason I like them is because the wrapping actually makes the arrow stronger, and when it breaks, it tends to be a clean splinter-free break.
Aluminium: I would put aluminium arrows between wood and carbon for durability, but I believe they are much straighter than carbons can be. They are also very affordable. Pros: Like carbon arrows, aluminium arrows are easy to put together. They are heavier than other materials ( even wood), so they make for smooth shooting from a traditional bow. Intrinsic to the material is straightness and weight consistency, thus producing a consistent groups. They are very affordable. Very !( I have mentioned that before.)Cons: I cannot think of many drawbacks when it comes to aluminium arrows for use in traditional bows. Perhaps the most often heard compliant is, " it does not look very traditional." Point taken, but neither does your brand new SUV! Get real!
Fibre-glass: These arrows are used for bow fishing, as they are very heavy and durable. I have never used them as I prefer the fish to fight me on a rod, but one day I might try it.