It’s time to take a look at the target I built approximately two years ago (spring 2010) and see how it is holding up and what needs to be done to maintain it. Since it was meant to last a lifetime, we’ll look at how it’s doing and if it’s on course to last.
The original article is DiY: Lifetime Archery Target; please refer to it if you would like to see the history behind the target and the build plans.
Last spring I had noticed that there was a noticeable bulge out the back of the target that resulted from many thousands of arrow impacts. I tipped the target onto its face and stomped on the back of the target to flatten it back out. It seemed like it would be a good idea to add some reinforcement to the back of the target in the form of a couple of 2x4s screwed across the back face to try to stem the backward bulge from happening again.
This ended up working well for a short time, but the high energy impact of repeated shooting actually popped the screws right out of the back of the target and blew the 2x4s right off. I tried much longer screws and this lasted a bit longer, but in the end the result was the same. The sharp, repeated impacts of the arrows was too much for the supports and I eventually abandoned the idea. Lesson learned!
For now I’ve decided just to deal with the bulge by pushing it back out every 6-8 weeks. I have contemplated putting a hinged plate that covers the entire back of the target that would be made of particle board (not as rough on arrows as plywood should they make it through the body of the target.) The board could possibly be covered in some type of rubber and the hinge would allow it some give to minimize the chance of arrow damage.
Otherwise the material in the target needed some refreshing as there were some weak spots where the material had been shot a lot or otherwise moved around. First I used a pole to do a good general pack down from the top. Of course the two sides of the chicken wire are wire together and this method didn’t really move the material around the ties too well.
The second step was to take a rod (old arrow shaft) and to stick it through the chicken wire and work the cloth downwards and pack it tighter. This did a great job overall in moving the material around and packing it tighter overall. However, there were some individual spots that were hard to pack tight using this method, mostly due to the wire ties again. The solution is simple: socks! I’ve been saving all my holey socks for just this purpose.
Using the rod again, I pushed the socks into individual voids that could have used a little extra filler. Other small rags or torn up t-shirts would work just as well, I just so happened to have a plethora of socks to use. All this packing left a bit of a void up top so I packed in a dozen or so old shirts to top the target off.
The front of the target that is covered with the weed barrier is finally showing some decent wear and I’ll probably replace it in a couple of months. There are a few spots where direct hits with arrow points has severed the chicken wire itself. Rather than have a sharp wire poke out, I trimmed a couple of these back. When I replaced the covering, I’ll also remove the chicken wire and put and new layer in place.
All of this work took maybe half an hour, and the target is packed tighter than ever and ready for more shots. It’s stopping arrows better than ever with the newly packed material and other than the face showing some wear after nearly two years, it’s going strong.
The target face made of the weed stopper fabric has performed much better than I had expected. I had figured that by now I would have had to change it, but it’s still holding up quite well even in the most worn sections. This choice of material was made somewhat because I had some laying around. However, it turned out to be a great material and I would highly recommend it’s use to anyone considering a target like this.
I must admit that I was somewhat skeptical when this project began as to how well this target would perform. So far I have almost zero complaints and though I have had to do a little maintenance here and there, the work has been minimal and the shooting has been great!