Arrow head mounting


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Jul 15, 2004
Frankfort, IN
I have a customer that brought in a frame full of arrow heads where some have fell off the felt. He did it himself and used silicone to hold them down to a felt backing, which apparently worked for him for the last 5 years. So now he wants me to fix them using the existing material as a backing and I'm not sure which way would be the best. I had thought of using a drop of 5 minute epoxy on each one. Anyone have a better way to hold them down without damaging the arrowheads?
Traditionally, arrowheads have been wired in place. The problem with that is the wire could damage the arrowhead if it is wound to tight.

Silicone is not a permanent glue, just seems like it is. I just did a huge collection that was originally done in the late 1800s. Over 300 arrowheads were in this shadowbox frame. All of them where wired in place. Myself, if I had my druthers, I would have used tacky glue. Tacky Glue is water soluble, things that are glued with it, can be removed with water at a later date. My customer is a very serious collector and would only use wire. We made a new frame from redwood, looked great.

Use Tacky Glue, make sure you get as much of the old silicone off the backing and arrowhead as you can before you glue it back in place.


I have used a heavier gauge clear fishing line to secure arrowheads to mat board and had great success with it.

I wouldn't use the silicone on collectible arrowheads either, although John, I have to argue the permanency of silicone adhesive. It is quite permanent if it is a good grade of silicone like the GE brand. Jim Miller uses a nice bent brass rod mount hot glued into a coroplast backing (behind the mounting board) that would work quite well for arrowheads. I think he has posted somewhere on the Grumble how to make these mounts.

You have to consider that this project was originally a DIY job and who knows what stuff the guy used to mount these arrowheads?? It could have been the .99&#162 a tube el cheapo stuff.

If I were redoing the mounting, I would advise the customer to have you rebuild the entire display properly using quality boards and mounting procedures. That way he won't have to bring it back in another 5 years to have some of the other arrowheads remounted.

Monofilament can be abraded by the sharp edgres of chipped rock, over time, and might break.

I suggest mounting by a thin strap (1/16" wide) of clear film, secured with 3M #889 to the back of the mount board, through slots.

Would the thin strips of film not be damaged by the sharp edges and be in danger of breaking!!!! what is the strength advantage of film for this application…..and knowing you ability to use film I know there is an advantage…..I just cannot figure it out…

BTW Personally I feel that the clear film would have a nicer appearance than Monofilament
Framerguy, I had always thought silicone was permanent until I read otherwise, here on The Grumble. Someone made a very good argument for not using it as a permanent glue. I can't recall when, probably a year or so ago.

John, I think that was in reference to implants, not adhesive.

I use silicone sometimes to mount objects, but I would NEVER admit it here.

Dermot, that clear film is surprisingly strong, even in very thin strips.

Had it been available for the original makers of those arrowheads to use to attach them to the arrow shafts, life in the U.S.A. might be quite different today.
I did a frame job with about 30 arrow heads and used DMC cotton thread to mount them. I could choose a color that nearly matched each arrow head. I laced them in place with an X of thread across them. The color matching and dull texture of the thread makes the mount fairly unobtrusive. The cotton thread will not damage the arrowhead. This mount can be undone without much trouble.
Ron, no, it wasn't implants, I think all of us remember THAT thread. The more I think about it, I think it was Framerguy who wrote the thread I'm thinking of. He said regular GE type silicone will break down in time. He was recommending a new marine type silicone, said it was designed to be used in damp environments. I'm not positive, but I am pretty sure it was Framerguy.

Originally posted by Dermot:
Would the thin strips of film not be damaged by the sharp edges and be in danger of breaking!!!! what is the strength advantage of film for this application…
Hi, Dermot --

Nylon monofilament is fairly soft; it will stretch as well as abrade. Also, exposure to light will weaken it. Polyester monofilament is better, but it is still relatively weak.

A 1/16" wide strap of 5 mil clear polyester film has breaking strength roughly equal to two or three strands of 4 lb. monofilament. Because it is flat and covers a broader area, it is less likely to fail from spot-abrasion.

While still not perfect for every purpose, Melinex 516/Mylar-D are extememly tough polyester films. And they look good in lots of mounting applications. Not invisible, but unobtrusive.
I was soooo bummed today when a tile that I had secured with Mylar strips came back. The piece is, shall we say, a little on the 'rustic' side, and the sharp edges at the bottom rubbed on that Mylar and snapped it. So now I will rig a sort of shelf cum sink mat to hold it better....
For thoughts on silicone adhesives, see Framing St. Louis thread.

I like Ellen's sink mount idea - especially pretty lined with fabric. Thread, monofiliment, Mylar strips are all nice and reversible. Depending on the situation, maybe sink mount and thread or monofilament or Mylar strips.

Wire can be threaded through polyethylene tubing to prevent abrasion.