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Fletching

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by blarby, Jan 23, 2014.

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  1. blarby

    blarby Member

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    Ok, two new bows in the house.

    We only have 24 arrows.

    The reloader in me is already burning.

    How is this done ?

    What is the right equipment to get ?
     
  2. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    Your local Archery shop should have what you need as in a fletching fixture, vanes/feathers, nocks and glue. If a Bitzenberger Fletching Jig fits your budget, purchase it by all means.
     
  3. mole

    mole Member

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    I started by just hand tying mine. I used nylon upholstery thread and then painted glue on on top of the thread to help protect the thread from fraying. It takes some skill to keep the feathers uniform. Years ago I switched to using this http://www.3riversarchery.com/Bohning+Pro-Class+Fletching+Jig_i4081X_baseitem.html . I've used wood glue, slow set super glue, and contact cement to glue the feathers on before wrapping. The glue used depends on the finish you use on the arrows.

    From everything I've read the Bitzenberger is great and I have a buddy that swears by his. I just went the cheaper option. I like to glue while watching tv.
     
  4. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    I fletched many an arrow while watching T.V. the fletching fixture poised on a coffee table!
     
  5. LRShooting

    LRShooting Member

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    +1 on the Bitzenburger. Nothing better as far as fletching jigs go. Depending on what you already have, you will probably want to invest in the following.....

    Bow:
    Sight
    Rest
    Sling
    Any stablilizing/dampening accessories
    Mechanical release (I like it better than fingers for compound)
    D loop if you shoot mechanical release
    peep sight

    Arrows:
    target or field points
    broadheads
    (if your building your own arrows, then the following applies)
    arrow shaft
    inserts
    fletching
    nocks
    wraps (optional)
    Gorilla Superglue (fletchings and inserts if you dont care to tune broadheads)
    hot melt glue (inserts if you ever wanna tune your broadheads)

    Tools:
    Fletching jig
    A GOOD set of hex keys. Stripped heads are the worst.
    Arrow squaring tool (G5 A.S.D. is good)

    General Upkeep and Maintenance:
    String wax
    Serving thread (also nice for tying in peeps, making anchor points)



    Im probably forgetting something, but I got the main stuff.
     
  6. blarby

    blarby Member

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    Well, we're going traditional, so most of the do dads except quiver are out.

    Thanks for the list !

    I am however using modern construction arrows.


    Although, the artwork involved in cresting on wooden arrow construction has me all swooning, to be sure !
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
  7. LRShooting

    LRShooting Member

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    Yea, I thought about that after I posted...... Oh well. If you are going modern arrows, then you won't have much of an issue, but getting into wood arrows can somes be a art form. Getting correct taper, gluing, sealing, cresting, tying on feathers etc. Anyone can do it, but it takes time to do it correctly. I like it anyways. Also, don't be like my cousin and try and shoot regular vanes out of a traditional set up. Youll tear the fletching off so quick, you won't know what happened. Id go natural feathers, but alot of guys like the synthetics better. Good luck.
     
  8. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

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    I mainly shoot traditional, and while the idea of wood arrows appeals to me, the durability and consistency of carbon fiber arrows make more sense.

    My carbon arrows look like wood, so at least there is that, lol.
     
  9. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    I shot my first Archery buck years ago using a Bear Grizzley recurve and a cedear arrow that I made. I used barred feathers and my fletching jig was called a Mono-Fletcher. My broadhead was a Bear Razorhead , very popular at the time. I now shoot a compound but I still make my own arrows.
     
  10. blarby

    blarby Member

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    We certainly want real feathers, as was explained to us when we each bought our first dozen. Carbon for me, aluminum for her.

    Then she saw the wood arrows..... and it was like when she held her first 1911... and I knew right then this was going to happen (were both also model painters, and she likes wood ones...)

    I know that wood is also less durable, but at near $100.00 for fletched ( badly, i may add) carbon arrows.... there has to be a cheaper way.

    I want less expensive carbon.

    She wants "her-crafted" traditional wood.

    I'm sensing a lot of gear..... especially on the wood with cresting jigs, etc
     
  11. Duckdog

    Duckdog Member

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    Man, when I think back to when all we had were cedar arrows, fixed 2 blade broadheads and a "high tech" recurve, I think maybe we were doing it the right way! There was no real camo to be had, so you wore wool or hopefully something scrounged up from the army. In Wisconsin, there was no baiting or hunting from trees allowed. It was just an all out different hunt.

    I work with a guy who made his own cedar and douglas fir arrows out of a jig he made and those were some real nice sticks. One has to spline the cedar arrows you make to look fro the strong side, so you fletch it correctly.

    He also made his own feather burning jig to make it easier to make his own fletching out of turkey and goose feathers. A person can make a lot of the items you need if you go traditional and you'll appreciate it a heck of a lot more when you succeed.
     
  12. wheelgunslinger

    wheelgunslinger Member

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    Yep.
    You can also develop some nice life skills by doing things like building your own arrows.
     
  13. blarby

    blarby Member

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    Ok, so I have a quick question on this one.

    I kept the longest point feathers of my last goose.... Pics to follow, but are these of some value in fletching ?
     
  14. DaveP (UK)

    DaveP (UK) Member

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    Should be. Goose feathers were traditionally used for fletching in Olde Englande! In fact, since turkeys hadn't been invented they were just about the only sources for the 7" fletchings needed for military arrows.
    You'll need to trim it. Near the tip the quill becomes too thin to work with, and the first half inch or so where the vanes start is usually too twisty to be worth having. You'll need to split it. You can find on line advice about tearing the skin off the quill with the vanes attached. Sounds slick, but ignore it. I wasted a lot of feathers trying this, and I began to suspect that it needs very fresh feathers to work. Use a very sharp knife, place the feather on a cutting board and just cut along the centre of the quill. If the feather has the width you might even be able to use both sides - just not on the same arrow, as they will have opposing curl. Just bear in mind that you need to keep your fletching design within the "waterline". If you hold the feather up to the light you will be able to see the line where the vanes become thin. Stick to the thicker base area.
    I generally cut the pieces to slightly overlength and use the steel clip from my fletching jig to hold them flat and straight while I sand the base until its reasonably thin and tidy. I've never tried a feather burner. I apply Scotch tape to both sides of the vanes and then cut round a template with a scalpel. Time consuming but works fairly well, and its very satisfying to look at a bunch of arrows that are all your own work. Have some fun :)
    BTW Why are you worrying about using wooden arrows? Port Orford Cedar is probably the commonest shafting used in the UK, for good reason, and you seem to be living on top of the stuff! Longevity is a side issue anyway - I lose more than I break, and then I'm really glad I'm not shooting carbon...
     
  15. blarby

    blarby Member

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    Thanks dave, thats great advice.
     
  16. mole

    mole Member

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    I usually just order turkey feathers that are already cut and sanded. When I do use wild turkey feathers I cut and sand them. I never could get the peel method down right and it just seems to me that they're not as durable.

    I make my own wooden arrows. If you have a spine tester you can take it to the hardware store/home center and test their dowel rods. You'll have to go through the whole batch just to fine a few suitable ones. I use 5/16 red oak for the wife(shorter draw and weight) and 3/8 poplar for myself. I usually go for 60# @ 29". I've got two buddies that make their own from ash boards, but that's more involved.

    John
     
  17. travisd

    travisd Member

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    Ive looked at it pretty seriously before but have never done it as I can buy complete arrows the right size for the about the same price I can order bare shafts for. Then you still need a jig, vanes, inserts tips etc. If I wanted to do it for the fun of it maybe but even then its just losing money.
     
  18. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    If you're satisfied with the Hardware Store stuff, that's fine but a better choice is the Cedar arrow shaft blanks available at your local archery shop, the Spine effort already taken care of.
     
  19. CA Raider

    CA Raider Member

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    "Man, when I think back to when all we had were cedar arrows, fixed 2 blade broadheads and a "high tech" recurve, I think maybe we were doing it the right way! "

    that's where I am now. I have some oak and cherry arrows - I got the shafts and have been straightening them. I will be fletching them this week. I plan to make small cuts (splines) on the arrow shaft to seat the feathers better. I will hand-tie them with sinew (artificial sinew).

    I went down to the local archery shop last night to buy some stuff. The young guy there looked at me like I was some sort of caveman. I guess there aren't a lot of guys still making arrows out of wood any more. I will probably buy some broadheads for wood arrows off the Web, but I also plan to make two-bladed broadheads out of bone.

    CA R
     
  20. nmlongbow

    nmlongbow Member

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    Bitzenburger jigs have ben around forever and wil last a lifetime. It takes a lot of time if you have just one jig though. JoJan Multifletcher's aren't quite the same quality but you can do six arrows at once and they're only a few bucks more than a Bitz single.

    Cedar arrows are fine for targets and hunting just not real durable. Bamboo or Cane shafts are extremely durable for natural materials and surprisingly forgiving of spine tolerance. Spinrite Crestors make a nice looking arrow if you want to spend the extra $$ on looks.

    Goose feathers will work but they're not as durable or consistent as turkey feathers. Obviously you don't want to mix left wing with right wing on the same arrow.
     
  21. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    I shot "traditional" for years ,simply because there was nothing else around at that time. It took me about two years to switch but now I shoot strictly compounds. I shot some deer with the recurves but I like the Muzzy Broadheads and the "passthroughs" that I now expirence. Arrows? I make and refletch as it is an advantage to me.
     
  22. mole

    mole Member

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    I also like river cane as well as Japanese arrow bamboo. Sometimes I'll plug the ends with a hardwood dowel. I use Grizzly broadheads or make my own out of circular/table/miter saw blades.

    I was very unimpressed with artificial sinew. To much stretch and the wax/dye runs when it gets hot The real stiff is a good bit better and easy to work with. I use whitetail backstrap. Neither make a good string.
     
  23. CA Raider

    CA Raider Member

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    getting ready to do some fletching myself.
    I have wood arrows made from oak and cedar.
    I will probably spline the ends of these arrows by cutting a small groove along the surface. I plan to tie the feather, but might glue them also. I don't have a professional jig for fletching, but after I do some by hand - no doubt i'll wind up making one that works.

    CA R
     
  24. nmlongbow

    nmlongbow Member

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    There's no need to cut grooves to align the fletch. Just use fletch glue, super glue or nearly any other glue to tack the quill then wrap the feather with sinew or something similar. I use kevlar fly tying thread to wrap the quill when using my hand for the rest. Wrapping the front of the feather keeps parts of the feather from becoming embedded in your hand on a bad release. That relatively soft feather can cut your hand open if you're not using a shelf rest. Fletch tape works great too but a jig really helps everything.

    Arrows aren't slpined they're spined. The spine is backbone or stiffness of the shaft. Weaker spine=more flexible, stiffer spine=less flexible. The higher the draw weight, the stiffer spine you need. Trad bows cut farther from center need a weaker spine than those cut to or past center.
     
  25. CA Raider

    CA Raider Member

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    thanks for clarification. I'm almost at the point of dealing with the arrow spines, and what I'll have to do to adjust them. need to shoot a variety of arrows to get a feel for the sweet spot in the shaft stiffness.

    will try your suggested method for fletching.

    cheers,
    CA R
     
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