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antagonizer

The tedium of fletching

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I love fletching arrows, completely enjoy cresting, and even don't mind cutting the nocks. However, the one thing I truly find tedious is cutting the fletching.  Probably because I'm allergic to feathers. LOL, but I think the part I dislike most is cutting down rachis, and sanding it level.

 

Anyone else?

 

DSCF914311.jpg

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I use a fletching tool. I dont sand any thing and I use fletching glue that dries quickly but with this tool (the top one in the link) you can leave the feathers in it till the glue dries. I simply split the core or spine of the feathers in half, place them in the holder, glue them and clamp the tool closed. I find the rougher the spine is(to a point) the better it glues by allowing more glue to adhere to the surface.After the glue dries than its much easier to trim the feathers to the desired shape you wish. In fact I often use the scissors on my multi tool.

 

I trim back an area on each end of the feathers for wrapping cord or fake sinew with a whip stitch to give it a traditional look.  Ill post a picture of some of my arrows.

 

Oh and Im careful to align the feathers with the noch and point. I use a razor blade or an exacto knife to split the feathers.

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I'm to cheap to buy a fletching tool. lol.  I suppose I'd use it if I had one but my little wooden jigs make it feel, sort of, historical, if you know what I mean.  Not that using a pair of side cutters to snip off the calamus is historical.  wacky078.gif

 

My mora is about as sharp as a straight razor, so I generally use it to split the feather and I use the small vane shaped piece of wood with the wheel cutter to make my fletch shape. I find the wheel doesn't pull on the barbs as much and makes for straighter lines.  The odd shaped wooden piece in my pic is actually my version of a fletching jig clamps. It's actually made with a couple of clothes pins, and some balsa wood.  Pretty cheap, but it works.

 

For marking out fletching placement on the shaft, I just use a little jig made out of a piece of leather, like the one in the pic below.  With my center finder, it usually only takes me about 2-3 minutes to create the jig and mark the spots on the shaft where to glue the fletch.  I can usually get a dozen shafts done in about 10 minutes and ready for gluing.

 

DSCF9110.jpg

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Swede, I saw some of those hazel rods you were straightening out for arrows. You never did show your finished arrows.

 

What do you use for cresting?  I ended up building my own machine for that too using an old fan motor.

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I still have them sitting in a corner still wrapped up.  :P  I didnt intend to make arrows out of them may be atl atl. I use wooden shaft arrows I have around here from the old days of recurve. I scrape off the paint and run a propane torch around on them to blacken them in places and than sand it off till it looks good.

 

Traditional is good but time consuming and the effort goes unrewarded. You may as well trade modern tools for quality and speed and work on the traditional look. I used waxed string for most of my arrows and being careful to wrap as perfect a lay as possible than glue over the string. It looks neater than fake sinew.

 

A guy who owns a hunting bow shop actually killed a doe with one of my arrows with a flint point.

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I still have them sitting in a corner still wrapped up.  :P  I didnt intend to make arrows out of them may be atl atl. I use wooden shaft arrows I have around here from the old days of recurve. I scrape off the paint and run a propane torch around on them to blacken them in places and than sand it off till it looks good.

 

Traditional is good but time consuming and the effort goes unrewarded. You may as well trade modern tools for quality and speed and work on the traditional look. I used waxed string for most of my arrows and being careful to wrap as perfect a lay as possible than glue over the string. It looks neater than fake sinew.

 

A guy who owns a hunting bow shop actually killed a doe with one of my arrows with a flint point.

 

If you ever decide to get rid of those old cedar shafts, let me know. I could probably work up an interesting trade.  I'm always scouting for old style socket broadheads as well.

 

BTW, get some nice silk thread for your feather wrap. I got the idea from some local re-enactors who swear that it's easier on your hand when the fletching passes over your palm.  I haven't tried it yet, so I'm taking their word for it, however there is historical reference to people fletching with silk thread instead of linen.

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I have always used an Arizona jig for fetching (Cost me about $17 if I remember correctly but that was a LONG time ago  :o  .  However, I did fletch one of my shafts about 5 years ago using some hemp style cord and turkey feathers.  It worked and lasted 5 shots into the target before it started to come apart.  I know I'm not the best at lashing stuff and need more work on it. But figured 5 shots out of a hand lash with no glue was doing pretty good.  :hugegrin:

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