Published by Montalaar on 12 Sep 2008 at 06:34 am
There are dozens of possibilities to fletch an arrow. You can select the manufacturer of your choice, the color, the size and the form. Dozens of combinations are possible. But is it not always the same? The archery next to you uses nearly the same fletching. Do you want to create your own arrows? You should read further.
What do we want to do?
This Tutorial will guide you to the making of your personal and individual arrow. I will cover two spots in this article. First we will do some cresting which means that we will add some color to our arrow. After that we will fletch our arrow with some individual spliced feathers. After we finished both parts we have an arrow that is absolutely personal.
- a set of arrows you want to work with
- loads of feathers in at least two colors of your choice
- some fletching cement and a fletching rig
- a knife or scissors, tape measure
- a pen, paint and tape
Before we start.
It is important that your arrows are already in the right length and have also the nock installed. Most fletching rigs need the nock to proved the perfect fit in the rig. You can also glue the point or broadhead into the shaft before installing the nock besides easton recommends to glue the point in before adding the nock.
This tutorial contains work with sharp objects and in the case of cresting also the use of paint which can contain thinner. A new arrowshaft or a new feather can be bought easily, a cut finger or thinner in the eyes is more of a problem. Be careful at all time and rather work slow and accurate.
Step one – Cresting.
The first thing we will do is some cresting that means we will add some color to the arrow shaft. Painting of wodden arrows has been common for decades as it is easy to do before adding the finish to the whole arrow but it is certainly possible with aluminium or carbon shafts, too. Very popular are also arrow wraps as they are easy to use and very durable but if you want to create your own arrow you should do your own cresting as it is truly unique.
How to do that? I will tell you.
At first we need to do some brainstorming. Which colors do we want to use and which patterns we want to draw. I chose someting easy for this tutorial. The arrow shaft will get a wide silver ring with some smaller rings dividing it. Now we need to choose the colors. As i mentioned i will use some silver paint and black or blue paint for the smaller rings. You can use everything as long as it can be applied in very thin layers and dries in a short time. If you just want to do some rings a white permanent marker will also work. I will use spray paint because it is easy to apply and dries very fast. Before starting so aplly the paint we have to mask the rest of the shaft that should not be painted in the color we use.
After masking the arrow we can add the paint to it. It can take some time to find out how it should be apllied but always bear in mind that the paint has to be as thin as possible. If you use spray paint you can aplly two or more layers to get a perfect result. Is everything colored we have to let it dry. In the meantime we can paint the next arrow.
After painting everything in the same way we can jump over to the next step. It was not too challenging until yet, was it?
Step two – Splicing.
Let us raise the grade of difficulty a bit. The next steps will need loads of patience so better be prepared. Splicing means cutting down the feathers you got to fletch your arrow with. With the parts we will get some new feathers of differenct colors and fletch your arrows with them. Splicing feathers and fletching your arrow with them will make your arrow unique!
In this tutorial i will use red and black feathers in 4 inch length. The red colored feather shall be the front part of the fletching and the black one the rest. As we want to fletch every arrow the exact same way we need to work with accuracy so take your time to get everything right. We need a tape measure to get always the same length of the pieces we cut off. I chose 1.8 inches for my red feather so i markerd my tape measure to find always the same position.
Now we have to slice every feather at 1.8 inches from the front. As we need both colors we have to cut off the red feathers but also the black ones. We will keep the red front part and the black rear part for our arrow. To cut the quill get a sharp knife or a scissors.
It is important to cut only the quill and nothing more. We want to keep the original form of the feather to put them together in the end.
Use your knife (or scissors) to make a small cut at the point you want to slice the quill in two parts. Then take the feather, retain it with one hand and cut the quill in two parts. Try to keep the intersection as small as possible and do not damage the feathers. After our little feather surgery we can remove the part we do not need and keep the other one. Now we can use some sandpaper to even the sction.
Proceed the same way with all the feathers you will need for fletching.
After slicing and sandpapering everything we have to find paires of parts to get a new feather. As not every feather has the same structure than the others we will need to find paires that will stick together on the shaft without having gaps between them. As you can see on the picture i chose two parts that seemed to be okay and put them together. The natural velcro of the feathers will keep them together.
At this point we will need the fletching rig and the fletching cement. Our prepared feathers will be glued onto the arrow at the same time so put the two parts together, aplly the fletching cement and fletch the arrow as you do it everytime.
After letting the feather dry out we can take the arrow out of the fletching rig and take a look over it. If we worked with patience and precision we will see no gaps between the quills and feathers. If you will notice a difference in the height of the feathers you should take a scissors and remove the spare feathers. Better take a smaller scissors as the larger one will cut too much out of the feather so that you will get no staisfying form
Step Three – finishing
If you have enough time and feathers you can do more unique things. You can use as many differenct colors and feathers as you wish to as long as you can glue it together whilfe flechting the arrow. You can also use a scissors and cut your own form into the feathers like a wave or something else. There are nearly no limits as long as you leave some feathers to ensure proper arrow flight.
I should also say something about the weight.
The used paint will add some grains to your arrow. As long as you use very thin layers you do not need to care about that.
I hope this tutorial will inspire you to do your own cresting, splicing and fletching. Good luck. 😉
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