As a new archer, we always thought that archery was all about hitting arrows as much as possible. But once you get familiar with the process, you will surely know that adjustment and fine-tuning of your equipment play an important role in improving your accuracy.
Fletching occurs when your arrows need to be set up properly and navigate in directions other than your target. Today’s article will share all steps to fletch an arrow. It will save you time and money. Are you ready to learn about it in more detail?
How to Fletch an Arrow
Fletch an arrow is also called building your arrows to give yourself more confidence in your shots. Once your customized arrows start hitting at a good range, all your efforts will be rewarded. We will share all the things required to do this process but for now, let us share the major thing you need initially.
You need to visit a nearby archery shop where the staff will help you choose the perfect arrow shaft for your bow. Then, they will cut the shafts according to your draw length and install the points. At this point, you need to do the rest of the work by yourself. Follow the steps we will share, and everything will work fine and smoothly.
Things You Need to Fletch an Arrow:
Before sharing the actual steps, let us briefly detail the things we used and their purpose.
1- Arrow Shafts
The arrow shafts are the first and most important thing you will need to fletch your arrows. These are typically bare shafts that you need to attach with your fletching and then to your arrowheads. Usually, arrow shafts are sold separately and do not come with pre-installed fletching.
2- Arrow Fletching
Next, you need fletching to attach to your shafts. It could be like feathers in traditional bows or plastic vanes typically used with all bow types. They come in different sizes, shapes and designs — depending on your style and choice.
3- Fletching Jig
Another major piece of equipment used to fletch arrows is a fletching jig. They are designed to hold your arrow shaft and vanes until the glue dries. It also ensures that you have placed fletching correctly and accurately on the arrow.
4- Fletching Glue
A high-quality fletching glue is recommended to stick fletching on the arrow shaft. You can use super glue as well, and it will work fine. But we suggest using specifically designed glues to securely hold your fletching.
5- Rubbing Alcohol
A small amount of rubbing alcohol is required to ensure that you have cleaned the surface properly for adhesion. Alcohol helps remove oils from shafts and ensures that fletching glue can properly set and hold together the two. Alternatively, you can use acetone solvent to clean the arrow shaft.
To get the most out of it, you can clean each plastic vane with alcohol to ensure both surfaces are clean. Before making any move, read the instructions page with your fletching, as a few have adhesive properties on the vanes. If we apply alcohol, the adhesive layer may get reduced, and the bond between the two gets weaker.
Steps to Fletch an Arrow:
1- Choosing Right Fletching
As we already know, fletching comes in multiple options with different materials. Moreover, you have to decide between different shapes, sizes and designs. Few fletchings are low profile, and others are much larger and have different sizes and shapes. One needs to pick specific colour or design based on their bow and other equipment. Once you are done with fletching, you are good to go.
For best performance, accuracy and more options, many archers use plastic vanes instead of feathers. Here you can choose from shorter or longer vanes as well. Each vane has advantages and disadvantages depending on the distances you want to shoot and at and how heavy arrows you are using.
Shorter vanes are usually 2 inches or less long and look slimmer and sleeker. These vanes are popular among hunters, especially those who shoot outdoors, as these shorter vanes do not get affected by wind easily and provide more stabilization and spin.
If you are participating in a competition, longer vanes 3-4 inches in length are the best fit. They provide more stabilization and spin but are heavier and catch more breeze in outdoor conditions.
2- Set up the Fletching Jig
When your fletching is ready, now is the right time to prepare the jig. Jigs aim to hold fletching on the arrow in the right position while your glue dries. Few jigs only do a single vane at a time, while others can do two or more at once.
Furthermore, jigs place fletching on different patterns on the shaft too. You can easily place them in a straight line with your arrow shaft or with an offset angle. Many archers still need to figure out the best offset, straight or spiral vanes on an arrow. Straight vanes are rare and are used by traditional archers. Besides this, these vanes do not provide the same amount of spin as helical or offset.
When we talk about offset fletching, they set the vanes in a straight line on the arrow but with an angle of 4 degrees, which gives you more accuracy and better broad head stabilization during mid-flight.In contrast, helical sets your vanes with an offset in the back, with vanes curving back down the arrow and towards the front.
The twist here on the vanes gives the arrow more spin during flight, which is why helical vanes are becoming one of the most popular options. Few jigs allow you to choose between different styles, while other jigs only fletch arrows in a specific way.
We suggest choosing a jig that is within your budget and suits your style. Get your jig ready by placing fletching inside the jig to ensure it’s ready to attach to the arrow.
3- Prepare the Arrow Shaft
Suppose you are trying to re-fletch old arrows, then grab a sharp knife and start scraping off old fletching and glue from the shaft —slowly and carefully. This removal process may take time before you get all of the previous vanes and glue off.
Now clean your shaft with rubbing alcohol to get it ready for better adhesion. If you are using new shafts, then clean them using rubbing alcohol.
4- Apply Glue and Place Fletching
Once your shafts are clean and ready for fletching, place the shaft inside the jig and use a nock to ensure it is properly fitted. Next, use adequate fletching glue for each vane in the fletching jig.
Close the jig or move the fletching onto the arrow shaft, depending on your type of jig. Make sure that glue and fletching make proper contact with the bare arrow shaft.
5- Add Glue to the Tip and Tail
Let the fletching dry properly. Once it is all done, remove the arrow from the jig and inspect it. If it is all working well, place a little amount of fletching glue at each end of your vane to give it extra adhesion. Using this method will add more strength and durability to your vane.
Follow the above mentioned steps, and you are all set to understand how to fletch an arrow. If you still have any queries, don’t hesitate to write back!