How to Fletch Your Own Arrows: The Tools and Knowledge you need to Become an Expert Arrow Fletcher
- 02 Jan, 2017
The options are seemingly endless when it comes to fletching arrows. Color variations, fletching lengths, wraps, and deciding on whether to use feathers or vanes are all decisions archers and hunters must consider. Looking beyond all of the options when it comes down to actually fletching your arrows the process is pretty straightforward. The best step for success is to ensure you are adequately equipped with the right tools. Having the right tools will help make the job easier and more efficient.
You will need:
- Fletchings (Vanes or Feathers)
- Fletching Adhesive
- Fletching Jig
- Cleaning solution
- Fine grit sanding paper
- Pocket knife
- A mouse pad or other similar surface item
Cleaning & Wrapping the Arrow
Now that we have an idea of what we need for the job we can begin the process of fletching our own arrows. If you are re-fletching your arrows, the first thing you will want to do is to remove any pre-existing fletching and wrap. Taking a pocket knife or other knife that isn’t extremely sharp begin to scrape the fletching and wrap off the arrow at a steep angle to ensure you do not puncture the actual shaft of the arrow. Once you have successfully removed the fletching and wrap from the shaft, I find it useful to apply denatured alcohol to the arrow to get the working surface as clean as possible. After a few wipe downs you can then take super fine sandpaper and just gently make one revolution around the surface. Then finish up with one more wipe down with the denatured alcohol. Taking the time to clean the area will help setup for a successful fletching of your arrows.
Moving forward we can now take our cleaned arrow, or new arrow and begin the actual fletching process. The first step is to put a new wrap on the arrow. You do not have to use wraps, but it adds an aesthetic look and serves as a barrier between your shaft and fletching. Using a mouse pad or something similar lay the wrap on the mouse pad and roll the part of the shaft that you want to fletch over the wrap. Using a softer surface like a mouse pad helps prevent bubbles from forming on the wrap when you roll it onto your arrow.
In order to properly align the fletching onto the arrow you will need a Fletching Jig, there are many options available so finding one that fits your needs and price point is a good place to start if you do not have one already. As far as needs go you can decide on whether you prefer helical (slight twist in the vanes, see photo to the left with the yellow vanes) or straight fletching alignment as well as the length of vanes you prefer and from their buy the Jig accordingly. Depending on what type of Jig you have, applying the fletching will vary. Some Jigs have three notches where you put each fletching in place, apply adhesive and apply to the shaft, while other Jigs require more manual labor as you apply one fletching at a time. The important part to remember here is that each fletching is properly aligned on the arrow shaft and you do not apply to little or too much adhesive. This may take a couple of practice rounds, but you will get the hang of it! I find it helpful to use a glue bottle with a very fine tip to help control the flow of adhesive. If using a Jig that requires you to put on each vane one at a time, I recommend letting the fletching sit anywhere from 1-5 minutes to ensure a strong bond between vane and shaft. Remember to consider the distance between the start of the fletching compared to the nock. Some prefer up to an 1-1/4” while others like the distance to be shorter, this is something that you can experiment with to find what fits you best.
Fletching your own arrows is a very rewarding experience. Now that you are equipped with the basic knowledge go ahead and give it a try and remember practice makes perfect! Fletching your own arrows will give you a better insight into flight accuracy as well as save you time and money from having to rely on a local pro shop to get the job done.
Foundry Outdoors is your trusted home for buying archery, camping, fishing, hunting, shooting sports, and outdoor gear online.
We offer cheap ammo and bulk ammo deals on the most popular ammo calibers. We have a variety of deals on Rifle Ammo, Handgun Ammo, Shotgun Ammo & Rimfire Ammo, as well as ammo for target practice, plinking, hunting, or shooting competitions. Our website lists special deals on 9mm Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 45-70 Ammo, 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, 300 Blackout Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 5.56 Ammo, Underwood Ammo, Buffalo Bore Ammo and more special deals on bulk ammo.
We offer a 100% Authenticity Guarantee on all products sold on our website. Please email us if you have questions about any of our product listings.