We’ve all been there. You go to collect your arrows after firing them on the range, but there are a couple of fletchings missing from them. No big deal, right? You can still shoot with the remaining fletchings you have? Until you remember that the missing fletching will affect the flight of the arrow itself, and therefore affect your accuracy.
Not exactly what you’re after!
You can of course take your arrows to a professional and ask them to fletch these for you. However, you will have to pay for them to do this. Fletching your own arrows is a surprisingly easy job providing you have the right equipment. Why not save yourself a few dollars and do it yourself!
So how do you fletch your own arrows?
First, you will need to ensure that you have all the equipment you need. This will include a fletching jig, fletching glue, and a bag of spare fletchings or vanes. Once you’ve got everything you need, you can start to replace those missing fletchings from your arrows.
You will need to ensure that you clean off any leftover glue that might still be stuck to the arrow shaft. This is easy enough to do. Soak a paper towel with denatured alcohol, then use this to clean the end of the arrow where the missing fletching used to be. This should get rid of any glue that’s still hanging around. Allow the arrow to dry.
Next, you will need to place your new vanes into the fletching jig. Some jigs will only allow you to do a single fletching at a time, whereas other models will allow you to do this with all three fletchings. If you opt for this second style of jig, remember to include the cock fletching – the differently colored fletching – on the correct side of the jig.
Apply a thin, even layer of glue to the fletching in the jig. Now you can add the clean, dry shaft of your arrow to the jig, and lock it in place so that the fletching glues to the correct area. Remember not to apply too much pressure so that you squeeze all of the glue out from under the fletching – you will want it to remain in place.
Allow the glue to dry for at least 30 seconds before removing the arrow from the jig. You may need to clean off any excess glue if this has squeezed out from under the fletching, or any glue that might have gotten onto the fletching jig. If you wanted to improve the durability of your arrows, you could add a small dot of glue to the tail and front end of the fletching.
Voila! You should now have a perfectly fletched arrow. Taking them to your local archery shop will be a thing of the past!
How do you fletch an arrow without a jig?
You may be wondering if it’s possible to fletch your arrows without having to use a jig. While the answer is technically yes, we wouldn’t recommend doing it this way. That’s because you will be making things much more difficult for yourself.
When trying to fletch arrows without a jig, there’s no guarantee that you will be able to get the fletchings in the right place. This will then of course affect their flight, which will in turn affect your accuracy.
Trying to get the fletchings in a consistent place on the arrow shaft will be much more complicated than it will be if you use a jig. Some people recommend using a piece of paper to help you mark the same points on the arrow, but it will save you time and effort by just investing in a fletching jig.
The great news is that you can get a good quality fletching jig for around $30 or so. This shouldn’t break the bank too much, and it will be a piece of equipment that you will use for many years to come. If you’re a keen archer who wants to repair your arrows when fletchings fall off, or you like to make your own arrows from scratch, then you will more than get your money out of it.
When should I replace arrow fletchings?
It should be fairly easy to tell when you need to replace your arrow fletchings. For the majority of the time, fletchings will start to appear loose on the arrow shaft. You may notice the edges of the fletching start to come loose from the rest of the arrow. Or perhaps you might not have noticed that a fletching had become loose, and it falls off as you fire the arrow.
It is worth noting that all fletchings will need to be replaced eventually. If you notice the fletching has become loose, you can remove this using a paper towel soaked in denatured alcohol. Make sure to remove any excess glue that might still be sticking to the arrow shaft, and it should be ready for you to apply new fletchings.
Remember to avoid getting the denatured alcohol near your other fletchings if these are fine, as you may then need to replace these too.
The general rule of thumb is that your fletchings likely need to be replaced after a year or so. If you shoot more often, then your fletchings will have dealt with a lot more wear, and will need to be replaced sooner.
How do you adjust a fletching jig?
How you adjust your fletching jig will vary depending on the model that you have. It will always be best to examine the user manual thoroughly before you attempt to fletch your new set of arrows, just to ensure that you are using the equipment correctly.
Most models will feature a set of screws that can be adjusted using hex keys. This is so that you can get the right measurements to adjust for the diameter of your particular set of arrows. A fletching jig should also allow you to adjust for certain angles so that you can place the fletchings at the correct points along your arrow shaft.
It will be important to note what type of fletching jig you have. This is because different jigs will have different adjustment methods, so this makes it doubly important to check the manual to ensure that you are able to get your fletchings in the right place.
And there you have it! You now know that it is actually super simple to fletch your own arrows, providing you have the correct equipment in your possession. While some archers have tried to fletch their own arrows without a jig, this isn’t recommended. You will be able to get better, more accurate results if you invest in a fletching jig to help you get the fletchings in the right place.
Another factor to remember is that you will need to adjust your jig depending on the arrows that you have. If your arrow shafts are thicker in diameter, the jig will need to be adjusted to accommodate these. You may also need to adjust the positioning of the vanes or fletchings, too. It will be much easier to fletch your own arrows if you use a fletching jig.