Elk NetworkHow to Fletch Your Own Arrows

Gear 101 | July 25, 2018

Fletching your own arrows affords you more control over your projectile’s flight. That control leads to tighter groups and presumably more accurate shots afield. We took a short drive to our local archery shop, Straight 6 Archery in Missoula, Montana, where owner Casey Smith showed us just how easy it is to fletch your own. He charges $48 to fletch a dozen arrows. For the cost of fletching two-dozen arrows, you can give it a try yourself. PrepIf you’re fletching arrows with torn, bent or missing vanes, first remove all vanes—not just the damaged ones. (Scrape) Use a utility knife and be sure the blade isn’t digging into the shaft. A small angle and a little pressure is all you need to get the vane and glue chunks off. (Sand) Then, use fine sandpaper (336) and lightly sand off the residue. (Clean) Finally, dab some odorless mineral spirits on a shop towel, wipe clean and then dry with a clean shop towel. ScrapeSandCleanOnce the shafts are prepped, choose two light-colored vanes and another of a different color, which will be the cock vane. The jigs pictured here are Bitzenberger Fletchmasters ($100/each). There are other jigs that fletch three or four vanes at once, such as the Bohning Tower, but for simplicity, we’ll be using the Bitzenberger because it attaches one vane at a time. In all honesty, thanks to the fast-setting Gorilla Glue, each jig takes about the same amount of time to fletch an arrow. This jig labeled “2” is angled just enough to produce a helical twist on the vane, which produces arrow spin sooner than a straight vane after release.Two light-colored vanes & one darkBitzenberger FletchmastersBegin by setting the screw to three vanes by tightening the 120-degree screw. Place the nock securely in the notch. Set the vane in the clamp and test its location, making sure it seats evenly on the shaft. Our pro shop had used a Sharpie to mark where they wanted the rear of the vane to sit. Tighten the 120-degree screwPlace the knock securely in the notchWhen you have the vane seated, remove the clamp from the magnets, dab four dots of glue (less is more) and spread it evenly with a paper clip. Place the clamp back on the magnets and slide the whole thing down to seat the vane. Use a Q-tip to wipe any excess glue from the sides. A little excess glue in front is good because it creates a smooth transition for airflow from shaft to vane. In less than a minute, the glue is dry. Pinch the clamp, twist the arrow, place it back in the notch and repeat. Be sure to wipe off any remaining glue from the arrow shaft and clamp.
Spread four dabs of glue evenlyWipe off remaining excess