Arrow fletching for beginners

Written by nathaniel miller
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Fletching arrows is one of the first steps that arrow-builders can take in learning how to build their own arrows. Vanes provide the needed stability for shooting any distance over a few feet and fletching arrows is not a difficult task to learn. All that is needed are a few simple tools (all available at any outdoor store) and some time and patience. The most basic, three vane helical fletch, is outlined below.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Arrow shafts
  • Fletching tool
  • Fletching tape
  • Fletching glue
  • Feather arrow vanes
  • Fletching tool

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  1. 1

    Place a nocked arrow shaft in the fletching tool stand. Attach the "nock feather" first (which is simply a different colour vane that is used to indicate which way the arrow is to be nocked on the bowstring).

  2. 2

    Place the vane in the fletching tool, put fletching tape on the vane, and then spread a thin layer of fletching glue on top of the tape.

  3. 3

    Place the vane into the fletching tool stand and press the freshly glued vane onto the arrow shaft. Wait approximately 3 minutes to let the glue and tape set.

  4. 4

    Remove the fletching tool from the stand (be careful not to pull off the newly glued vane) and turn the arrow shaft to accomodate the next arrow.

  5. 5

    Repeat Steps 1 through 4--two more times--to complete the three vane, helical fletch on your arrow. Remove the arrow and move onto the next shaft.

Tips and warnings

  • Once you have completed 6 to 12 arrows, you will have become pretty proficient at this particular technique and can begin exploring other fletching patterns and types.
  • Fletching glue and tape sticks best to unpainted surfaces. Avoid painting your arrows unless a full clear coat is also applied to the cresting prior to fletching the arrows.

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