How to Repair Shuttlecocks

Written by elizabeth falwell
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How to Repair Shuttlecocks
This is a picture of a shuttlecock made with real feathers, as opposed to plastic (shuttlecock image by Antonio Oquias from

A shuttlecock is also known as a "birdie" in badminton; it is the piece of equipment badminton players hit with a racket over the net. There are two types of badminton shuttlecocks: those made from man-made materials (like plastic or nylon) and those made from all-natural materials (like goose or duck feathers). Whatever the type, the standard shuttlecock for badminton has 16 "feathers," which are the spoke-like spindles that radiate out from the tip. When one of these feathers is broken, it can be time-consuming to fix.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Replacement feathers
  • Awl
  • Pliers
  • Small pair of scissors
  • Glue

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  1. 1

    Stop play immediately once you realise a feather on the shuttlecock has broken.

  2. 2

    Remove the broken feather using a small pair of pliers, firmly gripping the damaged feather and gently tugging until the feather comes loose.

  3. 3

    Dispose of the old feather.

  4. 4

    Check to see if your replacement feather will fit into the hole left behind by the damaged feather. Using a replacement feather from the same brand/style of shuttlecock will give you the best chance of having a secure fit without taking any other steps.

  5. 5

    Expand the size of the hole using an awl, if necessary.

  6. 6

    Compare the length of the replacement feather with the others already in the shuttlecock. If the replacement feather is longer than the rest, use the small scissors to trim it. If the feather is too short, select a longer feather as a replacement.

  7. 7

    Dab a small amount of glue onto the tip of the replacement feather.

  8. 8

    Slide the replacement feather into the hole. If the hole is still too snug, repeat Step 5.

  9. 9

    Keep a firm grip on the replacement feather until the glue has set. Use superglue for a faster drying time.

Tips and warnings

  • These steps will work for replacing a broken feather on an all-natural shuttlecock or one made from synthetic materials.
  • A shuttlecock with multiple broken feathers may be beyond repair. Shuttlecocks, particularly those made of nylon or plastic, are fairly inexpensive, and it may take more time and effort to repair a broken feather than to buy a new shuttlecock altogether.
  • Save shuttlecocks that you no longer use for replacement parts. The feathers on these shuttlecocks, so long as they are not broken, will make excellent replacements for future repairs.
  • If another part of the shuttlecock breaks, such as the rubber tip, discard the shuttlecock. It will no longer work correctly if the tip is broken and cannot be repaired.

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