Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

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Post by ninja-elbow » Sun Apr 06, 2008 7:32 pm

Hun Archery?
Sort of. I have my Mongol bow and want to start shooting it with a thumb release as opposed to the normal 2-3 finger. I need a thumb ring - and I don't want to buy one. 8) (because of my huge thumb mainly) I've seen how they are made and I'm pretty sure I can make one.

No horse though.

I'm also interested in a gyrotos (quiver and bow case in one) but I believe my Mongol bow is too big ... so I will need to buy a shorter Scythian style bow!

I've worn them before when I did a Scythian persona in my reenacting days and those things are definetly made for a horseman and not a foot archer.

BTW, I will add to your great instructions with a self-nock tutorial by May. Not much time right now. :cry:
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Post by phoenixmastm » Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:48 pm

Ad'lan. A field archery guide would be kickass, but That will be in a seperate .pdf if I can do it. :D

I'm still gonna wait, even though it may take a long while, for that last bit of the bowmaking guide. However, I'm gonna get the others all set up and ready.
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Post by smiffy » Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:07 am

Ad'lan wrote: Spine
An Arrows spine is it's flexibility. It is important because of the Archers Paradox. This is the way an arrow flexes when it is first loosed, bending around the bow, before it finally straightens out and flys true.

But this is only happens if the arrow is the right 'spine' the right bendyness. If it is to stiff (for a Right hand shooter) it will hit left of the mark. If it is to bendy, it will hit right.

I'm not a physicist, so I can't really explain it very well. Look it up if you are interested, we archers got along fine without understanding it for thousands of years. I don't really need to change that now.
There used to be an excellent description of the Paradox and the effects of spine thereon on the bilingual website of a Dutch Students' archery club, however, it's not there anymore and even internet archive has masses of dead links. I'll keep looking...

Ad'lan: Do you know where one can find look-up tables of Spine-vs-Head weight-vs-arrow length?
When I went to Richard Head (I've since been advised to avoid buying stuff from him, but that's another story) with the intent of making mediaevial-oid horn-insert knocks he revised his suggested arrow overall-length twice; once when I suggested a thicker shaft to give me greater lee-way inserting the horn sliver, and again when he saw (and weighed) the "mod-bod" heads I was planning to fit.
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Post by Ad'lan » Tue Apr 08, 2008 12:51 pm

Nope, sorry, don't use them myself, and your google foo is just as strong as mine. I doubt you'll find any good ones for wood arrows, different woods, different climates, wood is too variable. There are maybe some for Carbon and Aluminium Arrows (Check the manufactuers sites, and forums, maybe).

But judging spine is somthing that really, and especially if you are a traditional archer, you should just learn. Err on the side of to sitff (it;s easier to compensate for), and learn as you go. Sorry I can't be more helpful.
My Guide to making your own Bowstring
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My Guide to Fletching
My Guide to Primitive Fletching
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Post by smiffy » Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:15 pm

Ad'lan wrote:Nope, sorry, don't use them myself, and your google foo is just as strong as mine. I doubt you'll find any good ones for wood arrows, different woods, different climates, wood is too variable. There are maybe some for Carbon and Aluminium Arrows (Check the manufactuers sites, and forums, maybe).

But judging spine is somthing that really, and especially if you are a traditional archer, you should just learn. Err on the side of to sitff (it;s easier to compensate for), and learn as you go. Sorry I can't be more helpful.
Ack! Yes - a reference table for wooden arrows would be v.difficult to write up, even if the stiffness of the shaft were known (Young's modulus probably works in the lab, while I've heard of an old-fangled thing called GNAS-units, but I daresay the N.Ameicans use yet another system on top of their own interpretation of the Imperial system...) as density can still vary independently.

Thanks anyway. More fool me for looking for a short-cut to hard-learnt knowledge.

With modern materials there are certainly charts to refer to. The Quicks catalogue has a reproduction of the Easton (IIRC) spine table in the back, but this is not perfect: my old archery coach told me that a few years ago it had error-bars on it, showing its background as an empirical table, but these were omitted after these confused too many non-scientists.

Thinking about it further, a standard table based on uniform-cylinder wooden shaftswould still be unhelpful on a future project that I have in mind - barrelled or breasted shafts - as apparently the best arrows had in bygone days.
Oh, the headaches this presents! Even if both spine and total arrow-weight match nicely, the flight path may be quite different for fluid-dynamic reasons if the profile of the shafts differs...

:?
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Post by Ad'lan » Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:44 am

There's a reason I did this guide before doing the primitive Fletching guide because you need the judgement and experiance to make primitive arrows, and making modern arrows this way is the easiest of two ways to gain it.

The other way is to sit around the campfire with the elders of the tribe and make arrows every night for years and have them tell you how you are doing it wrong :D. Not really possible for most of us.

Build a Few sets of arrows, till you get a feel for how the spine works, after 3 or four sets of arrows, it'll seem pretty instinctive, you'll just think:

Okay, I want a 1/2" shaft going down to 3/8" and I'll spine them to 80lb, but then I'll add three coats of varnish to stiffen them up and I can use a Heavy head. If it's too whippy at first, I'll bring it down from 32" to 30"


And then you'll build the arrow.


Thats my advice, build and learn.


Also, I very rarely change my arrow length, I don't like them longer than my draw length and obviously, I don't use them shorter than my draw length.
My Guide to making your own Bowstring
My Guide to making your own Flint Arrowheads
My Guide to Fletching
My Guide to Primitive Fletching
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Re: Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

Post by cernan » Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:15 am

Hi there.
i really liked this thread, but wondered if it would be possible to tweak this method to produce shortend pistol crossbow bolts?
cheers!

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Re: Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

Post by Ad'lan » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:59 am

Yes, yes it can, though to be honest, pistol crossbows arn't very concistant in make or design, and I've never made crossbow bolts, so I have no idea on spining, appropriate length, sources of materials ect.

I have seen some interesting crossbow bolts, made with wooden fletching.
My Guide to making your own Bowstring
My Guide to making your own Flint Arrowheads
My Guide to Fletching
My Guide to Primitive Fletching
Cymro wrote:Seriously, I'm not sure I'd fuck with Ad'lan if he had his bow with him. I just don't see that ending well.
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Re: Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

Post by cernan » Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:35 am

cheers!
i will give a crack and post the results!

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Re: Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

Post by Gun_Nut_2k1 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:39 pm

nice
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Post by SeaTea1967 » Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:23 pm

Ad'lan wrote:There are three main Shaft Choices.
Wood, Aluminium and Carbon. Of the Three, Wood is the Cheapest (And IMO the coolest) Carbon the Best, and Aluminium the Crapest.
Maybe I spent too little on my carbons, but after I had one literally EXPLODE on me (compound bow), shredding my arm and scaring the living crap out of me in the process... I tend to stick to aluminum. I can handle bent, I can't handle exploded.

:D

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Re: Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

Post by Ad'lan » Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:40 am

When I started shooting Carbons off my hand, I had people come and warn me, how I would get terrible carbon splinters, how I'd really hurt my hand, how the Carbon wasn't designed for a Longbow, and would explode. How it was heresy to shoot anything other than wood off a Longbow (that last one is true).

I dunno how long ago you tried carbons, but all the warnings I got were from people who used carbons when they first came out, in the first decade or so of Carbons existance, they did indeed, have many of the problems, splintering, exploding. But now, it takes a lot to make them brake, and thats the only time you need to look out for splinters now.

My mentor is building a set of Aluminiums, mainly because of cost, though as he's building them not as hunting arrows, but as a base line to build some wood arrows for a new bow from, it makes sense.
My Guide to making your own Bowstring
My Guide to making your own Flint Arrowheads
My Guide to Fletching
My Guide to Primitive Fletching
Cymro wrote:Seriously, I'm not sure I'd fuck with Ad'lan if he had his bow with him. I just don't see that ending well.
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Re: Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

Post by phoenixmastm » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:15 pm

The fishing store me and my dad visit has a large selection of pre-done arrows. I'm gonna go asking around, as my dad's a good friend with the bowyer/fletcher there.

I'm pretty sure they sell just straight carbon arrows, though they may sell aluminum as well. Not so sure on the wood arrows, they have to cater to the rich & bored (i.e. those who don't shoot traditional or who shoot really really expensive crap).
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Re: Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

Post by colinz » Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:43 pm

NIce write up Adlan, kinda makes me want to get the bits just so I can have a go at making an arrow or two. Not that I can use a bow to save my life, just to say I've done it. :)

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Re: Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

Post by IAmWillIAm » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:10 am

Using Ad'lans and a few other tutorials out on the net I managed to fletch some arrows of my own. I chronicled what I did in this instructable I created: http://www.instructables.com/id/Tools-and-Materials/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Hope this helps anyone looking to fletch their own arrows.

ETA: OOps, forgot this: Ad'lan suggested that I mention something about shaft choice, I'm not an expert when it comes to this, so I googled arrow shaft choice and am linking this: http://www.stickbow.com/stickbow/arrowb ... /wood.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Post by Darxus » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:25 pm

smiffy wrote: Ad'lan: Do you know where one can find look-up tables of Spine-vs-Head weight-vs-arrow length?
http://www.3riversarchery.com/pdf/ArrowCharts.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Has a carbon / aluminum table, and a wood table.

That file says it's just a guideline, and they recommend that you test a few to find what actually works best.
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Re: Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

Post by Gingerbread Man » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:36 pm

One of these days, hopefully next year, I'm going to buy a tradition recurve wooden bow. I've owned a compound and really liked it. I'll prolly get one of those too, anyway. Here's my question, for longevity what material would be best for the arrows and what would be the best wood to buy for the bow? I'm looking at spending between $300-500 for the bow itself.

Likewise, are the take down worth a damn?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

Post by Ad'lan » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:14 pm

Regular Guy wrote:One of these days, hopefully next year, I'm going to buy a tradition recurve wooden bow. I've owned a compound and really liked it. I'll prolly get one of those too, anyway. Here's my question, for longevity what material would be best for the arrows
Aluminium I would think, but I don't use it much myself. A well looked after set of arrows can last years, however, loosing arrows is a major problem, loosing and breaking, when you shoot a lot. I've had fletchings where out, and heads break, but never had shaft material actually fail me.
Regular Guy wrote: and what would be the best wood to buy for the bow? I'm looking at spending between $300-500 for the bow itself.
Osage, I'd reckon, if you want just one wood. But for that price, you could get something like a Fred Bear Recurvel (disclosing interest, I was sponsored by Fred Bear with a free Super Kodiak. There are other, many fine bowyers out there, and second hand can net you an absolute steel.). Traditional doesn't usually extend beyond design. My own Trad Recurve is Rock Maple and Fibreglass. Bows made from Authentic Materials are usually called 'Primitive'.
Regular Guy wrote: Likewise, are the take down worth a damn?
They Can be, they were what I learned on, and the top line ones (like Black Widow) are phenomenal. There are pro's and con's to each one. If you want to travel with it... well, I had a hell of time getting my longbow through UK customs.
My Guide to making your own Bowstring
My Guide to making your own Flint Arrowheads
My Guide to Fletching
My Guide to Primitive Fletching
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Re: Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

Post by Watch Ryder » Sun Nov 22, 2015 11:04 pm

Ad, what's your experience in fletching using goose feathers?

I've just managed to score 250 of them that are between 5 - 7 inches! :)

I've read that they are the traditional choice for medieval fletchers. They aren't as sexy as Turkey feathers on the looks but seem nice enough...

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Re: Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

Post by Ad'lan » Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:33 am

Watch Ryder wrote:Ad, what's your experience in fletching using goose feathers?

I've just managed to score 250 of them that are between 5 - 7 inches! :)

I've read that they are the traditional choice for medieval fletchers. They aren't as sexy as Turkey feathers on the looks but seem nice enough...
I haven't had good goose to use since we ate the last one on the farm. Goose is superior to Turkey, IMO. Stronger, and if t's a wet goose, water proof.

What's your source, and what's their condition, do you have pictures, do you have to split and trim yourself? Are they all primary's? Are they all the same wing. What do you want in trade for some :D

If they are bought online, I've got to say I found many were sold as primary, but weren't. Especially in the smaller sizes.
My Guide to making your own Bowstring
My Guide to making your own Flint Arrowheads
My Guide to Fletching
My Guide to Primitive Fletching
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Re: Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

Post by Watch Ryder » Mon Nov 23, 2015 4:17 pm

Ad'lan wrote:
Watch Ryder wrote:Ad, what's your experience in fletching using goose feathers?

I've just managed to score 250 of them that are between 5 - 7 inches! :)

I've read that they are the traditional choice for medieval fletchers. They aren't as sexy as Turkey feathers on the looks but seem nice enough...
Goose is superior to Turkey, IMO. Stronger, and if t's a wet goose, water proof.

What's your source, and what's their condition, do you have pictures, do you have to split and trim yourself? Are they all primary's? Are they all the same wing. What do you want in trade for some :D

If they are bought online, I've got to say I found many were sold as primary, but weren't. Especially in the smaller sizes.
Hmm, well when I asked the seller questions about which wing they didn't have a clue. Not sure if it's a primary wing either. They do correspond to an incremental size by each bag (indicating a birds wing?).
I can only hope they'll be worthy of fletching. I'll nip out and get some pictures later. I hope I haven't made a mistake buying them, the price was *only* £2.45 for 50!!!! :) I bagged 5 packets worth!

I'd have bagged 20 but I wasn't sure on the quality etc...

This is the show-picture:

Image

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Re: Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

Post by Ad'lan » Mon Nov 23, 2015 5:19 pm

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if that's what you've got, you've got tertiary or secondary feathers. You can fletch with them, I've certainly fletched with worse, but they won't have the stiffness you really need, nor will they last long.

I wish I had the photo's to show you, next time I buy goose wings, I'll have to do a guide for ZS.

Here's a drawing though:
Image

Primaries are really the only ones suitable for fletching, and usually not all of them. A dead give away is if they are a-symmetrical. The more symmetrical they get, the closer to the body they are, the less work they had to do and so the worse for fletching they are.

They can make great Flu-Flu's though (splicing may be necessary). Don't be discouraged because they aren't A-grade material, seems like you got them for a good price and it's for your own personal use, so if you need to refletch after a couple of shoots, it's not the end of the world.

For goose primary's, untrimmed, they are usually sold as 9" minium, and usually 11"+. You'll probably only get 4" of fletch out of those feathers at best. I'd guess you'll get an unsorted set of bags, but it might be all one wing in each bag. So long as you keep it consistent for each arrow (or if you are really perfectionist, each sheaf of arrows) you're all good.


For splitting them, I think my primitive fletching guide has some pictures (using pigeon... see, I said I'd fletched with worse). You probably won't need to sand or trim the core down much either (I learned a neat way to do it, fast).

You are also right that goose is the traditional flight for medieval arrows, so much so that it's a "Grey Goose Shaft" in some contemporary references.

When I was across the pond, I got a bunch of these (Literally, cheaper by the dozen).
http://www.featherplace.com/feather-typ ... tural.html

I haven't found a UK supplier, nor am I in a position to deal with them, but when I next go on a fletching binge, that's what I'll do. Or order ready made from an archery supplier.
My Guide to making your own Bowstring
My Guide to making your own Flint Arrowheads
My Guide to Fletching
My Guide to Primitive Fletching
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Re: Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

Post by Watch Ryder » Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:20 pm

Well I'm hoping to sell these, I still will. I'll just make an annotation the fletchings were taken from secondary / tertiary wings. :)

This leads me to my next direction and something that the UK has plenty of:

Seagull feathers! ;)

They'll be the name of the game and I have a rich supply not too far away...

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Re: Ad'lans Guide to Fletching (Arrowmaking)

Post by Watch Ryder » Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:33 pm

Here's a nice example I should be 'aiming' for:

Image

Pun intended. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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