Archery Question

Discussion in 'Hobbies' started by Cathartica, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Cathartica

    Cathartica Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 8, 2011
    I've been doing archery long enough that I'd like to get into making some of my own arrows. Shafts and fieldpoints will be purchased, but I would like to use feathers harvested from hunting or the neighbor's domestic fowl.
    So far I've read lots about using turkey feathers, and heard mention that perhaps goose was used historically... does anybody here fletch their own arrows?
    Can I use goose feathers? how about chicken? chaucer makes reference to arrows fletched with peacock feathers, but I think that flight of fancy is more fancy than flight.

    what do you use?
     
  2. becky3086

    becky3086 Crested Crazy

    Oct 14, 2008
    Thomson, GA
    Being the Administrator of a self sufficiency forum, your question had me intrigued. I am always interested in doing anything yourself. Upon looking it up, however, fletching arrows seems to be a difficult thing to do needing something called a fletching jig, however a lot of the Indians tied theirs on. I can't seem to find a lot on what feathers to use but this site tells a lot about what size, which wing and how to fletch.
    http://www.trueflightfeathers.com/guide.htm

    and then leads you to this page which tells you more about the feathers
    http://www.trueflightfeathers.com/facts.htm

    I am not sure I helped any, you may have already seen these pages. It seems to me from reading on this that the size and shape of the feather and how you apply it mean more than where you get the feather from.
     
  3. chickened

    chickened Overrun With Chickens

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    I have done it with turkey feathers and it turned out fine. There is some pointers to observe and you should be able to have good success as it really is not hard. The one thing you will need to buy is a feather burner or a jig to shape the feathers. Turkey feathers look cool because of the barring. Other bird feathers are not as good because the quills are too thin. Fletching the arrows will take a good jig and there are several but the one I use is called a Bitzenburger Jig and is hard to find but are very adjustable. Good luck maybe post some pictures of them when you are done.
     
  4. AngelaB

    AngelaB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 4, 2011
    Michigan
    We use a jig, but usually use vanes or buy feathers.
     
  5. Cathartica

    Cathartica Out Of The Brooder

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    I spent an entire summer's worth of free time refletching old arrows with plastic vanes, no jig. I did over 1000 of them that year. I've got a pretty steady hand, and I've gotten pretty good at mcguyvering a way to keep the vanes from touching anything while the glue dries. the clamp on the end of my work bench should be sufficient for me. As for trimming the feathers, I'd like to just try hand trimming them. I'll trim one to the shape I'm looking for, lay it on the other feather and dust them with chalk/flour so when I lift the first feather I'll have the outline of the shape.
    Actually, the thing holding me up the most at the moment is shafts!
     
  6. cameron

    cameron Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you found a source for the shafts yet? I build arrows from scratch to use for longbow competitions. I can point you to some good dealers.
     
  7. chickened

    chickened Overrun With Chickens

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    Traditional archers in my area use Port Orford cedar.
     
  8. Cathartica

    Cathartica Out Of The Brooder

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    still gathering resources, I'd love to hear your recommendations! ^_^
     
  9. chickened

    chickened Overrun With Chickens

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  10. Ole and Lena

    Ole and Lena Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 22, 2011
    Wright Co Minnesota
    The traditional materials in my area among the Ojibwe and Dakotah tribes were: red osier dogwood or witch hazel fire cured for the shafts. Turkey feathers for heavy hunting points and Canada goose or Swan feathers for small game and long range war arrows with smaller points. Points and fletch were attached with fine sinew strips and rendered hoof glue or pine tar.


    I fletch my own modern arrows and have helped with the local school that does a native immersion course where the kids get to practice indian crafts and wigwam camp for a full week. This year we built a bow and arrows from scratch along Dakota plains tribe lines that would have effectively killed whitetail deer at moderate range. Draw weight was 37 pounds at 28" draw and easily penetrated a foam 3D deer target with a rather crude hand knapped glass arrowhead made from a wine bottle we found in the woods. We cheated on the bow and arrows and used split cedar and strapping tape (the kind with the cords) instead of sinew. Fletched with Canada goose wing feathers. The biggest trick with fletching is to get the right amount of drag. Heavier arrows need more fletching to stabilize but will shed velocity faster. Lighter arrows are more efficient with smaller, more streamlined fletch.

    You can make a stickbow to propel small light arrows at short distance with split cedar and pigeon wing feathers. Hammer an empty .22 shell around the tip of the shaft to make a target point, leave it flat for small birds and critters. Make your bow from black ash. No, I didn't have many toys as a child, So I made my own!
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011

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