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Chapter IX
Making Arrows—Concluded
Part 5 of 6

Being ready to start feathering, the professional takes up four arrows in his left hand and smears a little hot glue on the feathering part, rubbing it smooth while turning the shaft with the fingers of the left hand, thus providing an even glued surface all around. Then he stands the shafts, nocks up, in a crib or rack for the glue to harden. Meanwhile, he applies glue to other shafts. And having carefully gauged his work, he is able to start his feathering and carry it through in the same sequence without the glue getting ahead of him, or becoming too hard. Here is where a warm room is essential. Be sure the worker will be deft and quick even hardening glue, but after taking each feather from the moist press it must be stuck on the arrow and adjusted before the feather itself dries. In this work I find ample time to glue a set of feathers and straighten them on three shafts before returning to the first of the three to look it over and do any final adjusting.

fig. 19
Click for a larger image

C is shaft, with perpendicular nock. D are the three feathers just glued to shaft. A are the extreme points which form the visual triangle which the eye fixes for setting the feathers equidistant. B are points of the final triangle formed by trimming the feathers.

The term fletcher, by the way, is correct as designating one who feathers arrows. This by authority of both old-time usage and the latest Standard Dictionary. Fletching (not fledging, as some have it) was in old times a business in itself.

The arrow being feathered, the next thing is to cut the feathers to the desired shape. That to-day may be anything under the sun. The balloon shape, which is most used, has long been accepted as the best for ordinary shooting, as at the target. And so, although I believe a heavier feather better for the shorter ranges, we will assume the balloon shape is to be used.