The Archery Library
Old Archery Books, Articles and Prints
Home > Books > The Flat Bow > Arrows
Part 4 of 8

Now a jig to hold the arrow while setting the feathers in place is needed. In Figure 63 is shown one made of a box. the sides of which have been cut down to about 2 in. in height. In the center at one end, and 1/4 in. from the upper edge, a hole 5/16 in. in diameter has been bored. This is to take the nock end of the arrow, and a small piece of wood should be fastened over the outside of the box, so that the arrow, when placed in position, cannot slide through. At the other end, a V is cut. This should be deep enough so that the arrow lying in it will be parallel with the sides of the box. This box will also be used in painting crests.

The next step is to locate the positions of the vanes on the shaft. See Figures 61 and 64. Draw a line around the shaft 1 1/4 in. from the nock end and another 2 in. or so beyond that, depending upon how long the vanes are to be. Then run a line for the cock feather which should be located at right angles to the nock, using the fingers for a guide. The other two feathers should be located 1/3 of the circumference each side of the cock feather. See Figure 65. With a little practice, it will be found easy to locate the positions of the three feathers. Next place the shaft in the box. If Dupont's household cement is to be used, run it along the stem of the vane, by holding the vane in the left hand and gently squeezing the cement out of the tube while moving it along. See Figure 66. One must work fast as this cement dries quickly, so as soon as the cement has been put on the vane, place the feather along the mark on the shaft. Be careful that the vane is perfectly straight and even, and press it down firmly on the shaft. If the right amount of cement is used, it will set in a short time. If too little is used, it will not hold well, while too much takes quite a while to set. The film of cement should be approximately 1/32 in. thick. Watch the vane for a few moments after letting go of it, to see that it is well fastened. Some fletchers use pins to hold the vanes in place until the glue has set properly. Then proceed to put on the other two. If possible, use a white feather for the cock feather. The other two should be natural dark feathers. If casein or fish glue is used, it is necessary to use pins to hold the feathers in place until the glue is dry.

As the fletching on each arrow is finished, set it up on the drying board shown in Figure 67. This is made by boring 5/16-in. holes 3/4 in. deep in a board 1 in. or more in thickness.

Next cut a brass or tin template to the shape chosen for the feathers. Lay this on the feather with the straight edge against the shaft, and trim off whatever extends beyond it. with a sharp shears. Figure 68 shows some of the shapes in use.

Trim off the forward end of each vane, where it is glued to the shaft, very carefully. Rough ends at these points may cut the archer's hand while shooting.