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Thread: Makeshift Arrow Fletching

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    Primitive Hunter Jericho117's Avatar
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    Default Makeshift Arrow Fletching

    If you guys have ever heard of Tom Brown, one of his books explains that if you do not have the materials like feathers to properly fletch arrows, you can use leaves or pine needles to fletch the arrows. I found this very useful. I usually hunt with unfletched arrows and the range on those is 20 feet at the greatest, but I tied on willow leaves with hemp cordage by the lake and I can get distances of about 35 to 40 feet with arrows speeds around 85-90 mph tops. I just wanted to know if you guys have ever tried doing this before and was it useful.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    You can just use the hemp cordage for fletching. Doesn't make for good neck shots though.
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    In it's simplest form (I'm sure this is a very technical subject) a fletching causes drag to stabilize the flight of a long object. You can take a switch and throw it and it will fly end over end. Leave some leaves or a few smaller branches on it and it will fly straighter without going end over end. At work one day we were goofing off and made an arrow out of some bamboo and a nail. We hammered the nail straight and flattened the tip for a slight broad head then split the back of the arrow two ways. I took some thin cardboard and slid in two sides to form a four fletching. It worked fine just throwing it. We didn't have any kind of bow to shoot it from.

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    Good stuff, Atomic and welcome to the forum. We can use your power around here. Why not radiate over to the Introductions section and tell us a bit about yourself?

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    wow rick. i sometimes wonder if you invent some of these newer members just to fit in with your 'intruduce yourself' speach and it's never ending supply of puns. it's ok, you can tell us.
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    I spend all night registering fake members and all day responding to them. Being a moderator is a lonely job. You have to invent your fun. Oh, stumblebum! That would make a good logon. Sorry. Gotta go......

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    I am into some sports that replicate medieval combat including archery with 35lb. maximum pull weight bows. Many archers there use duct tape fletchings and some claim these to be even more durable than plastic! Even if they aren't, you get a zillion of them per roll. I don't know how these would fare at higher velocities, we're using light bows and big, foam-padded arrow heads to keep from killing each other.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    I knew it! Duct tape has been around since medieval times.
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    Haha! Back then it was made of ducks even!

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Hmmmm? Arrows.......ducks.......so that's how they came up with the term "flight of the arrow".
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    Senior Member snakeman's Avatar
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    Ive used redbud leaves as fletching. It worked for a day and then shriveled up and died. Feathers are probably the best but the geese are now gone and cant find much more. How do you attach pine needle fletch. Pine pitch?

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    Primitive Hunter Jericho117's Avatar
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    Snakeman- You would tie on the pine needle fletchings the same way you would feathers, with thin thread like sinew or something else, and you could seal the thread off with boiled pitch. You have to bend the pine needles then tie them on to make a small arch enough to catch the air. It's effective.
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    The four fletching in my arrow came from a primitive archer magazine. They used turkey tail feathers and it seemed like a really easy fix to a problem I was having as to "HOW THE HECK DO THEY GET THEM TO STICK!?!" I have since learned about a few methods Indians used to attach them. One was a 3 fletching made from feathers bound with sinew and fixed with glue. One that would work without splitting the arrow shaft. A big plus I'm sure. I've seen some people on the net use cardboard to space the feathers. They make a couple of pieces with a hole and a Y slot then glue the feather and wrap with sinew. After that they trim out the feather and like magic they have a nice fletching. I think some were making the jigs with leaves and some with bark. Bark would be a better choice I think because you could reuse it but wouldn't be hard to reproduce if you broke the jig.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Nice pic Atomic.
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    Nice. Im not used to seeing an arrow with four fletchings, lol.
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    I dimly recall mention of fletchings being adhered to the shafts of arrows with a glue made from fish. Anyone know more? Recipe maybe? I seem to remember mention of its remarkable stink.

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