When you start shooting archery, it’s all about fun and flinging arrows. As you progress, you’ll steadily fine-tune your form and equipment to improve your accuracy.
Soon, your new hobby is all you’ll think about. It consumes more of your free time as you learn details and explore your gear options.
Building your own arrows further engages your archery fascination. It’s a fun, productive way to spend an evening while watching a movie or archery tournament. Your efforts will be rewarded when you shoot your handmade arrows the first time.
The process starts at the archery shop, where staff members help you choose the right arrow shaft and components for your bow. Then they’ll cut the shafts to your draw length and install the points. The rest of the work is up to you. Let’s discuss how it’s done.
What You Need:
Choose Your Fletching
While you’re at the archery store, pick out your fletching. You can choose feathers or plastic vanes in different sizes, shapes and colors.
If you choose feathers, you can choose between right- and left-wing feathers. Both are equally accurate, but you must choose one and stick with it for all your arrows.
Setting Up Your Jig
To attach your fletching to the shaft you’ll need a jig that aligns each fletching in a precise, consistent location. Fletching jigs have a base that holds the arrow shaft, and a clamp that holds the fletching against the shaft.
Clamps are available in straight or helical. A helical clamp creates an arrow that spins faster, which stabilizes the arrow quickly but creates more drag. If you shoot feathers, make sure you choose a right helical clamp for right-wing feathers and a left helical clamp for left-wing feathers. A straight clamp creates an arrow with less drag, which is ideal for shooting long distances.
Read the fletching jig’s instructions to learn how to set it up for your arrows. If you have questions, ask the archery shop’s pros to walk you through the process. They’ll even help you set up the jig.
You’ll glue the fletching to the arrow shafts. For the best adhesion, clean the shafts with rubbing alcohol or special shaft-prep products sold by archery shops. These cleaners remove dirt, oils and films that hinder bonding or prevent glue from setting. Some vanes require special treatment before gluing, so ask the pros about your vanes.
Stick it and Repeat
You’re now ready to fletch your arrows. Place a shaft in the jig and a fletching in the clamp. Run a thin glue bead down the length of the fletching. Lightly tap the fletching on a paper towel to remove excess glue. Place the clamp on the jig, applying slight pressure to seat the fletching against the shaft. Let the glue dry, and repeat the process with your next fletching.
Isn’t that easy? Your new arrows will look great, and every bull’s-eye you shoot will feel more satisfying. If you’re ready to start making arrows, visit an archery retailer to get the supplies and instructions you need.