Feather Fletch 101

dlee56

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Hey All, I'm making the switch from an ILF recurve to a custom longbow from Poison Dart this spring. I've built all my own arrows for years with my compound and have been using trad vanes with my ILF setup but I want to switch to feathers for my longbow.

I have no experience in fletching feathers so I'm hoping to get a breakdown? Where to get them, what size and shape you like, what fetching jig you use, any info is welcomed. Thank you!
 

Rob5589

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Sep 6, 2014
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W Sac CA
Hey All, I'm making the switch from an ILF recurve to a custom longbow from Poison Dart this spring. I've built all my own arrows for years with my compound and have been using trad vanes with my ILF setup but I want to switch to feathers for my longbow.

I have no experience in fletching feathers so I'm hoping to get a breakdown? Where to get them, what size and shape you like, what fetching jig you use, any info is welcomed. Thank you!
I'm switching to feathers from trad vanes. I reached out to Cody at Trad Lab and his suggestion based on testing was 2 or 3" 4 fletch 90* Trueflights. I ordered 2" shield cuts and will be using my Bitz at 90*. 3Rivers has all kinds of them.
 

galamb

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Mar 28, 2022
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Inverary, Ontario, Canada
I typically fletch with 5" parabolic but mostly because that was "THE fletch" back when I started shooting longbow in early 1970's (switched to recurve in the late 90's).

If you bare shaft tune your arrow at your chosen distance that will usually tell you how much feather you need. I could probably get away with 2 or 3 inch and they would steer just fine but I just like the look of the long feather and I don't shoot at anything alive further than 25 yards so no downside.

And I do shoot with a bit more weight up front (95 grain insert on Victory VAP TKO 340's with a 125 grain head from a 51 lb recurve - love traditional bows but shoot modern arrows) so the longer feathers stabilize the heavier front end better.

And second 3 Rivers Archery for feathers - they have an extensive variety.

PS - I use a Blitzenburger with a Right Helical clamp because I shoot right wing (which conventional wisdoms says is the "wrong wing" for a right handed shooter but given that most single bevel broadheads, if you want to go that route, are right bevel, the wing needs to match or they don't work properly)
 
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dlee56

dlee56

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Awesome thanks! Has anyone used a Arizona EZ fletch with feathers?
 

galamb

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Inverary, Ontario, Canada
I have never used the EZ-Fletch but no reason it wouldn't work - just get the helical (direction) you want and go for it. I believe they have a model that will work better with shorter feathers if that is the route you go then the (regular) model that does the 5" feathers.

I do prefer the Blitz because you can (tweak) a few different aspects, but I'm the type that is "always messing with something" and never totally satisfied with my arrow builds :)

(and I have a couple different "clamps" (which are relatively cheap) for the Blitz so I can fletch straight offset for crossbow or left wing if fletching for someone else - the EZ would require a second tool - so really depends how you plan to use your fletcher)
 
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dlee56

dlee56

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I have a Bitz but I've been messing around with the EZ in the last few months. I'll probably try both.

Is there any special maintenance with feathers?
 

Cheechako

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Feb 15, 2021
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Anchorage, ak
i’ve used the ez fletch with commercial feathers and it works just fine. it’s harder to adjust where you want the fletchings on the shaft compared to a bitzenberger, but other then that no complaints.
 

Stoney920

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Mar 1, 2019
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I’ve fletched some of mine myself but I’ve bought some from Gary Hall at D&M Custom arrows with a 5” shield cut and they fly awesome, they have a little more noise but steer like nobody’s business. I’ll bet if you get in touch with Gary he could give you some insight even if your not buying from him, great guy.
 

GilG

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Dec 22, 2020
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I have used a Bearpaw jig and a Bitz. Like the stability of the Bitz but the Bearpaw is easier to adjust. If you make 6 fletch fluflus, the Bearpaw has that option
 

wytx

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Feb 2, 2017
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Wyoming
Jo Jan multi fletcher works pretty well and you can do 6 at once.
I use 4", 4 fletch feathers for my long bow arrows.
Spouse has used the Arizona fletcher on his feathers.
 

Solitude

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Northern CA
Dlee56,

I use a Bitz with feathers…no issues. If it’s what you know, I would say stay the course.

FYI-I have an E-Z-Fletch too. Just like the Bitz as I can adjust the feather location and run 4 fletch if I want.
 

slatty

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Mar 21, 2018
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British Columbia
I use 4 fletch 3" tradvanes.
For years I shot 3 fletch 5" shield cut feathers. I think they're the best looking arrow. I appreciate the tradvanes for the wind and rain resistance which is why I switched. I use a bitz.
 

Wrench

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WA
I run 4x2" at 90* when I run feathers. I prefer trad vanes to hunt with....but it can rain on me more than a lot of places.

I use a bitz.

With feathers, pay attention to the finish where the quill was sanded. Sometimes there is a large area there and it can be hard on hands or easy to catch.
 

Kdf22

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Nov 27, 2021
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Missouri
I shoot mostly cedar and spruce, my feathers are usually 5-5.5 in a shield or pope/young cut. Three feathers and most traditional archery shops carry them. I prefer Trueflight feathers. 25AFDC8B-9472-4264-9C44-5F3ECD51DA5F.jpeg
 
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dlee56

dlee56

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I'm having a hard time getting the full base of the feather to stick to the arrow, am I doing this wrong?

Using a bitz, RH helical clamp, RH feathers. It's stuck well but just on one side of the base, the other side is just floating and I can't get it to make contact with the arrow when it's in the jig.
 

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Kdf22

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Nov 27, 2021
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Location
Missouri
I'm having a hard time getting the full base of the feather to stick to the arrow, am I doing this wrong?

Using a bitz, RH helical clamp, RH feathers. It's stuck well but just on one side of the base, the other side is just floating and I can't get it to make contact with the arrow when it's in the jig.
The shaft and jig aren’t matched up yet. You’ll have to play with the shaft and clamp and keep adjusting until the feather lays nice and flat. No big deal. Then start gluing
 

Rob5589

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W Sac CA
I'm having a hard time getting the full base of the feather to stick to the arrow, am I doing this wrong?

Using a bitz, RH helical clamp, RH feathers. It's stuck well but just on one side of the base, the other side is just floating and I can't get it to make contact with the arrow when it's in the jig.
You can adjust the clamp setting using the two round knobs on the right of the jig.
 

bisblue

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Aug 22, 2016
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Cascade Idaho
If you are shooting a skinny arrow, I've also found building up the front V of the jig a little bit to be helpful....
 
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dlee56

dlee56

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Appreciate the pointers, I'll play with it more tonight. Yesterday I was having a hard time getting both the middle and ends to contact the shaft evenly and when I got that sused out then this issue came up, I'll give it another tinker.
 
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