One of my favorite hobbies is archery, and I have been involved in archery for more than 30 years. I have taken breaks from it over the years, but always return to it.
I first learnt how to shoot with a recurve bow, and then switched to compounds for a spell.
However today I love traditional archery, and shoot a longbow that involves instinct shooting, or in other words pointing the arrow where you want it to go before releasing it and sending it on its way.
Its a given that sooner than later that you're arrows will begin looking a little rough, in particular the feathers or fletching, and at that point they can be re-fletched.
Fletchings have an important job, as they stabilize the arrow in flight, and without them, arrows fly erratically.
But fletchings don’t last forever, and the more you shoot, the more chance there is of the arrows hitting each other which causes wear and tear.
Similar wear occurs when you miss a target and the arrow passes through brush, grass, wood or other obstacles. Eventually, all fletching wears out and requires replacing.
Replacing fletching is much like replacing car tires, in that it varies by how much abuse they endure. Well-maintained arrows can last over a year, but if you shoot a lot they might need new fletching earlier.
This is a natural part of archery, and replacing fletchings provides an opportunity to personalize your arrows with fun colors and patterns.
In the photo above, I am making up flu flu arrows, used for aerial shooting. You can tell this by the large oversized feathers when compared to the standard sized fletch seen here also. I fletch all my arrows using a Bitzenburger arrow fletcher as seen here, probably the best fletcher you can own and use.
Because I shoot a bow right handed, I am using left-wing (helical) turkey feathers on my arrows. This means that when I draw and release the arrow, in theory the arrow spins left allowing the arrow to clear the bow as the arrow passes through the sight window of my traditional long bow.
Now selecting straight, left, or right helical fletching was once believed to be required when matching the arrows to your bow, however today its not adhered to as it once was, especially with todays compound bows, and in fact most guy and gals shooting with compound bows today will be using straight fletching made from plastic on their arrows.
This is not a how to article, as there is a lot of information out there if your maybe thinking about taking up archery, and then getting involved in assembling your own arrows, or refurbishing them by replacing the fletch.
Something of interest is the fact that at one time I used wood arrow shafts, then switched to aluminum arrow shafts, and today I use the optimum arrow shafts available made from carbon fiber.
Now looking at the photo, the flu flu arrows are easily identified as being made from carbon fiber because of the black color.
However the traditional looking wood shafted arrow seen in the photo is also a carbon fiber arrow made to look like wood with its wood type finish that compliments the recurve or longbow it is paired with.
Click on the photo for a closer look......