Author Topic: Making fletchings  (Read 991 times)

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Offline Morgan

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Making fletchings
« on: October 25, 2017, 01:28:40 pm »
My nephew is an avid waterfowl hunter. He has offered me the wing feathers off of any geese he takes this year. Do you have to season feathers? What is the easiest method for a newb to split and grind them without messing them up?

Offline bentstick54

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Re: Making fletchings
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2017, 04:42:23 pm »
You do not need to season them. I use a single edge razor blade to split the quills in half, then I have a Great Northern jig I use to grind to finish product. I am sure others can give you ideas on homemade jigs that you could make yourself.

Offline Buck67

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Re: Making fletchings
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2017, 02:48:32 am »
If you lightly hit the quill with a hammer over an anvil the entire length of the quill it will be easy to split the feather with a sharp scissor.  Then fasten the half feather in a vise.  I shave off excess quill with a razor knife.  Then I use 40 grit sandpaper fastened to a block of wood to smooth the quill surface.

I made my feather vise out of two pieces of hardwood and a few bolts.

Offline DC

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Re: Making fletchings
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2017, 08:24:03 am »
I use an old door hinge as a clamp to hold the fletch for grinding. I use 5" fletch so I epoxied two larger pieces of sheet metal to the hinge. I just put whole feather in it for illustration. You have to split them first.
Vancouver Island

Offline Aaron H

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Re: Making fletchings
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2017, 02:24:59 pm »
You can always just strip them off instead of grinding...
But those who put their trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles...     Isaiah 40:31

Offline Morgan

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Re: Making fletchings
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2017, 07:59:12 pm »
Thanks guys.
Aaron, what do you mean strip them off?

Offline Hawkdancer

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Re: Making fletchings
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2017, 06:50:44 am »
Another recent thread strongly suggested storage in mothballs, borax, similar pesticide to get rid of any creepy crawly critters. 
Hawkdancer

Offline Pat B

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Re: Making fletchings
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2017, 07:32:17 am »
Morgan, if you grab the feather by the barbels on one side of the quill and pull down and out quickly that side of the feather will  peel(strip) off with only a thin membrane attached. Fresh feathers work best for this but if the feathers are old you can rehydrate them by placing them in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel for an hour or so.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline Aaron H

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Re: Making fletchings
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2017, 07:51:23 am »
^ Exactly as Pat just described ^
But those who put their trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles...     Isaiah 40:31

Offline DC

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Re: Making fletchings
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2017, 09:29:30 am »
Be prepared to waste a bunch of feathers trying to learn stripping. I quit trying after about a dozen feathers went in the trash :-[ :-[ Idea just hit me!!  Maybe a guy could practice on the thin side of the feather.
Vancouver Island

Offline JW_Halverson

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Re: Making fletchings
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2017, 02:28:42 pm »
I always run my feathers through a stream of steam from a kettle on the stove before I strip them.  It helps to pl;ump up the fletch as well as restore the integrity of the "skin" of the central spine of the feather.  I much prefer stripping to cutting feathers.  And even with lots of experience and plenty of feathers to practice with, I can still find days when it just ain't gonna happen the way I want it to happen.
Sawdust.  It's man glitter.

Offline Aaron H

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Re: Making fletchings
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2017, 02:47:26 pm »
I'm gonna have to try that steam trick, thanks JW
But those who put their trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles...     Isaiah 40:31

Offline Swampman

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Re: Making fletchings
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2017, 04:04:08 am »
  I much prefer stripping


I didn't know this about you JW.   ;D

Offline Pat B

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Re: Making fletchings
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2017, 06:15:45 am »
JW is full of surprises.  :o
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline JW_Halverson

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Re: Making fletchings
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2017, 05:56:01 pm »
Especially when I am at Pappy's place and drinking crick water from a mason jar.
Sawdust.  It's man glitter.