Primitive Archer

Main Discussion Area => Arrows => Topic started by: Morgan on October 25, 2017, 01:28:40 pm

Title: Making fletchings
Post by: Morgan 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?
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: bentstick54 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.
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: Buck67 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.
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: DC 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.
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: Aaron H on October 26, 2017, 02:24:59 pm
You can always just strip them off instead of grinding...
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: Morgan on October 26, 2017, 07:59:12 pm
Thanks guys.
Aaron, what do you mean strip them off?
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: Hawkdancer 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
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: Pat B 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.
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: Aaron H on October 27, 2017, 07:51:23 am
^ Exactly as Pat just described ^
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: DC 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.
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: JW_Halverson 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.
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: Aaron H on October 27, 2017, 02:47:26 pm
I'm gonna have to try that steam trick, thanks JW
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: Swampman on October 30, 2017, 04:04:08 am
  I much prefer stripping


I didn't know this about you JW.   ;D
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: Pat B on October 30, 2017, 06:15:45 am
JW is full of surprises.  :o
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: JW_Halverson on October 31, 2017, 05:56:01 pm
Especially when I am at Pappy's place and drinking crick water from a mason jar.
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: Pat B on October 31, 2017, 07:05:03 pm
You need to come back.  :OK
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: Pappy on November 02, 2017, 01:13:41 am
You was supposed to keep that to yourself JW. ;) :) :) and yes you need to come back sometime. To each their own , but I prefer splitting and grinding them, simply because they are easier for me to deal with when putting on an arrow. :)
 Pappy
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: Eric Krewson on November 04, 2017, 06:18:32 am
As for a grinding clamp; I use a Jo-Jan straight fletching clamp with the fixture that holds it in the jig ground off. You can see it in this picture lying on my fletching table, I use it on a sanding block while fletching if I have a feather with an extra thick quill that needs a little thinning. I also use it if I cut my own fletching for shaping the quill on my belt sander.

(https://i.imgur.com/YDuHlOk.jpg)
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: TimBo on November 06, 2017, 01:13:31 pm
Can you strip goose feathers?  I thought that only worked with turkey.  I havn't managed to accumulate enough goose feathers to try them.
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: Pat B on November 06, 2017, 01:21:32 pm
You can strip any feathers if they are not too dry. If they are you can rehydrate them.
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: JW_Halverson on November 07, 2017, 09:27:55 am
I have stripped macaw and parrot feathers, exotic owl feathers, English sparrow feathers, duck wing-pheasant-grouse.  If it is a feather, it all comes down to the feather not being too dried out/
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: TimBo on November 07, 2017, 10:42:38 am
OK, good to know.  Now I just need to remember to go out looking for molted goose feathers next June.
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: JW_Halverson on November 09, 2017, 06:50:15 am
OK, good to know.  Now I just need to remember to go out looking for molted goose feathers next June.

I mean, who is too proud to take free fletchings?
Title: Re: Making fletchings
Post by: Ruddy Darter on November 10, 2017, 07:27:51 am
I like to throw the geese some wholegrain bread when I do collect feathers. Maybe I'm too proud,  but I feel I've done a good honest trade then.  :D

 R.D.