Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Call Me Fletcher

It's time for yet another installment of "John's New Skill of the Day!" That's right, I'm learning something new. Shocked, aren't you!?!

So here's what I had. When I shot the new arrows I bought a couple of weeks ago I noticed that they wobbled a lot before hitting the target. Not terrible, and I could still kill the pumpkins from 10 to 20 yards out pretty regularly. But I couldn't figure out what was causing the wobble.

For those of you out there (like me) who are not as fluent in Archery as the pros, there are a few things that make a difference in arrow flight. Things like spine weight, what points you use and how many grains those are, whether the arrow is wood, carbon, aluminum, what sort of fletching, left wing or right wing feathers... it truly boggles the mind. So I googled the problem and thought perhaps I was using field points that were too light. (Those are the pointy things on the front, but not the razor like broadheads used for hunting) I visited the gun and archery shop across the road for the first time since we've lived here, and met a very friendly guy who knows loads more about archery than I. I described the problem and he told me that the solution was in the fletching, or feathers, on the back of the arrow. My arrows were using plastic feathers, which apparently when shot from a wooden bow like mine will bounce off the arrow shelf and cause the arrow to wobble when it flies. He suggested I re-fletch my arrows with 5 1/2" real feathers as a solution. Then he directed me to a traditional archery shop across town to get what I needed, as they would have more choices and gear for a traditional archer (that's me).

That he didn't try and sell me something I didn't need and even directed me to another store has earned them my business! They have an indoor range there, and I will happily go there a few times this winter to thank them for the help!

Anyway, I headed to the traditional archery store later in the day, and was like a kid in a candy store. Bows everywhere. And not those metal hunting bows, but wooden works of art. Arrows and materials for all sorts of building of archery stuff. It was awesome! I bought a fletching jig, which was a little spendy, but worth it. And picked out some colors for my arrows.

New toys in tow, I headed home and learned to fletch arrows. With the jig it is not as hard as I thought, and I'm looking forward to a return visit to the store to get supplies to make the entire arrow!



How do the new arrows work? Well, after I finished a couple, I took them out to give them a try. Wobble - gone. They flew as straight as... well, you know. And I was drilling the pumpkins within an inch of my aim point. I've got four more to do, then I'm going to re-fletch the Boyo's arrows as well since his vanes are plastic and his arrows are also a bit wobbly.

It is a delightful way to spend an evening, and will add a new dimension to my budding bowyer skills.

More Later

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