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Evaluations : Jason Balazs
Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

Arrow Building 101 - pt 2
By Jason Balazs
Apr 18, 2006, 13:26

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To Jason Balazs web site Blazin Arrows.

Welcome to Part Two of Arrow Building 101 start to finish.  In Part 1 we talked about preparation of the arrow shafts and the application of the wraps. I'm using Carbon Express shafts but the technique and accessories are constant with wood, aluminum or carbon. During this installment, I will take you through a step-by-step process for the adhesion of Flex Fletch Vanes and Gateway Feathers to your prepared arrow shafts.  For this process we will be using the Arizona E-Z Fletch and Flex Bond Adhesive.

The E-Z fletch comes in four different degrees of offset.  They are the 4į straight, 1į straight, and 8į right and left helical.  For this project we will be using the 1į straight for the Flex Fletch Vanes and the 8 į right helical for the Gateway Feathers.  We will also break this segment down into three parts. First, we will go through the process of applying the Flex Fletch Vanes.  Then move to the feathers and finally finish it all up with cutting the arrows to length and installing the inserts.

Flex Fletch Vanes

Pull that rag and acetone out again because we are going to ensure that every vane is clean and free of dirt or oils.  Once we have wiped all the vanes it is now time to put them into the E-Z Fletch.  You will notice that one of the arms is a different color than the other ones; this is for the cock vane.  To place the vanes in, all you have to do is slip them in the desired slots.  Once they are in the slots ensure they are at the bottom by tapping on the top of the vane.  You donít need to do this hard, just enough to have the vanes settle.  Once they are in place it is time to glue.  Run a small bead of glue from the top of the vane to the rear of each fletch.  Donít worry about glue getting on the E-Z Fletch, it wonít stick to it at all.  Next, insert an arrow shaft into the hole at the base of the fletching arms.  Push down until the nock on your arrow seats on the nock receiver.  Then, close the arms around the arrow by holding on to the base and unlocking the D-ring on the E-Z Fletch.  This will cause the arms to come up, which places the vanes perfectly spaced around the arrow.  Once the arms are up, slide the arrow through the hole in the cap until it reaches the E-Z Fletch.  This cap will hold the arms closed while the glue is drying.  If you experience trouble getting the cap on, gently grasp the end of the arms to make the cap fit.  Now, wait two to three minutes for the glue to set.

 After the glue is set, grab the base of the E-Z Fletch and push the D-ring up.  This will take the spring pressure off of the arms.  Remove the cap and set it aside.  Then, slowly pull each arm away from the fletching one at a time.  Remove the arrow and run your fingers between the vanes to wipe away any extra glue.  That is it; you are done with that arrow.

Clean Fletching before installing in E-Z Fletch

Installing Fletching

Apply glue to Fletching

Close the Arms

Slide Cap into locking position

E-Z Fletch locked and loaded securing vanes to shaft

With cap removed, arms down and one shaft with vanes attached

Gateway Feathers

 
With the feathers there is no need to wipe them with acetone.  The area that attaches to the arrow is full of pores and holds the fletching well.  The process is just about the same for attaching feathers as it is for vanes.  The only difference is the loading of the feathers into the arms of the E-Z Fletch.  To do this, put the back of the feather (the end closest to the nock) into the middle of the fletching arm.  Push down until the white base is seated.  Slide the feather down to the bottom of the arm while keeping the white base seated.  At this point only the back half of the feather will be in place.  Put your thumb on the back of the feather to hold it into place.  With your finger of the opposite hand, slide it up the feather to "Zip" it into place.  At this time, make sure the entire feather is seated to the white base.  With the feathers seated into the fletching arms, just glue and close the E-Z Fletch like you did with the vanes.  With feathers, I would recommend that you leave the jig closed for at least five minutes before opening it.  Since the vane has more pores, the glue takes just a little bit longer to dry.
           
After all the arrows are fletched, I always add a small dot of glue to the front of the vanes or feathers, then I set them up against a wall and let them finish drying.  Now you donít have to do this step; but if you shoot a lot it will save you from re-fletching your arrows more than normal.
           

**Here is a tip for storing the Arizona E-Z Fletch.  I always place a rubber band through the hole of the cap and then through the D-ring.  This way, I always have the cap attached to the fletching jig.  When you are ready to use it again, just take the cap off of the rubber band and go to work.

Finishing the Arrows
          

Now we are going to be cutting the arrows to length.  For this, you will need a high-speed arrow cut off saw.  If you do not have one, most archery shops will cut your arrows to length for a small fee.  How do you know how long to cut your arrows? That is a good question.  You will need two people to do this.  First, draw your bow with one of the arrows that you just fletched.  Then, have that other person mark the arrow where you want it cut off.  I cut my arrows to length so that the end is at the end of the riser.  By leaving my arrows a little longer, it allows me to have proper broad head clearance in case I am using something like the Gobbler Guillotine.

If you do have access to a saw, here are the steps you need to follow.

  • First, make sure you wear eye protection.  If you canít see to shoot, then what is the point, right?
  • Set the length on the measuring arm of the saw.  
  • Places the nock in the nock holder that is to the right of the saw blade.
  • Keeping the arrow horizontal, roll is through the saw blade.
  • Repeat this step with each arrow until you are done. 

Installing the inserts is easy.  I use the Flex Bond Adhesive that I used to attach the vanes and feathers.  Some folks use 2-part epoxy, but I have found that if it is not mixed precisely, your insert will fall out.  Take the insert and place some glue around the base.  Push the insert half way into your arrow shaft and turn it like you would a bottle cap.  This way the glue reaches all surfaces of the insert.  Next, grab the arrow and push it firmly against something.  Preferably a workbench or something that you donít mind getting a little glue on.  After the insert is seated, wipe the excess glue off with a used rag.  Set the arrows aside and let the glue dry.

Thatís it; your arrows are made and ready for shooting.  I have to say that the Arizona E-Z Fletch has to be the most user-friendly, arrow-fletching jig that is on the market.  If you read part one of this article, you know that I have used almost every fletching jig out there and nothing can match the ease, cleanliness, and speed of the E-Z Fletch.  And another great thing about the E-Z Fletch is itís size. It is perfect to throw in your day pack to take into the field just in case you tear off a vane.

In the final installment of this article, I will walk you through the steps of tuning your arrow to your bow, comparing the arrows that I used before, and prove to you; that if you glue the vanes and feathers on correctly, they will stay on, even if you shoot through something.

All the products mentioned in this article are available at the : Bowhunting Store.

 

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