Every year, I sit down at the kitchen table and scrape the old fletchings off my arrows. Well, at least that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 10 years or so. Before that, when I shot aluminum arrows, I sat down at the kitchen table with arrow blanks that came without any fletching at all.
With the carbon arrows, I don’t break nearly as many as I did when I shot aluminum. This year, I still have 12 arrows left over from last season. Back in the aluminum days, I usually had one or two left, so I’d have to order a whole new set.
Those aluminum arrows were beefier, too, so they didn’t go as far into my targets as my carbon arrows do. So my annual fletching tradition wasn’t to replace fletching – it was to replace the whole arrow.
But even though I have more arrows to start with each year, the vanes always look like they’ve been run through a wood chipper. So my fletching tradition now begins with scraping the old vanes off.
Once the shafts are clean and smooth, I put the new vanes in the fletching jig and run a bead of gel super glue down each of them. After I get my fingers unstuck from the glue bottle, I snap the jig shut and get those fletchings attached to the shafts.
I fletch my arrows myself because I shoot a radical helix. I imagine the usual offset would be just fine, but I need all the help I can get to make my arrows fly straight. The radical helix forces the arrow to spin more, so in theory, it should fly straighter and truer. Granted, you still have to get close enough to a game animal to take that shot, and that’s where I usually run into trouble. But one step at a time. For now, let me enjoy my yearly tradition and delude myself that it’s making a difference.