There are various components of an arrow that any archer needs to be familiar with. Whether you are 3D shooting, target archery, or hunting, being familiar with all of the components you are working with is very important. Of course, you have your bow, which nowadays is most likely a compound bow, although you might be using a crossbow or something even more old school.
In a hurry?
If you looking for a great fletching jig then have a look at the Bohning Complete Tower System which is the jig I use. My friend Robert use the Bitzenburger/Zenith Fletching Jig that I also like but I think you can save a couple of dollars and go with the Bohning Complete Tower system that work just fine!
The size, weight, draw length, draw weight, and other factors work towards determining just how far, fast, and accurately that arrow is going to fly. However, as you might have guessed, the bow itself is only half the equation. Equally as important is the arrow itself.
There are various components of an arrow — the arrow shaft, the arrowhead, the nocking, and the fletching. Today we are here to talk about arrow fletching, what it is and what it does, the types of fletching, and more. Something we also want to talk about is the arrow fletching jig, which is a special tool used by professionals and DIYers who want to make their own custom arrows that will meet specific needs.
Arrow fletching jigs can be very useful tools, and they can y help make the life of any archer much easier. That being said, what exactly is an arrow fletching jig and what does it do? These are questions we are going to answer, and we even have a couple of high-quality arrow fletching jigs to review, just to give you an idea of what you are getting into.
What Is Fletching and What Does It Do?
Fletching are the vanes or feathers found at the rear of an arrow. Fletching often takes the form of three straight vanes or feathers, but may also take on other forms. Generally speaking, one of the fletchings will be a different color than the rest. This one is called the “index” or “cock” fletching, with the remaining being known as “hen” fletchings.
The point of fletching, placed at the rear of an arrow shaft, is to help stabilize the flight of an arrow. Fletching does this by causing the arrow to spin during its flight, allowing it to stay on path much better and increase accuracy. At the same time, the spinning motion of the arrow also helps to cut down on drag and helps to preserve its speed, also allowing for greater flight distance, and when the arrow hits its target, a greater impact.
On a side note, something to keep in mind is that the diameter of the fletching, for the most part, needs to be larger than that of the arrowhead or broadhead on the front of the arrow shaft. The weight and size of the fletching need to compensate for the size and weight of the arrowhead.
Types of Fletching
There are a variety of possible fletchings that an archer can purchase or apply to their arrow shafts, each of which will produce a different result and affect arrow flight in a different way. Moreover, there are also differences in spacing and the number of fletchings that archers can choose, which will also produce specific results. Let’s go over the most common fletching types.
The first type of fletching worth mentioning is straight fletching. This type of fletching features vanes which are perfectly straight from front to back and run completely parallel with the shaft of the arrow.
Now, this type of fletching will not cause an arrow to spin because the straight vanes cut through the wind evenly, which will slightly decrease overall accuracy and stability.
However, a benefit of straight fletching is that there is no drag and no speed loss due to the highly aerodynamic nature; it cuts right through the air. Now, this is fine for close-range shooting, out to 40 or maybe even 50 yards, but at further distances, the decreased stability and accuracy will make a big difference.
The next type of fletching to consider is offset fletching. With offset fletching, the front of the vanes is ever so slightly bent or angled, just enough to catch the wind a little bit. However, keep in mind that with offset fletching, only the very front of each vane is slightly curved, but the majority of the vanes, towards the rear, are still straight.
This slight offset of the fletching allows the arrow to spin slightly, thus also increasing arrow accuracy and stability. Keep in mind that this causes a slight loss of speed as well due to the drag being created, although the loss of speed with offset fletching is negligible.
Moving down the list, the next type of fletching to consider using is known as helical fletching, which is like a more extreme version of offset fletching. Here, virtually the entire vane is curved, not quite to the rear of the vane, but from the front to well past the halfway point. In other words, helical fletching has a fairly aggressive curve.
The biggest benefit of helical fletching is that it causes a fast and constant spinning motion. This serves to greatly increase the overall stability and accuracy of an arrow during flight. However, this type of fletching is also known for causing a fairly high amount of drag and speed loss, due to the curved fletching catching the wind, sometimes as much as 5 or even 10 feet per second.
Keep in mind that this type of fletching can be configured to cause an arrow to spin either clockwise or counter clockwise.
As the name of this type of fletching implies, spin wing fletching is designed to produce the maximum amount of arrow spin possible. Yes, spin wings do create the most amount of spin, which helps to greatly increase arrow accuracy and stability, but they also create the most drag and speed loss, resulting in limited speed, flight distance, and overall impact. This kind of fletching is ideal for short to medium-range shooting.
Flu Flu Fletching
Flu Flu fetching consists of unevenly spaced and unevenly sized vanes, with the main purpose being to increase drag and limit flight distance. This type of arrow fletching will cause an arrow to fly fairly fast and straight for roughly 30 yards, then quickly slow down. This type of fletching is often used for turkey, duck, goose, and other bird hunting purposes; if you miss your target in mid-flight, the arrow won’t go too far and is made much easier to retrieve.
What is an Arrow Fletching Jig?
Ok, so now that we have covered hat arrow fletching is, what it does, and what the different types of arrow fletching are, let’s talk about the arrow fletching jig and what it does. The arrow fletching jig is a simple and straightforward tool that is used to help archers attach fletching to an arrow with minimal work.
An arrow fletching jig holds an arrow shaft in place vertically, so you don’t need to hold it or use any kind of sub-par clamp. The fletching jig also has arms on it, usually 3 arms, which serve as clamps. The fletching is placed on the jig’s arms, with a bit of fletching glue. The arms of the jig are then closed on the arrow, thus gluing the fletching to the rear of the arrow shaft.
The big benefit of arrow fletching jigs is that they allow for proper fletching spacing around the shaft, something which an average person probably won’t be able to achieve using their bare hands and the naked eye. Fletching jigs are also useful because they hold the fletching in place tightly until the glue has dried. It’s just one of those tools that can help make life much easier for any archer looking to make their own arrows.
How To Choose An Arrow Fletching Jig
Before you go out and buy any old fletching jig, there are a few considerations that you need to keep in mind. The quality and construction, the size, and style of the fletching jig are going to determine what it can be used for and how useful the jig is. Let’s take a closer look at the main factors to keep in mind before buying.
Material and Construction
One of the most important aspects is the material used in the construction of the fletching jig. Sure, you can go with a cheap and lightweight option made of plastic; plastic is lightweight and cheap, but also not the most durable. It is recommended that you select a fletching jig made of aluminum, alloy, or some other kind of metal. This is something that you don’t want to have to keep buying.
Arrow Types and Size
Something else to pay attention to is what kind of arrows it can handle. Most archers are using carbon arrows, so standard jigs can generally all handle carbon arrows, but some can also handle wooden or aluminum shafts. At the same time, you also want to pay attention to how long and how large an arrow the jig in question can handle. High-quality models will be able to handle all arrow lengths and diameters, but this is not always the case.
Fletching Type and Adjustability
One of the most important factors is what types of fletching the unit is compatible with. We have already discussed fletching types, so keep these in mind when making a selection. Most modern fletching jigs should be able to handle straight, offset, and helical fletching, and most are highly adjustable to make switching between fletching types easy.
Ease of Use
We aren’t going to get too deep into this here, but the fact of the matter is that some fletching jigs are much easier to use than others. Your best bet is to read reviews about the specific jig you are looking at to see how user-friendly it is. Some fletching jig designs take some practice and skill to use properly.
Brand and Price
The other aspect to keep in mind when selecting the right fletching jig for you is what brand name it is and how much the unit costs. Simply put, you get what you pay for, and investing a few extra dollars in a high-quality brand name unit is recommended; it’s always worth paying a bit more for something that will last.
Best Arrow Fletching Jigs Recommendations
Here are some of the most diverse, multi-functional, complete, and user-friendly arrow fletching jigs out on the market at this time.
Bohning Complete Tower System
Many arrow fletching jigs can only handle one or two types of fletching, which is, however, not the case with the Bohning Complete Tower System, which allows you to attach more or less any type of fletching to an arrow shaft. This particular fletching jig allows for 4 inch straight vanes, a 1 degree offset, 3 degree right helical vanes, 1 degree offset for impulse vanes, 2 degree right wing feathers, 2 degree left wing feather arms, and mylar vanes.
What is good about the Bohning Complete Tower System is that it works with all sorts of arrows including carbon and aluminum, plus it works with all arrow shaft diameters too, as it is highly adjustable. Moreover, the Bohning Complete Tower System is also compatible with center posts for F nocks, A nocks, pin nocks, HE nocks, and crossbow bolts.
This particular model is extremely user-friendly, and all of the instructions you will ever need are included. All you have to do is make fine adjustments depending on the type of fletching you wish to attach. It’s one of the most user-friendly and straightforward arrow fletching jigs on the market.
It is also worth noting that the Bohning Complete Tower System is one of the more durable and long-lasting jigs out there, which is kind of surprising considering that it comes in at a fairly low cost.
Bitzenburger/Zenith Fletching Jig and Clamp with Upgrade Kit
In terms of durability, longevity, and the overall quality of the construction, this Bitzenburger/Zenith Fletching Jig is one of the best out there. This model is made with all-metal alloy components, making it extremely rugged. If treated right, it’s the kind of fletching jig that should last a lifetime. Now, this high level of quality and durability comes with a higher price, nearly twice the price of the jig reviewed above.
What does need to be said about the Bitzenburger/Zenith Fletching Jig is that it does take a bit of practice to master. Sure, all of the necessary tools and instructions are included, but that said, it’s not quite as easy to get the hang of as the model reviewed above. That said, this particular jig does come with its own set of benefits, such as that it accepts virtually all nock types without the need to remove the nocks to apply fletching.
Another benefit is that the Bitzenburger/Zenith Fletching Jig accepts all arrow shaft sizes. Moreover, this fletching jig is very versatile in terms of the types of fletching it allows the user to apply to arrow shaft. It comes complete with a self-centering shaft cradle, along with adjustment dials to make fine-tuned adjustments to fletching position.
Yes, it allows for straight, offset, and helical fletching. What’s also nice is that various fletching configurations can be selected from, including 3 fletchings at 120 degrees, 4 fletchings at 75 x 105 degrees, and 4 fletchings at 90 degrees.
The bottom line is that the days of applying fletching to arrows by hand is long gone. Sure, some old-school folks may choose to do so manually, but a fletching jig makes life a whole lot easier.
They are great tools that can apply various types of fletchings to arrows in a fast, easy, and very precise manner, plus most fletching jigs can handle all arrow types and sizes too. Just keep the main considerations in mind when selecting the best arrow fletching jig for you, and remember that you get what you pay for. When it comes down to it, the two jigs reviewed here today are some of the best out there.