Bamboo Arrows, part 2

The next step to make these sticks into arrows is to fletch them.  To make fletchings, good feathers must be selected.  I am using some goose wing feathers given to me by a friend.  I cut a template from Bristol board to serve as a template so that all the fletchings are the same size and shape.  After the quills are split and trimmed, the bases (where they will be glued to the shaft) must be trimmed smooth and sanded flat to lie against the arrow.

Feathers to fletchings.

There are only about three feathers on each wing suitable for fletchings and all three on an arrow need to come from the same wing to have the same shape and twist.  I, therefore needed 18 fletchings so I cut about 24.  I always ruin a few in the final trimming or weed them out due to defects.

Serving with silk.

After gluing them in place by hand, the ends are served with two layers of fine silk.  This is a slow and tedious job and neatness really shows.

Silk in sunlight.

A fletched arrow above in the sunlight.  Real silk is strong and shimmers beautifully in the light.

Inserted wood nock and goose fletching.

I stopped at four arrows as it takes me nearly an hour each to fletch.  Here’s the progress so far.


As for points, I chose traditional bodkins since they are good looking and very efficient.  Many cultures came up with this essential design.  These are English copies and are known to punch through heavy armor.  They are surprisingly sharp.

Bodkins.  These arrows were dropped from about half foot above and stuck perfectly in this old oak board.  The joint at the wooden “foot” is lashed with sinew.

For the photo, I dropped these from about six inches above and they all stuck in the oak.  I should mention that these points haven’t had the final fitting yet and are just stuck on by friction.  If you look closely, the ferrules don’t quite fit the foreshafts yet.

First four finished.

Arrows are difficult to photograph so I took this high oblique shot to show them as nearly done.  Hope these images help a fledgling fletcher somewhere.

Finally, a bit of red ochre paint completes the set.

6 thoughts on “Bamboo Arrows, part 2

  1. Some great looking arrows. Bet they’ll be sweet fliers. Kinda almost makes me want to work on refilling the sorry mismatched hodgepodge that is my quiver…. but then I think… wait…. one good atlatl dart lasts a real long time….hmmmm…..

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