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    What fletching jig works best for fletching bolts?

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    Basilisk120
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    What fletching jig works best for fletching bolts?

    Post by Basilisk120 on Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:16 pm

    I was wondering if any one had fletching jig they liked or would recommend for fletching bolts? Or had an idea to get any jig to work? The jig I have doesn't work so well for bolts. I have made it work but that was really just eyeballing the fletching parallel. So most of the bolts turn out fine but I always have that one that flys like a drunk hummingbird.



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    I made.....

    Post by Riot on Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:32 pm

    Unfortunately I can not offer any advice towards any off the shelf fletching jigs.

    However, I have made a fletching jig for my cane arrows that was dead easy to make and cost me nothing at the same time (aside from an hour of time that is). I shall try to upload a pic as soon as ive read the FAQ on how to do so .

    Basically i used an flat pine board (from a pallet), cut a length 180 long for the base, then two smaller squares for the ends. In the center of one square i drilled a 8mm hole (nock locator hole), repeat the same for the other square but also then cut an offset slot (think L shaped) joining the hole to an outside edge of the the peace. Hot glued the two squares onto the bigger boards, making sure the holes lined up. (Mine also has a 8mm dowel sanded down to be a nock holder for nocked arrows so we wont need that). quickly print out a hexagon from google etc showing the triangle/angle lines, mark every second line for the 120" angle for your fletching orientation, glue it to the end with on the small hole in it. Now glue another peace of wood along the top as a bar between the two end (mine is offset), snap the cover off of a cd case, cut it to suit the depth and length of the fletches your after. then lastly use a small bulldog clip or spring clamp to hold the cd case (fletch clamp) to the bar on top of the jig. Its a bit slow and fiddly but for free who cares Hope this helps....

    Will try to send up the pic shortly.

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    real ugly yet working...

    Post by Riot on Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:47 pm

    Here ya go... its ugly as sin, yet it doesnt mind how its treated, its currently set for a heavy right wing offset. I Initially made to see if it would work and if I it was worth the exercise, which since it does Ive left it alone ever since



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    it can do this...

    Post by Riot on Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:16 am

    The nasty little jig above can do this




    Right wing off-set with four inch feathers in three and four fletch configurations, my interest in making myself a crossbow will be the pleasure of letting loose my homemade bamboo bolts out of a home brew crossbow getting my own dinner spline wont be an issue as i foot the interior of the bamboo arrows and bolts with hardwood cores. But that's a separate topic for once Ive finally gotten my act together and have a working crossbow to experiment from.
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    Re: What fletching jig works best for fletching bolts?

    Post by Basilisk120 on Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:02 pm

    Naw the real beauty is in the result. I do like that little device, Those are some nice looking arrows.



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    Fletching jigs

    Post by Geezer on Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:18 am

    Fletching jigs for crossbow bolts? For many years, I used a pair of Bitzenberger jigs, with the stops set to 90 degree angles. So how does one get nockless bolts to index? I tapered the butt of the bolt to accept a nock, which I simply jammed in place... no adhesive needed. In fact, I found the easiest way to use the jig was to avoid the built-in stop mechanism. I simply jammed on the nock, fitted it into the Bitzenberger's receiver, fletched one side at the required pitch, then Gently pulled the bolt out of the receiver, being careful not to disturb the nock, turned it over and fletched the other side. When the fletching is dry, examine the bolt very carefully. If everything looks straight, cut the tapered bit off the tail and proceed normally.
    These days, my friend Jim Atwood, at Oldenbolts fletches most of my bolts. He uses a battery of Greyling jigs, equipped with crossbow-adaptors that hold the butts securely. The Greyling jigs are substantially cheaper than Bitzenbergers, and work quite as well, though they might not last as long. They have adjustable stops that reliably hold bolts at the right angles for fletching.
    You can of course build your own jig. It isn't difficult, and you can always use temporary nocks to index them consistently. The trick is: if you build your own jig, it's got to be Tight and Consistent. If there's any play in the vane-clamp, you'll get erratic placement of your feathers, which will result in poor flight. If you're making traditional two-vane crossbow bolts, your feathers are either absolutely right, or your bolt will fly very badly. If you're making three or four-vane bolts used by some modern bows, having one feather a little off may make your bolts fly a little off, but they probably won't go entirely haywire.
    I would recommend looking at the Greyling jig for starters. It's easy to use, cheap, and gets the feathers on jussssst Riiiight. Geezer
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    Re: What fletching jig works best for fletching bolts?

    Post by Pavise on Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:22 am

    I too have used a Bitzenburger jig for many years and have made an adapter which receives and holds the round flat ends of my crossbow shafts in register. But although slightly off-topic I am interested to know what or which adhesives any of you might be using? I am now using Loctite Super Glue Ultra Gel in order to get soft plastic vanes to stay on FG shafts, under the harsh punishment that crossbow arrows often endure. I know all about cleanliness, acetone and all that, but it seems as though nothing I have found yet is perfect for all applications. e.g. wood, FG, aluminum or carbon, in combination with a variety of vanes; whether they be synthetic or natural in origin. Maybe I'm asking too much. But please fire away, because I'm all eyes and ears.

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    Re: What fletching jig works best for fletching bolts?

    Post by Basilisk120 on Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:35 pm

    Hey thanks for all the advice.

    About the glue. Not sure if one glue is going to solve all your needs. I like Ducco cement for attaching feathers it seems to work well and takes the abuse I put my arrows through. But that is feathers on wood, not sure how it works for other things.
    One glue I think might work for you is MAXI CURE IC-2000 CyA (http://www.lancasterarchery.com/product_info.php?products_id=10314), it supposedly has shock absorbsion properties and doesn't get as brittle as other glues. But have not personal experience.



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    About fletching jigs...

    Post by Silly Person on Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:20 pm

    I have used Graylings for about 2 years with no problems. They're inexpensive and come come with the crossbow bolts adapters. I believe that I've fletched over 100 dozens of bolts and my set of 6 jigs seems to be working as well as the did on the first bolt. The only problem that I can see with them is that the rubber in the bolt holder might wear out.

    I bought mine here: http://www.bowhunterssuperstore.com/fletching-jigs-grayling-c-43_174.html
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    About Glues...

    Post by Silly Person on Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:32 pm

    • On feathers and plain wood: I have successfully use ZAP's ZAP-A-GAP Medium CA+. Apply a small amount to the feather, hold with pressure for 10 seconds, then let it set for 1 - 2 minutes. I have torn off the feather through the quill, and I have torn off wood on the shaft, but I have not seen the bond let go.

    • On feathers and LACQUERED wood: I have successfully use Duco Cement.

    • My experience with CA adhesives and 3Rivers house-brand lacquer is that they DO NOT PLAY WELL TOGETHER! I have experienced very slow curing, and very weak bonds.

    BTW: I'm Jim with OldenBolts, and I do most of the bolts for Geezer / New World Arbalest. If you want some bolts, send me a message.
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    Re: What fletching jig works best for fletching bolts?

    Post by Ivo on Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:50 pm

    Riot, those are some nice fletchings....though one thing I can't get through my thick head is - how did you offset the feathers so much with a straight clamp? or am I missing something?




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    Offset

    Post by Riot on Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:11 am

    Hi Ivo.

    Glad you like the looks of the fetching, Im rather chuffed with them as well (even more suprised at how well the four 4" fletchs travel - aka nicely

    The clamp Ive been using is a straight bit of Perspex that I had laying about rotting in the bright Aussie sunshine.
    I found that due to heavy offset angle ive got in place with the top clamp bar and with the diameter of the bamboo being a bit larger than your normal shafting, that i needed to firmly clamp the feather ends with about 5mm more fletch exposed than the center section to help allow for the curve in the shafting and the clamp angle (note: there's two small bolt holes in the clamp for just that job and is annoyingly the most fiddly thing about my nasty little jig).
    Yet doing the above also seems to give the feather a semi-Helical look once its all done as the fletch tops then try to flex into alignment with fletch base. So its like a wild blend if a straight offset yet with a semi-helical appearance. I have tried bending some perspex to allow for a true helical finish (fletchs in a straight alignment from front and rear of the shaft yet curving through the center section when viewed from the rear end) yet all I ended up doing was just burning my fingers trying to get it all nicely matching.
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    Re: What fletching jig works best for fletching bolts?

    Post by Ivo on Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:00 pm

    Ahhh...I get it now.

    So technically you just set the desired offset angle and press a portion of the feather onto the shaft and then wrap the loose ends around the shaft following the direction set by the jig...simple and to the point...good stuff and most importantly it's very versatile since you can set the jig to any fletching offset angle.

    The four fletch is one of my favorites, given I'm not a very medieval guy (did he just say that? ) I explore the more modern crossbow models and have recently finished gathering the materials to build a matrix and press my own fiberglass reinforced version of the "turbonock" for the railles crossbow I'm designing.



    Interesting question is and I believe it is directly linked to our topic here ... the surface area of the fletching(length/height) is directly linked to the fletching offset. Is there any information out there on the net as to how to calculate a balanced helical fletching/nock vs. the surface area vs. the speed of the projectile?

    I know that more spin = better shaft stability during flight, but it has an effect on the arrows loss of speed and thus the effective distance.

    And the large surface area of the longer/taller fetching is more effected by the wind(causing it to drift with the wind) than the smaller/shorter fletching with smaller surface area.

    I believe someone mentioned a book on "man powered projectiles/weapons" when I mentioned something similar before, but after purchasing the materials I was left pretty much broke. ...so if there is any info available on the net, please share.

    ~ I'll be doing my research, but your opinions matter to me even more.

    Thanks,

    Ivo




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    Re: What fletching jig works best for fletching bolts?

    Post by Basilisk120 on Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:53 pm

    Hey so heard an idea for fletching a bolt today. Basically get some elastic fuel line that the can fit over the tail end of the shaft then put a nock in the other side of the fuel line and push it tight against the shaft. So all you need is a .5 inch or so of fuel tubing to get a nice fletch. Hopefully this make sense I'll try to get down and get some fuel line to try this out. and get some pictures.



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    Re: What fletching jig works best for fletching bolts?

    Post by Ivo on Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:02 am

    What!?!?!

    There are some strange fletching ideas out there, but "fuel line"...does this mean actual vanes are cut from/in the stuff? Definitely want to hear more about this garage tech.




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    Re: What fletching jig works best for fletching bolts?

    Post by Basilisk120 on Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:13 am

    I knew I wasn't being clear enough. the fuel line is used to hold on a nock onto the shaft so that a normal fletching jig can be used. Then when the bolt is fletched the nock and fuel line can be pulled off and used on the next shaft.

    But Fuel line as fletching? hmm has some potential in a fletchless bolt



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    Re: What fletching jig works best for fletching bolts?

    Post by Ivo on Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:03 pm

    So you were talking about a home made "nock adapter".




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    Have to buy a fletching tool

    Post by Tinker on Mon Sep 06, 2010 4:17 pm

    This is a 101 question for archers but does a Grayling #GOP160 with a straight clamp allow for offsetting the vane for rotation, or is it necessary to order a right or left helical to do this?
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    Re: What fletching jig works best for fletching bolts?

    Post by Basilisk120 on Mon Sep 06, 2010 4:40 pm

    I believe the Grayling jigs allows for offset. I can't say for certain as I don't have one but the Grayling page for the jig { http://www.graylingoutdoorproducts.com/Products/gop160.html } says it has an improved adjustments for proper offsets. I have a jig that looks similiar and allows for angled offsets of the fletching.

    But maybe someone who has that jig can answer.



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    The 'skinny' on the Grayliing GOP160 fletching jig

    Post by Tinker on Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:47 am

    I'll be sharing my 'learning curve' with anyone else's inquisitive mind... study
    Information verified the manufacturer's rep.; The 'R clamp' and 'L clamp' packaging are for RW or LW feather fletching, and the Straight packaging is for vanes.
    The jig is the same on all three, just the clamp being the difference. All have the ability to offset the fletching to allow for arrow rotation.

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    Re: What fletching jig works best for fletching bolts?

    Post by Basilisk120 on Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:38 am

    Tinker wrote:I'll be sharing my 'learning curve' with anyone else's inquisitive mind... study
    Information verified the manufacturer's rep.; The 'R clamp' and 'L clamp' packaging are for RW or LW feather fletching, and the Straight packaging is for vanes.
    The jig is the same on all three, just the clamp being the difference. All have the ability to offset the fletching to allow for arrow rotation.

    Tinker

    Interesting. I have used the straight clamp for feathers many a time, in fact it is my go to clamp because it is easier to set up than a left or right clamp. I think that for bolts the Left or Right clamp would put too much curve on the fleather to allow it to sit flat. But the clamps are relativly cheap once you have the jig body so getting all three wouldn't be that big of a deal.
    I am interested in hearing about your learnign curve on all this. There is still so much that I need to learn.


    Last edited by basilisk120 on Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:40 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Spelling fix)



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    Re: What fletching jig works best for fletching bolts?

    Post by Tinker on Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:57 am

    Interesting. I have used the straight clamp for feathers many a time, in fact it is my go to clamp because it is easier to set up than a left or right clamp. I think that for bolts the Left or Right clamp would put too much curve on the fleather to allow it to sit flat. But the clamps are relativly cheap once you have the jig body so getting all three wouldn't be that big of a deal.
    I am interested in hearing about your learnign curve on all this. There is still so much that I need to learn.

    You may well be correct with reference to bolts. I only asked about the jigs and the clamps... did not inquire about use on bolts. Anyhoo, got the order in for the bolt-makins just now.
    We shall see smack ...

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    fletching jigs?

    Post by Geezer on Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:32 am

    I have used both straight and helical clamps on my fletching-jigs, both right and left spin. Either one shouldn't be a problem unless you're using very long feathers. The period bolts I have seen usually had long, wooden vanes (about 5 inches) set helically, into a groove in each side, but I usually go with 3 or 4 inchers, either shield-cut or parabolics.
    Of course there were plenty of feather-fletched bolts in the old days, but bugs have long since- eaten the feathers. The wooden vanes last nearly forever. Josef Alm's book says some wood-fletched bolts had the vanes cut from the stuff of the bolt and those were pretty much straight. No, I don't know how one would do that, but my pal 'Silly-Person' has a good system for mounting wooden vanes to the heavier type of hardwood shafts.
    As for hardening butts of shafts for longer wear, I've never had any problem with using ordinary cedar shafts, right out of the box, so long as the grain of the shaft is set vertically, ACROSS the lie of the string. Of course, I'm making bolts for bows that don't 'slap' the bolts on release. Notch-locks and other 'clap-lock' designs may tend to beat up your bolts. Butt-caps can improve bolt-life by protecting them from minor 'Robin-Hood' grazes, but I'm afraid really hard hits are gonna smash them to bits anyhow.
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    Re: What fletching jig works best for fletching bolts?

    Post by Basilisk120 on Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:44 pm

    Tinker, I guess I was more trying to say that the straight clamp works well for feathers as well as vains.
    And I will admit that I just assumed that the helical clamps would just not work for making bolts but apperently they can work. Of course all I have lying around the house right now are 2.5" and 5" fletching. Either too short or too long. Well maybe not I should actully look at this before I say for sure. I will definatly experiment with this.

    Well the experiment will have to wait. Its a right hand clamp and left hand feathers. Not going to work too well.




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    Re: What fletching jig works best for fletching bolts?

    Post by Basilisk120 on Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:24 pm

    Thought I would bring this topic back for a quick update.

    Just received my Grayling crossbow bolt adapter for fletching bolts. And to my joy it fits in my Martin J8 jig just as I had hoped. Its so nice to have a plan actually work. Now to get some straight fletchings on my bolts

    and as to add to the above about helical fletched bolts. They work well, about as well as anything I guess.



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