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Crossbows - Everything about Building, Modding, and Using your Crossbow Gear

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4 posters

    Fletching material?

    mac
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    Fletching material? Empty Fletching material?

    Post by mac Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:32 am

    If the year is 1415, and you on a military campaign, what are you bolts fletched with?

    The obvious options are feathers, wood, and parchment or other thin rawhide.  Does anyone have any evidence of what was actually used then?

    Also...  Has anyone here aver fletched with parchment or wood?  If so, did you cut a mortice for the fletch, or just glue it on?

    Thanks!
    Mac
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    phuphuphnik
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    Fletching material? Empty Re: Fletching material?

    Post by phuphuphnik Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:01 pm

    I have used wood. I used 3/32 balsa I had for model rocket fins. I carved a groove into the bolt to hold it in and white glue. They worked OK but were fragile, being balsa.
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    Fletching material? Empty Re: Fletching material?

    Post by kenh Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:20 pm

    I've used wood, just glued on with Titebond 2.  Since I build musical instruments as well as wood-glass composite stickbows, I always have lots of thin to very thin wood scraps suitable for fletching.
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    Fletching material? Empty Re: Fletching material?

    Post by Geezer Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:43 pm

    Fletching on late medieval bolts?  I've seen wood, leather and parchment.  There are also extant bolts that clearly had feather fletching at some point, but of course feathers don't last hundreds of years. 
    My friend Jim, who used to participate on this forum as 'Silly Person' made some ash bolts with thin maple vanes.  Basing his work on illustrations from Holger Richter's books, he made a jig for cutting grooves in ash dowel shafts. He built a second jig to shape wet maple vanes to the correct shape, then glued them in... I think he used Titebond III for that.  Maple vanes, with the grain the right direction, glued into ash shafts, were pretty darned strong and flew nicely, given a strong enough bow to begin with.  And they looked great!  Geezer.
    mac
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    Post by mac Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:33 pm

    phuphuphnik,

    How did you cut the grooves?   I am trying to avoid making one of those jigs from the Loeffelholz manuscript. 

    Fletching material? Z

    Well, to be truthful... I do want to make one, just not right now.

    Mac
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    Post by mac Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:34 pm

    kenh wrote:I've used wood, just glued on with Titebond 2.  Since I build musical instruments as well as wood-glass composite stickbows, I always have lots of thin to very thin wood scraps suitable for fletching.
    Have they stayed on OK?

    Mac
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    Post by mac Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:36 pm

    Geezer,

    What did Silly Person's jig look like? 

    Mac
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    Post by Geezer Wed Feb 11, 2015 7:36 pm

    It was a simple template for a router, with a couple of guides on the bottom to hold the stick and a groove cut in the top for the router, (with a very thin bit) to follow.  The bending jig for vanes was two big blocks of wood, cut to the same shape.  You made some vanes outa thin maple micro-wood, smoothed and shaped the edges, then clamped them (several at a time) between the blocks.  I've gottem around the shop somewhere.  I'll see if I can get apprentice Lightly to take some photos to share.  Geezer.
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    Fletching material? Empty Re: Fletching material?

    Post by kenh Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:12 pm

    I've not had any major problems with wood fletches surface glued with TBII.  Both surfaces want a bit of roughing up for the glue to grip, though -- not shiny smooth.

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