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+2
Master Bran Padraig
Basilisk120
6 posters

    leather fletched bolts

    Basilisk120
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    Post by Basilisk120 Sun May 15, 2011 11:08 pm

    Here are some leather fletched bolts I whipped up the other night. I had some thin leather lying around the house and just figured I would go for it and see what happens.

    leather fletched bolts  2011-05-15212329


    The two on the left are patterned after shield cut feathers and the two on the right are a simplified triangle pattern.
    What I have learned so far.
    1. The straighter the base edge the better, but since the leather is compressible and flexible some waviness could be tolerated.
    2. This was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. I just cut them out and used the standard fletching jig and CyA glue. Worked like a charm.
    3. The FOC (forward of center) is 12% for the triangle fletched and 15% for the other ones, so that looks good. Not something I usually check but figured for something so different I should.

    Haven't had a chance to shoot them yet. Hopefully I can get to the range on Friday. I'll give a report then.

    Oh yeah the red and black bolt underneath is from a set I made for my wife to try. Just something quick I made to get her to the range.
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    Post by Basilisk120 Tue May 17, 2011 10:51 pm

    Here are a couple more that I made yesterday. Yeah not the best pictures. There are rawhide fletchings I made from some rabbit skin I had sitting in my freezer. They turned out better than I expected. The rabbit rawhide (almost parchment like) is much thinner and stronger than I expected. About as thick as expensive paper but much more durable.
    Like the last fletches I made it ended up being easier than I expected. I had plans to double up the thickness at the base or something but didn't need too. Just a little supper glue on the base and they stuck. But the rawhide is less forgiving about needing a straight base on the fletching.
    Once again I'll see how they hold up in use on Friday.

    If anyone wants to tutorial on how to make either of the fletchings I'll be glad to make one. Granted for these I'll have to wait till I get another rabbit (or any fresh skin I guess)

    leather fletched bolts  2011-05-17185001

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    Post by Master Bran Padraig Wed May 18, 2011 10:45 am

    Those are very cool, looking forward to hearing how they fly.
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    Post by olrono Wed May 18, 2011 11:39 am

    Thank you for showing us your prodject, it's exactlly what i am trying to do right now. For I saw a video on this site showing rolling nut type crossbows and the guy had a table full of bolts with parchment type flites on them. Having watch the William Tell TV show in the 50's I remember seeing these and I wish to know how to afix them to the bolt. I wouldn't think they are thick enough to glue them from the edge?? perhapes they are sandwiched together between two haves top and bottom to the shaft?? I have some nice oak shafts prepaired to go once I learn how to do it right! Any chance of getting that video clip again, I wish I had a DVD of that!!!
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    Post by huntsmanlance Wed May 18, 2011 2:00 pm

    Awesome Basilisk! I am also looking forward to what you find out!!!
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    Post by Basilisk120 Wed May 18, 2011 2:29 pm

    olrono wrote: I wouldn't think they are thick enough to glue them from the edge?? perhapes they are sandwiched together between two haves top and bottom to the shaft??

    The rabbit hide that I used is effectivly parchment. (parchement being carefully made rawhide of usually goats, sheep or calves). I didn't do anything to thicken the edges or add anything to them. I was supprised that simply glueing them on edge worked but it was a bit trickier and fidlier to mount than the leather fletching. I let you know how they stand up to repeated abuse but they can take some rought handling. The caveat is that I used super glue to hold them on.

    I guess the next step is to use a period glue.
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    Post by Basilisk120 Sun May 22, 2011 11:10 pm

    Ok here is the belated range report from Friday.

    Set up:
    Range distance: 20 yards indoor range.
    I set a mark on the target back drop and then aimed with the bolt just under the mark. Trying to get consistent grouping.

    I shot 4 round with 9 bolts each.
    4 leather bolts - 2 triangle leather vanes and 2 "feather" shaped vanes.
    2 rabbit rawhide bolts.
    2 feather bolts - used the 2.5 inch "Razor" fletching. This was the test group.
    1 bolt with no fletching. Just wanted to see.

    Shooting:
    As expected the grouping was very tight left to right but strung out vertically but it was consistent between groups.
    The bottom 4 bolts were the rawhide and the 2 triangle leather fletched bolts. Understandable as the 4 bolts have the same size and shape.
    About 4 inches above that group were the other 2 leather fletched bolts.
    Next up the group were the feather fletched bolts
    on top by a few inches was the unfletched bolt. but it landed at an angle to the target.

    Obseravations

    The rawhide fletching
    1 of the rawhide vanes got a small rip near the front of the vane before testing. That bolt flew terribly and made a noise going down range surprisingly it did land next to the other rawhide bolt but at an extreme angle to the target.
    The other undamaged bolt flew well.
    I was expecting them to land higher in the grouping not near the bottom. I think partly the rabbit rawhide was too weak and the shape was wrong exacerbating the issue.
    I also had some issues with the rawhide vanes getting bent before the testing began.

    Leather fletching:
    Over all worked well. The difference between the two styles was unexpected. I believe that the triangular shaped vanes just aren't strong enough. They seemed to flap and become deformed too easily causing unnecessary spinning and drag.
    When looking at period bolts the examples I found with non-feather vanes all seemed to have the low and long profile and I now see why I think that is the better shape.

    feather fletching:
    Kind of surprised that they did so well. I was hoping to find something better (as in faster, less drop) But they seem to be the way to go. Of course I am using really small feathers, had I tested everything against 5 inch feathers I might have gotten different results.

    unfletched bolt. This was a last minuted addition. Not much to say. It hit the target at the top of the group but at a slight angle.

    Conclusion:
    None of the fletchings fell off during shooting or in flight. A couple were damaged when the bolts got hit by other bolts in the target but that was understandable, groupings were a little tighter than expected.
    Shooting wise not quite what I was expecting, I was hoping the leather and rawhide bolts would have performed a little better but I did learn a bit.
    First, drop the triangle shape and stick with the low profile shape. I don't think it is strong enough and was prone to damage in the quiver. the low profile is more period anyways.
    Second, try some thicker rawhide.
    Third, maybe put a little less of angle on the vanes when gluing them to the shaft.

    The testing is complete I am going to try a few more things. Maybe some wood vanes if I can get my hands on some thin sheets. I'll keep you all posted.
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    Post by basileus Tue May 31, 2011 1:59 pm

    Basilisk120 wrote:
    If anyone wants to tutorial on how to make either of the fletchings I'll be glad to make one. Granted for these I'll have to wait till I get another rabbit (or any fresh skin I guess)
    Maybe you could write a small tutorial on leather/rawhide fletching to our Wiki when you're finished? There are a few fletching articles there already. I've also done some experiments with leather vanes myself with poor results - probably because the vanes were too wide and heavy for the bolts I used.

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    Post by genesis Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:08 am

    Regarding thin wood for fletchings,I had a stroke of luck finding a complete window blind made from maple.It is 26mm wide by about 3mm thick material,and found it for nz$8.00 in the thrift shop.Now I have a stack of it for other uses too,like packing the rest of the slot made to accommodate the fletching.
    Regards,paul.
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    Post by Basilisk120 Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:58 am

    Nice, that is a great find paul. Now to keep an eye out for those blinds.

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