Fletchings are found at the back of the arrow, traditionally made from bird feathers, are used to stabilize the arrow by creating a small amount of drag. Nowadays, there are two types of fletchings, real or synthetic feathers and plastic vanes. Some target archers have them attached to the arrow with a slight twist to increase arrow spin because a spinning projectile is more stable.
Most archers start using arrows with feathers, as they are ideal at short distances; however, feathers produce a lot of drag at greater distances causing the arrow to drop a lot. Plastic fletchings called vanes produce less drag over greater distances reducing the amount of drop allowing archers to reach longer distances more consistently.
Historically, people known as “fletchers” made arrows, however fletching an arrow is a time consuming and tedious task to do accurately by hand. In modern times, most people use a fletching jig, especially to fletch arrows with a slight twist.
Fletching jigs have existed for feathers for quite a long time and more recently fletching jigs for plastic vanes have been introduced to the market. Using a fletching jig ensures the fletching feathers or vanes are evenly spaced around the arrow and consistently attached to the arrow at the same location on the arrow.
A popular target archer fletching is the plastic spin-wing vanes manufactured by range-o-matic. These vanes are light and forgiving however they can be a challenge to consistently fletch a quiver of arrows. Some archers apply spin-wings by-hand while others archers use arrow wraps that provide a guide to attaching the spin vanes correctly. Cartel Doosung offers a new spin-vane fletching jig that can help fletch spin-wing vanes consistently and evenly spaced. If you have a large number of arrows to fletch, you may want to consider a spin-vane fletching jig.