Never Fear, Quick Fletch Is Here

In the old days compound bows were much slower, to control that slower arrow flight you needed a large fletching or vane. Compound bows have since become much smaller and very fast and it doesn’t take as large a fletching to control the arrow flight. In the old days, to fletch an arrow, you also needed an expensive steel or aluminum jig/fixture and lots of messy glue. If you wanted to crest the arrow you needed paint. Now, thanks to shrink tube, all you need is a pot of boiling water.

I have always been able to shoot my fletchings off. I don’t shoot off many nocks or split many arrows, but I have always been able to get close enough to rip off fletchings or put a hole in them. I would practice with one arrow for fear of having to re-attach a vane or re-fletch my arrows. I fear no more. Now with the use of shrink tube technology I can crest and fletch as many arrows as my budget will allow me.

Shrink tube technology has been around for a very long time. It is used extensively in electrical applications to protect exposed wires and terminals. In other words, it helps keep wires from touching and shorting or getting exposed to moisture. You simply slide the shrink tube over the wire and apply heat. The quick fletch systems offered by many different manufacturers are based on the same concept.

Here are the seven easy steps to fletching your own arrows using these quick fletch systems:


Using a pot, at least seven inches deep, start boiling water. Remember, it takes about seven inches of water to properly fletch an arrow using the quick fletch systems that include crests.


Remove the nocks from the arrows. This is easily done on the modern carbon arrows as the nocks are not glued in place. I like to use a rubber circle that is used for removing jar lids. It helps me get a good grip and remove the nock without using steel pliers on a plastic nock.


Slide the quick fletch, shrink tube, over the arrow. I like the top of the tube to be about one quarter inch from the top of the arrow.


Let the water come to a boil. As soon as bubbles start rising should be sufficient. It doesn’t have to be a rolling boil.


Lower the arrow with the tube on it into the water and watch the tube contract around the arrow shaft. You can use a finger to hold the tube in place if it starts to slide on you, but be careful of the steam.


Once the tube has contracted fully around the arrow shaft, take the arrow out and allow it to air dry. I prefer air drying to wiping with paper or cloth towels.


Turn off the oven and set the pot off to the side of the hot burner to cool. Be sure to clean your pot before you use it again for cooking.

You now have crested and fletched arrows without having to use an expensive jig or messy adhesive. I have noticed recently that some archery companies are offering a quick fletch system without the cresting as well. The advantage here would be cost since less material is less cost passed along to the archer and a shallower pot of boiling water could be used to fletch your arrows.

And now you can practice with more than one arrow since replacing your fletching takes as long as boiling a pot of water. There are several companies that offer quick fletch systems; New Archery Products, Bohning, Nufletch, and Hoyt are just a few. Price points are $17-$19 for a half dozen of the fletching system with crests and $7-$9 for a half dozen of the fletching system without the crests.

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