Buying Guide to Fletching Jigs

The fletching jig is one of the best tools an archer can own for do-it-yourself arrow building and repair. Whether you shoot recurve, compound or crossbow, with arrows steered by feathers or plastic fletchings, there’s a fletching jig for you.

But they don’t all do the same things. And if you like lots of variety with your fletchings, it’s important you find the jig that can do what you want.

Bitzenburger fletching jig

Here are the factors you’ll want to consider when you are buying your fletching jig.

FLETCHING TYPE

Fletchings are either plastic vanes or real or synthetic feathers. Some fletching jigs can handle both types. Some can only handle one or the other. Make sure the jig you want can handle the fletchings you plan to use.

The Last Chance Archery Vane Master Pro is designed for use primarily with plastic vanes

For the tape-on, curly vanes commonly used by Olympic recurve archers, there are a few special jigs designed just for these vanes. More commonly, archers use a fletching tool – such as the Beiter Tri Liner – which allows them to mark their shafts with a pen to evenly space the fletchings, which are then applied by hand.

Beiter Tri Liner

FLETCHING LENGTHS

There are a wide variety of fletching lengths, ranging from just over one inch to just under six inches. Most fletchings will be in the two- to four-inch range, and so basically all fletching jigs will be capable of handling fletchings of those sizes. But if you plan to use the longest or shortest fletchings, you will need to make sure the jig you want can handle those.

FLETCHING POSITION

With some jigs, the distance from the nock to the fletching is fixed and cannot be changed. But maybe you want to experiment with moving that fletching either closer to or farther away from the nock to combat issues like face-fletching contact. Or maybe you like your target-arrow fletchings closer to the nock than your hunting-arrow fletchings.

If you want to be able to change the distance between the nock and the fletching, you will need a jig that allows for such adjustments.

SHAFT SIZE

Arrow shafts run from outside diameters of .176-.422 inches. Some fletching jigs can handle that full range of shaft sizes. Some can’t. Others can, but require additional parts. Know what shaft sizes you will be working with and then make sure the jig you’re looking for can handle those sizes.

This Easton EZ Fletch Tool is designed for larger diameter arrows

CROSSBOW BOLTS

Most crossbow bolts use nocks that are different from traditional nocks with two ears. Most fletching jigs are designed with receivers that hold the two-eared nocks. If you’re working on bolts that don’t have the two-eared nocks, then you need a fletching jig that can handle bolts like yours. With some jigs, you might simply need a special nock adapter that’s sold separately to work with crossbow bolts.

Special crossbow bolt nock receiver for the Grayling fletching jig

OFFSET, HELICAL, STRAIGHT

Here’s where you can get creative with DIY fletching. Offset, helical and straight represent the positioning of fletchings on an arrow shaft. Both promote spin.

Offset fletchings sit straight on the shaft, but the point end of the vane or feather will be to the right of the nock end for right offset, or left of the left nock end for left offset.

Helical fletchings curve around the shaft, and are also set with a right or left offset.

If you set your fletchings without any offset or helical, then they are simply considered to be straight.

This clamp sets fletchings at a right helical position using the Bitzenburger jig

Some jigs let you adjust between straight and left and right offset and helical positions. Some are fixed, and only offer one position. Others might only allow you to switch between a limited number of positions, or require you to buy different parts to achieve different positions.

If you like to experiment with different fletching configurations to figure out what works best for different bow setups, then you’ll want a jig that offers that flexibility. If you like to keep things simple, then a fixed-position jig will probably work for you.

THREE FLETCH, FOUR FLETCH

Evenly spacing fletchings around an arrow shaft is one of the duties of the fletching jig. Every fletching jig will allow you to evenly space three fletchings on a shaft. Some will also allow you to evenly space four fletchings, but that might require the purchase of an additional part. Others will have no capacity for a four-fletching configuration.

If you want to be able to put three or four fletchings on your arrows, make sure the jig you’re looking for can handle both.

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