Fletchings, or Vanes are fixed to arrows so that they are guided to fly straight. They are similar to the tail of a bird. In fact, some traditional archers still use birds’ feathers but they are now mostly made from some sort of plastic. Unfortunately, one of the penalties of improving your grouping is that some fletchings get shot off. Or, even if you are not that good, someone else will do it for you if several people are shooting at the same target. Whatever the reason, there comes a time when fletchings need to be replaced. There are fletching jigs designed to fix them at the correct angle and position but, as far as I am concerned, gluing them to the arrow is not easily achieved because super-glue seems to stick to everything but where I want it to go! I have had a better success rate using Gorilla gel glue. It does not harden off in the container and can be saved for the next time it is needed, but I still get in a mess even using that.

With all that in mind I was delighted when I found Curly Vanes, they seemed to be the answer. No glue involved, these vanes are attached using very narrow strips of double sided sticky tape. I produced an article extolling their virtues for our web site and then, in use, found that they were not the perfect answer. Unless the vane perfectly covers the exposed surface of the sticky tape there is a risk that the uncovered bit will look for something to stick to. And it does. Frequently I would find two arrows stuck together in my quiver and in trying to pull them apart would tear off a fletching. Back to the drawing board then!

Now the rest of this tract is only useful to owners of compound bows with drop-down arrow rests. For those who aren’t it might be possible to learn something of use for the future purchase of such equipment or having an answer to an arcane question in a pub quiz.

In a conversation with our coach I promulgated the idea that maybe someone would design an “all in one” sleeve that would have the vanes integral, thus eliminating gluing. “Already done” he said, and at our next meeting presented me with a box of “Turbo Nocks”. These have four small vanes and a nock which plugs into an arrow that has had the conventional nock and vanes removed. Made in the USA of course, and I reproduce the company’s blurb.

“The unique, patented, twisted nock and vane design of the TURBO NOCK improves the accuracy of arrows, by causing them to spin instantly when released from the bow string.”

Well, my accuracy has not improved but I no longer risk gluing my fingers together. For those interested, go to their web site www.turbonock.com.

For those of pedantic inclination one dictionary definition of “fletcher” is “an archaic maker of arrows”. The dictionary definition of “tract” is “a short treatise on a religious subject”. Surely archery is pursued by us all, religiously.

Brian Clarke – Committee Member