A Fletching Conundrum

For those of you using plastic vanes or feathers and doing your own fletching you need a fletching cement. For twenty years or so, my “go-to” cement was Fletch-tite from the Bohning company. But about two years ago, the performance of that wonderful stuff dropped from “wonderful” to unusable. Fletches fell off as if they were held on with spit. At first I thought is was just a bad batch but I bought fresh tubes and checked in with other archers and coaches and … same thing. There are even reviews on sites like 3riversarchery.com and other websites to the same effect. It is sad, because having a trusted component of a routine like fletching is important.

I suspect this may be the result of chemicals used in the original formula of that wondrous fletching cement becoming no longer available for common use and a reformulation using substitutes was made. And my track record on such guesses is woeful, so I probably should just stop guessing.fletch-tite-glue

The question is “What to use instead?” The first thing I found was a fletching cement from the Allen Company, but after one tube it became “no longer available.” I am not a fan of cyanoacrylate glues (the so-called “super glues”) but I may be forced to use them. Then I got a hint (can’t remember from where) about Loctite Go2 glue and that works okay. Since Go2 wasn’t made specifically as a fletching cement, I am also trying Loctite Vinyl, Fabric & Plastic Flexible Adhesive because it also has attributes that should make for an acceptable fletching cement. I suspect that many of these products are quite similar, being distinguished by only small differences, but the goal is to find an available, affordable fletching cement that isn’t one of the “super glue” types.

I may end up trying the old standby from the wood arrows and feathers days: Duco Cement.

What do you use?

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “A Fletching Conundrum

  1. grandbill

    Same problem on the other side of the Atlantic ocean…
    Fletch-tite is dead!
    After several attempts, I use the thick or medium cyanoacrylate (I do RC glider and these adhesives are well known by modellers as Zap-A-Gap CA+ or equiv.). Before use, I pass acetone on the tube and vane.To protect the flecthing-jig from the glue, I spent candle wax on all parties that may be in contact with the glue. A drop on each end of the vane and it is done. I have never had feathers detachment, but they are removable by scratching. I keep glue in the refrigerator for several years.
    For wooden tubes in traditional archery, I use the glue “UHU Hart”, also well known in modelling, perfect for wood/feather assembly.
    Have a nice day
    Patrick

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  2. I used to use HMG glue for feather fletching but have swapped to tape a few months back and found this to work very well.
    Have a look at the link here (https://offthearrowshelf.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/equipment-review-bohning-fletching-tape/)

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  3. John kenny

    I have always used one of the ” super glues”, but like yourself I have been having trouble with it, even though I cleaned them and the shafts as instructed . I often thought that I would have done better to use jam, but I couldn’t decide between raspberry or strawberry.

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  4. Damon Ayer

    I have been using fetching tape with great success, and have had very few failures of the tape even with multiple instances of pulling arrows through hay bales. The feathers tend to fail before the tape. They go on and come off so easily. As I shoot traditional only I do not know if a compound boy’s greater speed would be problematic. As it is fairly cheap and completely reversible it would be a rewarding experiment.

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    • Thanks, I am going to give it a try.

      On Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 12:26 PM, A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:

      >

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    • grandbill

      I used the tape for natural feathers on wooden shafts, but had problem when I sitck the vane bended, on 4 and 5″ vanes. The glue of the tape is not strong enough (hard) to keep the vane bended with helicoidal use . After several days, the vane unstick and remains straight.
      :o(

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      • So did you try straight fletching (at a slight angle)? This is interesting as I have had more trouble with feathers (when fletched helically) resisting the position I wanted them in.

        On Mon, Oct 3, 2016 at 1:54 AM, A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:

        >

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  5. waltinpa

    I’m curious, what is it about the ‘super glues’ that you dislike?

    I recently had to re-fletch a bunch of my daughter’s arrows. The vanes were originally put on using Fletch Tite Platimum and with the number of vanes she had come off, didn’t trust it anymore.

    Someone from my local archery club suggested Lock Tite brand super glue. So far the glue seems to be holding well. Just the other day I used it again to fletch up 10 arrows for my wife.

    I’ll have to wait and see how well it holds up but so far, so good.

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    • With regard to carbon arrows, if you had to refletch, there was no simple way to remove the fletches, save to cut them off with a sharp tool. The first time I tried this, I sliced a chunk of the carbon matrix out with the vane. Before Fletch Tite was “improved” to the point that it doesn’t work any more, I basically never had a vane fall off and if I wanted to refletch a bunch of arrows, I just submerged the fletches in a jar of acetone for 15-20 minutes and all of the fletches just fell off. The super glues have no solvents so that technique will not work, similarly, even if you manage to remove the fletches mechanically, the slight amount of glue residue cannot be removed with a solvent.

      I would love to have a fast setting fletching cement (like the super glues) that was easily removed for refletching.

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  6. Syed Hussain

    I use the tape and never have problems with feathers coming off. I have some arrows that have lasted me 3 years 🙂

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  7. Last flectching operations…and glues adventures.

    One week ago, I was Fletching my indoor set of carbon arrows (Victory Vx23-400), with my usual thick cyanoacrylate bond. It was difficult because the bond was old and take a long time to dry : several minutes by vane before being able to glue another one .So Cyano is ok , but if recently opened.fortunately I fletched straight with a 3 fletching jig set.
    The same day, I had to fletch some ACC with feather vanes for an archer from my club. I looked for another glue at my house and If found an old tube of Sauders (several years old..) And it was perfect ! the glue reamins liquid, and I found back the features of the “dead” Fletchtite. One advantage is that the applicator (?) is more thin and allows a more precise dosage and application than Fletchtite one. drying is quite correct. May be the substitute to Fletchtite, surely for me, and cheaper than it.
    Yesterday , I prepare my outdoor set of arrows (Victory VAP 400) with Blazer vanes. I come back to my ultrathin cyano that is fast, glue perfectly on carbon and plastic vanes. 10 shafts fletched in 1 hour, with a 1 vane fletching jig, what I do when I fletch with angle – for regularity of position.
    My standards : Saunders for feather, ultra thin (recent) for plastic.

    have good shots !
    Patrick

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    • The problem I have with “super glues” too is they are hard to remove when refletching. Your point is they need to be “fresh” which makes them more expensive. I miss the old formula Fletch-Tite as a tube lasted a good long time and could be used on any type of fletchings.

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