Playing card arrow fletchings

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by Oltymer, Dec 15, 2016.


  1. Oltymer

    Oltymer Monkey+

    Here are some pics of an arrow I put together with the fletchings made from playing cards. I get 2 fletches from each card by cutting the card in halves lengthwise, trim to desired shape, and separate the side of the card to be attached to the arrow shaft with a knife going about 1/16" into the card, then spread out and flatten the separated wings which will then resemble the quill on a feather fletching. Glue to shaft, then when glue is dry wrap front and rear fletchings with cordage, string, thread, or whatever you have. I used the cards in lieu of feathers because I'm out right now and didn't want to use pine needles. Cattail leaves in summer work well as substitute feathers, along with any tough broadleaf tree leaves, but neither will hold up to repeated use like real feathers. Duct tape is another option, but usually doesn't hold up too well as after a few shots the tape seems to really get whacked out.

    This arrow has a hand ground shale point I made that I mounted with pine pitch glue and then wrapped with imitation sinew, but any good cordage would work, and the shaft is made of maple. The arrow weighs 40 grams or 2 1/2 oz. I will be doing a video for my You Tube channel, Wildcat Creek Survival, tomorrow in a penetration test with this arrow. I did a long and boring video where I ground the point to shape a couple of weeks ago, just to let people understand how time consuming stone age tool construction can be.

    I don't think the point will survive after impact of the first shot, but would do it's intended work and be sufficient to take a deer at 15 yards in a survival situation where you would be still hunting behind some kind of blind, upwind from a deer trail, and just wait, wait, wait... 002.JPG

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    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
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  2. chelloveck

    chelloveck Shining the light on a truthier truth!

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  3. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    Watched your vid. Interesting that you can score shale to make it fracture in a given direction.
     
  4. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I eat vegetables. My friends are not vegetables.

    Sweet tech!
     
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  5. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    I know that shale is easy to shape but I would think it would be too soft to be used as a tip. As I recall, shale is lighter but splits.

    Awesome arrow. Very nice. @Oltymer you have inspired me with this post to try and make arrows again.
     
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  6. Oltymer

    Oltymer Monkey+

    Shale is not the best stone to be making arrow points with, for sure. Just showing how to use locally available material for arrow points. Some shale is harder than others in the same outcropping and simple field testing will reveal which to use. I did a YouTube video this morning on my channel Wildcat Creek Survival and fired this arrow into a bag packed with plastic shopping bags. This primitive point penetrated as well or better than my aluminum arrows equipped with field points, around 6 inches. In comparison a modern razor tipped broadhead would have shot through, but I think the shale would have proved quickly fatal fired from the 55 lb bow I was using if it had struck a deer in it's heart area. The shale head snapped, as I thought it would, and I had one of the fletchings rip off when I shot the arrow.

    So, back to the drawing board on the playing card fletchings.
    1. I will try a steeper angle on the front of the fletchings.
    2. Thinking about cutting feather vanes into the cards as they are pretty tough, but too stiff. I believe this would add some flexibility and that the cards would last longer.
    3. Anybody have any ideas? 003.JPG 004.JPG
     
  7. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    Cut them less wide, I would think. Lower profile would cause less drag, and be less likely to tear.
     
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  8. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    @Oltymer did you make the dowel/arrow yourself or did you buy them? I tried to make my own arrows (fail) then bought some dowels from Home Depot.
     
  9. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    It's much easier with dowels, no lie about that. Haha.
     
  10. Oltymer

    Oltymer Monkey+

    That one is made from a maple branch, but I use dowels too. Arrow shafts from nature are usually not perfectly straight, but I work them as straight as possible. I currently have a bundle of honeysuckle bush shafts, not the vine type, drying to experiment with, but my favorites are wild cherry, hickory, and river cane. I re-did the playing card fletchings and will do some more testing and post results here, maybe today if I get the time. You might take a look at my video on the arrow test at my YouTube channel Wildcat Creek Survival. When I made the shot the lower right fletching peeled right off as it passed the bow and my gloved hand, luckily I still hit the target.

    I don't think wooden arrows will work with a compound bow as there is too much shock at the release. Just keep on working at making an arrow, one good one. You don't need the jigs, and wouldn't have access to one in a survival situation plus they drive you crazy with wild shaft arrows which are straight enough to get the job done, but have small zig-zags along their length.

    Just learn to do it by feel and the skills to turn out a good arrow will come with experience. Make it a Zen meditation experience, take your time and enjoy the process and just work on it when you feel like it.
     
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  11. Oltymer

    Oltymer Monkey+

    Playing card fletchings - fail # 2. I replaced the torn fletch, and trimmed them to more of an incline. The fletch that contacts the bow upon firing tore up again, but not as badly as on 003.JPG 004.JPG the first shot. So, I'll be replacing the torn one and trying a new profile on the fletches. We'll see how that works tomorrow.
     
    Dunerunner likes this.
  12. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

  13. chelloveck

    chelloveck Shining the light on a truthier truth!

    Thin strips of duct tape for reinforcing the edges?
     
  14. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Or maybe cut up a beer can? (Put a glove on your bow hand ---)
     
  15. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

  16. Oltymer

    Oltymer Monkey+

    OK, try #3, I trimmed the fletches to a lower profile and put duct tape on one side of each fletching, better, but might need it on both sides, will try that next. Duct tape itself for fletchings is too flimsy, playing cards are too stiff, together might be perfection. 003.JPG 004.JPG 005.JPG First pic is B4 any shooting, last 2 pics of fletchings after 5 shots. I put dots on the shaft to aid as a visual for knocking.
     
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  17. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    I take a piece of tape on one side, and then flip it and press the two together.
     
  18. chelloveck

    chelloveck Shining the light on a truthier truth!

    And here's me thinkin' its some kind of oltymer voodoo totem. :eek:
     
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  19. Oltymer

    Oltymer Monkey+

    onto
    The voodoo comes into play after the final successful testing and I tie a naked Barbie doll stuck full of pins onto the shaft for the finishing touch. It should really be accurate then!
     
  20. chelloveck

    chelloveck Shining the light on a truthier truth!

    Oh man....that's gonna hurt big time....and be a bastard to pull out of flesh.....I think I be using broad heads.....its more humane.

    Go for the Katniss doll....then you'll have a bow and arrows on your arrows.... ;)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016
    Oltymer likes this.
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