I fletch my own arrows. I found that when I would buy factory fletched arrows, the fletching quality was usually not good.
I use an Arizona Easy Fletcher with the short helical arms. My hunting arrows wear Bohning Broadhead vanes and my 3D arrows wear either AAE or Duravane.
I spin all my hunting arrows over a roller first and match them to a broadhead, then apply a 4" wrap to the shaft, lining the seam up with one of the broadhead blades. I then index the vanes to the head and spin everything again. Going through all this trouble gets me very consistant arrows over the whole dozen. AND it gets me alot of work from guys at work that want me to fletch their arrows.
As I have said in other posts, I love to tinker on my weapons, and building arrows is just one more thing to tinker on.
When I get home in March I will get some pics of my work and post them.
I've always done my own. I may buy them fletched occasionally, but when they wear out I'll continue to refletch them until they wear out. When looking for arrows for my traditional bows, it's hard to find arrows fletched with feathers any more. I also like straight fletch with a slight offset over a full helical.
I like the Jo-Jan jig. I can do 6 arrows (one feather each) at a time. Also, for the few times I've needed to do helical, I just bought a single helical clamp insted of buying a whole new jig.
I have thought about buying a rig like that, if I ever start doing it professionaly, I will probably get one to work with. I like doing all 3 vanes and wiping the excess glue off before putting it up to dry though. I understand that you can adjust the angle of the helical somewhat with the Jo-Jan, or is that the Bitzenburger?
I'm not as familiar with the Bitz but with the JoJan you can adjust either end relative to the clamp.
I set mine up for straight but also have marked it for helical so I can adjust when needed. It took a bit of playing around to get each seting where I wanted it but once set, you never have to change it again unles you are jumping around a lot in arrow sizes (but even then it has to be pretty drastic to warrant a change)
I know a lot of people love the Bitz but it only does one feather on one arrow at a time.
Either way, it does not take long before it starts to pay for itself..
This is the jig from the top. Adjustments can be made by lossening the wing nuts and sliding the nock holders left or right. When fletching, the nocks are inserted into the round barrel looking parts. There is a cross piece inside that keeps the nock oriented correctly and there are detents on the outside that are indexed for either 3 or 4 fletch's dependiong on which way they are inserted into the jig. Mine are a little loose from years of use, I have to be carefull that the nock holders are in line.
Closer view of adjustments, you can see the cross bar in the nock holders here.
View from the front, adjustments can be made here as well. You can see I have it set a little right of center (looks like left from this side) When using the striaght clamp I like a little offset, that is accomplished with the adjustments. For helical, I only adjust it enough to make sure the feather/vane stays in contact with the arrow along it's full length so that the glue/tape holds in it place properly
Clamps: LW Helical on the left, stright on the right. I swear I also had a RW helical clamp but it was not in the box where I normally store the jig.
I will normally align all the nock holders to the same position and set the arrow(s) in the jig. I will then place a feather/vane in each clamp, making sure they are all in the same postion (dist from the nock). One at a time I will apply glue to the feather/vane and apply the clamp until all six have been placed. I usually give it 20 minutes or so for the glue to set before removing the clamps, rotating the nock holer and repeating the process for the next row of feathers/vanes.
I only use the helical jig for my traditional arrows. For these prefer tape over glue for attaching the feathers/vanes. Because there is no set time for tape I just use one jig and quickly attatch each feather to the arrow. I will also apply tape top all the feathers/vanes prior to starting. That actually takes longer then fletching the arrows.
When done with either method I apply a dab of glue to the ends of the feathers/vanes to make sure they stay down.
I believe JoJan made a single arrow jig as well. If you keep your eyes open you can find these on eBay occasionally, that's where I found mine. My dad has one he bough when we were kids and he still uses it today. He is a competitve shooter, he has fletched many 1000's of arrows I'm sure by now. It's a worthwhile investment if you do much shooting at all.
If I remember the next time I refletch I'll take more pictures of the actual process.
I use both the Jo-Jan 6-arrow jig and Arizona land and short fletchers. They all have their pros and cons. I fletch just about all my arrows and use feathers (indoor target) as well as plastic vanes (Fusion and Flex Fletch 187s).
I wrap all my arrows with either stick-on tape or the Easton shrink wrap style. Heat some water to boiling, put the wrap on the arrow, align it and dip it in the water. Doesn't move and comes off easily with a knife...no residue. The stick-on leave residue and requires alcohol and/or acetone to clean.
Target shooting eats fletchings at a fast rate. Hunting arrows last for years if you don't shoot them all at the same quarter-sized dot.
@MikeD We do shoot 3 and 5 spot targets indoors but when we move outside there are up to 4 of us shooting up to 6 arrows per a single target. Yep, 24 arrows. Distances beyond 30M (NAA/US Archery) and 45 yds (NFAA) require a single target (two are assigned to targets between 35-45 yds in NFAA).
As for the Arizona jig, it all depends on whether you wrapped the arrows prior to fletching and how much glue residue is left on the arrow. I've done it a few times but mostly just refletch all 3 vanes.
I started with 3D but after a couple years grew weary of waiting forever to shoot one arrow and taking 4 1/2 to 5 hrs to shoot 30. That and the pencil pushing that goes on during every shoot. Every once in awhile I go out to a 3D shoot. Done more working on the courses than shooting, though. I prefer Field and outdoor target archery. More arrows, same time period. In a Field shoot (28 targets) I'll shoot around 130 arrows in 4-4 1/2 hours. Outdoor target is generally 80+ in the same amount of time.