Arrow Fletching, Fletching jigs, Helical and offsets

bowrunner

Active Member
Oct 13, 2015
299
9
Illinois
I have done some minor arrow fletching before, but mostly had it done at a pro shop. Now, I bought some shafts and want to fletch my own. Previously, I had the pro shop put a slight offset to my blazer vanes and they were fine. I had also never shot my fixed broadheads past 30 yards or so. I shoot shuttle Ts by the way. I think I want to venture into a helical fletch and blazer vanes or similar and I need some advice.

First, I want to buy a fletching jig. I have it narrowed down to the Arizona E-Z fletcher mini w/ helical, the bohning helix fletcher, and the bitzenburger jig w/ a helical clamp. If you guys can give me some opinions on these I would appreciate it.

Additionally, I am not sure what degree of helical to try for. I know that the Arizona and the Helix are roughly a 3 degree helical, but the bitzenburger advertises a 5 degree helical. Does anyone know if the bitzenburger is actually adjustable down to a 3 degree? Also, is a 5 degree too much? Any other thoughts and suggestions you might have let me know.

Thanks in advance.
 

tdcour

Veteran member
Feb 28, 2013
1,100
26
Central Kansas
I really like the bitzenburger so I can fletch pretty much any fletch at any angle I want. I have the helical jig and straight jig. I've been able to experiment with different degree's to see which makes my arrows fly the best. I'm sure the others are great too, but I've had this one for about 4 years and don't think I'll own another.

As far as glue, I've used several. I had good luck with Bohning Platinum glue and I think I used Goat Tuff last time. I've never had issues with them coming off.
 

tdcour

Veteran member
Feb 28, 2013
1,100
26
Central Kansas
I'm sure the bitzenburger can do 5 degree, but I don't think you really need to do that. It also gets hard to keep the vane on the arrow evenly with that much helical. I'm guessing I'm right at 3 or a little under with my rig.
 

theleo91386

Member
Apr 20, 2016
74
0
I 4 fletch my arrows using the E-Z fletch mini. Even 4 fletching them, you can make a dozen in a hurry. It's easy to use and gets put in my duffle when the season comes around should I need to replace a fletching in camp.
 

bowrunner

Active Member
Oct 13, 2015
299
9
Illinois
I'm sure the bitzenburger can do 5 degree, but I don't think you really need to do that. It also gets hard to keep the vane on the arrow evenly with that much helical. I'm guessing I'm right at 3 or a little under with my rig.
tdcour,

I am not necessarily looking to put a 5 degree helical on my arrow. If you say you are putting a 3 degree on it now, Im assuming it is adjustable to various angles? I think a 3 degree is about what I am shooting for, or at least what I will try first.

It sounds like all three options give you great results. I am more so trying to decide whether the quality of the bitzenburger is worth the extra $40 or so. I would say it is much more versatile as another positive note.
 

tdcour

Veteran member
Feb 28, 2013
1,100
26
Central Kansas
tdcour,

I am not necessarily looking to put a 5 degree helical on my arrow. If you say you are putting a 3 degree on it now, Im assuming it is adjustable to various angles? I think a 3 degree is about what I am shooting for, or at least what I will try first.

It sounds like all three options give you great results. I am more so trying to decide whether the quality of the bitzenburger is worth the extra $40 or so. I would say it is much more versatile as another positive note.
It is very adjustable. You can adjust the placement of the front and rear of the vane to your liking. There are some accessories you can also buy to line up your fletch (top, right, left) as well as helical direction. Lots of adjustments for sure. I'll just say I'm not upset I bought it, but I'm sure the others are good as well. You can also change the degree of vane placement so you can do 4 vanes if you want. 3 combos if I remember right.
 

Slugz

Veteran member
Oct 12, 2014
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Woodland Park, Colorado
Not to bore the crowd with the Aerodynamic math behind it but there is significant instability induced past 3 degrees. Nothing gained past 3 with the standard fletch sizes.

I've used all the jigs mentioned, worked well when used correctly and get good vane to shaft quick contact with minimal fudging around.
 

Bughalli

Member
Jan 15, 2012
139
0
First, I want to buy a fletching jig. I have it narrowed down to the Arizona E-Z fletcher mini w/ helical, the bohning helix fletcher, and the bitzenburger jig w/ a helical clamp. If you guys can give me some opinions on these I would appreciate.
You will really enjoy arrow building. It's easy and fun. After your first batch you'll never pay someone to do it again. Plus now you can fix fletching when damaged.

Arizona E-Z mini has a 6 degree helical. The Bohning a 3 degree. Blitzenburger you set it to what you want. I have all three. The first two are super fast and easy. You pretty much can't screw it up. Consistent results every time. The Blitzenburger takes 3x longer, since you do each fletch one by one, waiting for the glue to dry in between. With helicals I give the glue more time to set. I think it's easier to make mistakes with the Blitzenburger if you get careless or in a rush. My Blitzenburger, while it has the highest quality construction, never gets used any more.

The ARizona EZ mini is great and used it for years, but it really has more helical than you need most of the time (6 degree). It's useful with bigger flixed blade broadheads when stabilizing the arrow is harder, but otherwise that level of helical isn't needed. The helical does slow the arrow down and it shows up on longer shots where it changes the point of impact by hitting lower. Also has slightly more noise from wind drag. Not bad, just slight differences. Their design is super easy to use, good quality hard plastic and pretty bomb proof. It will last a very long time. Very easy to store as well and takes up no space.

The Bohning w/helical is 3 degrees. Easy design, consistent results, fast, etc. From what I read in arrow testing from people who have more time and arrows than myself, 3 degrees is optimal for most. There was no improvement in group size going from 3 to 6 degree helical. Since it has less helical it's a little faster, little quieter. I like my arrow flight better, just less extreme. The Bohning design is more fragile (cheaper plastic) and more intricate. We'll see if it holds up to the test of time. It doesn't store nearly as easily or compact because of the design. So I need to be a little more careful to not damage it in the storage bin with the rest of my archery supplies. If I recall, I think it costs more than the AZ. Bohning does require this annoying tape to ensure the jig doesn't get glued to the arrow or fletch. Hard to explain it. Mine hasn't worn out, so I don't know if it's really needed.

I wanted 3 degree after using 6 degree for many years, so I mostly use Bohning now. I wish AZ made a 3 degree because I like their design the best, but they don't.

Also, get an arrow cutter if planning to cut them....or make sure to order the proper length so they are pre-cut. You don't want to be use a hand saw at home. Not precise enough and will cause all kinds of problems with accuracy.
 
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bowrunner

Active Member
Oct 13, 2015
299
9
Illinois
This is all great information. I am pretty set on using a 3 degree helical. The website I was looking at the AZ advertised a 3 degree I thought, but that must not be correct. So I guess it is between the bohning and the bitzenburger. I agree that the bitzenburger is a higher quality product, and that is important. I like buying things once and never again. But it sounds like the bohning produces great results also. I have a $50 gift card at bass pro, so I will go there and check both of them out.

When you say its easier to make mistakes with the bitzenburger, I dont see myself rushing this process ever. Is it just less easy to accurately place the fletchings, or is it just how you said. If you get ina hurry...
 

tdcour

Veteran member
Feb 28, 2013
1,100
26
Central Kansas
This is all great information. I am pretty set on using a 3 degree helical. The website I was looking at the AZ advertised a 3 degree I thought, but that must not be correct. So I guess it is between the bohning and the bitzenburger. I agree that the bitzenburger is a higher quality product, and that is important. I like buying things once and never again. But it sounds like the bohning produces great results also. I have a $50 gift card at bass pro, so I will go there and check both of them out.

When you say its easier to make mistakes with the bitzenburger, I dont see myself rushing this process ever. Is it just less easy to accurately place the fletchings, or is it just how you said. If you get ina hurry...
Pretty much just if you get in a hurry or stop paying attention. Putting the vane in the right spot every time in the clamp is one part, having the correct depth set with vane in clamp, and slowly putting down vane on arrow all have areas you can screw up. I actually use fast set glue with mine and press the vane on, wait about then seconds, pull the clamp off and go to the next one so it doesn't take long to do it. I know you are supposed to wait longer, but I've never had any issues. I think the bitzenburger takes a little more "touch" than the others. Not saying that is good or bad, just a difference. The Bitzenburger is for guys that will fletch, refletch, experiment with degrees, experiment with vane spacing or number of vanes, etc. If you won't do this, there isn't much need for it and one of the "easier" models would be fine.
 

bowrunner

Active Member
Oct 13, 2015
299
9
Illinois
I had stated before that I wanted to use blazer vanes, but I have read a decent amount about AAE elite 26 fletchings. They are 2 7/8" long and 1/2" tall compared to the blazers that are 2" and .57" tall. Its just a slightly longer and thinner profile. If I decide to go with those, the bitzenburger would be the best option. If I can do a 3 degree helical with the bitzenburger and decide to try a different fletch, I might go with that.

Again, I appreciate all of your help.
 

bowrunner

Active Member
Oct 13, 2015
299
9
Illinois
Maxhunter, how is your arrow flight with fixed blades, or do you shoot mechanical? I am looking at the AAE plasifletch EP-26. I actually just bought the bitzenburger fletch jig on Saturday with a right helical clamp. I'm going to order some fletchings this week. I like th idea of having a slightly lower profile compared to the blazer vanes.