Currently viable crafts




The making of arrows, including shaping the wooden shafts and attaching the feathers.


Status Currently viable
Craft category Wood, Metal
Historic area of significance UK
Area currently practised UK
Origin in the UK Neolithic
Current no. of professionals (main income) 45 members of the Guild of Bowyers & Fletchers
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees 7
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required



Started for hunting, developed for warfare, became a recreation, still continues.

Fletching is the craft of making arrows. It involves the producing of shaped and tillered staves suitable to project arrows, the producing of arrows suitable to be shot, the producing of suitable strings for the bow, and the producing of suitable heads for the arrows.



  • Split stave, shape, tiller, add nocks and string
  • Square staves, remove edges, shape to a dowel, make or add nock, add point and feathers
  • Twist threads together, make a loop at one end, serve centre section for protection
  • Heat and hammer metal to required shape, with socket for attachment to arrow


Local forms

There are variations depending on what wood is available and what the customer requires (e.g. for target, for field shooting for re-enactment or warbows for distance shooting, etc.)




Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • Demand for the service
  • Too few young people to follow older ones as they retire
  • Not being able to accept apprentices in the usual commercial manner
  • Shortage and increased prices of quality timber
  • Market prices cannot be charged which provide a living
  • Most craftsmen only working part time on the craft and have other jobs


Support organisations

Craftspeople currently known

A list of fletchers can be found on the website of the Craft Guild of Traditional Bowyers & Fletchers.


Other information