The making of arrows, including shaping the wooden shafts and attaching the feathers.
|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
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
Craftspeople currently known
A list of fletchers can be found on the website of the Craft Guild of Traditional Bowyers & Fletchers.