Home Forums Campfire Forum To burn or cut is the question?

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    • 3blades
      Post count: 58

      I just received some full length feathers from K.K. and meant to buy shield cut ones instead. My question is do I spend the cash and burn them into shape or get a shield cutter or rather just send them back and forget it? I like to fletch and build my own arrows however. 💡

    • Chris Shelton
      Post count: 679

      I get my feathers from 3rivers, but for a long time I was buying sheild cut feathers but bought a cutter as well because I wanted to make my own feathers after I read a article on making them in Traditional Bowhunter Magazine, So when I was experimenting with other feather lengths like the one time I tried 5.5 high backs and then realized that even when shot out of my 55 pound bow they slowed the arrow to nearly crawling speed I was able to cut down the feathers and have my quicker 4 inch vanes back on there. This last order was my first order of full lenth feathers. It was only like 6 dollars more for 100 full length feathers than it was for 100 sheild cut ones. The catch 22 of this is that I can get 200 feathers out of the full length ones because they are full length. I have never burned feathers before so I am a bit biased but I would recommend a cutter. It has always done its job for me, hope this helps!

    • 3blades
      Post count: 58

      A feather cutter is around 20 bucks at 3rivers so I will most always use shield cut. Kinda leaning toward that route. Also didn’t realize you can get 2 feathers out of one full length.:D

    • Chris Shelton
      Post count: 679

      yea but keep in mind that I shoot 4 inch vanes I dont think you will always be able to get two out of a feather every time if you shoot like 5’s or 5.5’s! Just something to keep in mind! And the Chopper I use is the one from 3rivers and I like it, just set the feather in, tap the top with a ruber mallet and out pops a feather! If you scroll down the forums page on this site you should see a thread called Cool Trad Turkey Video, there is like a 5 second clip of me cutting a feather to prepare for spring turkey if it would help you to see what it is like!?

    • MontanaFord
      Post count: 450

      how long are the full length feathers? and can you set up a chopper to cut different sizes? or do they sell separate choppers for separate style/size feathers? i haven’t looked into it myself, so i’m curious…

      Michael

    • crittergitter
      Post count: 42

      greaterarcher i read that you shoot 4 in feathers,that is interesting.everyone i ever talked too insisted i had to have 5 in,that it was difficult to get good flight with 4 in,but as you say you read in tbmag how to make your own fletch so did i,probably as you were experimenting with that so was i.my results showed me that with my woodsman heads i could get good flight with extremely short fletch,in fact my arrows fly perfectly with 3 in helical.but i decided just from doubts to go with 4in.oh yeah i did a few traditional shoots in my location in witch i was using 2 and a half in feathers,i did verry well,in the top 5.

    • Chris Shelton
      Post count: 679

      First to Michael, they have very many different styles and lengths but you need to buy a different chopper, I would suppose that if you wanted several different lenghts or different styles then it would be the same cost of buying a burner, but i dont think I would personally like burning? I dont know I think it is like alot of other things in our sport, based off preference.

      To crittergetter, yea I know exactly where you are coming from, the same thing happened to me kinda. Except that I came from a compound, my first set of arrows actually went to my compound, even though I only hunted with a compound once!
      At first i had 4 inch vanes, I even killed my first deer with a recurve using vanes, everything back then was wrong, that is to book rules! So I switched to 4 inch sheilds and I saw people on TV, mainly Tred Barta who used these huge wood arrows with big feathers, I didnt get it but I figured I would give it a try. So I did and man o man it was like shooting a flu flu, so I cut down the feathers and have been solid ever since, I did buy easton full metal jackets and I just couldnt get them to fly for crap but I dont think bigger feathers would help. That was my only problem. I get good flight now and the other times before, right now I am shooting Beeman ICS Bowhunters from 3rivers, with 4 inch pink sheilds, the pink helps me see the arrow in flight better, have definatly seen a huge increase in the tightness of groups since switching to pink from natural turkeys, although the turkeys looked good on any shaft!:D

    • T. J. Conrads
      Admin
      Post count: 52

      Montana:

      You can get two four-inch feather cuts from a full length feather, but the quills on the ends are much thinner and weaker. Not a problem for many people, though. I shoot three fletch, five and one-half inch feathers for no other reason than I like them. I cut out the best part of the feather, which has the longest oil line and strongest quills, and attach them to the shaft. I burn them to my own shapes: one parabolic, one modified shield.

      The Choppers work quite well, too, although you cannot modify your shapes like you can with a feather burner wire. It takes more time to cut and burn your own feathers, but it also adds immensely to your enjoyment of archery, not the least is the satisfaction of shooting an arrow that you have custom designed to your own desires. That is what this traditional thing is all about.

      I buy tapered cedar shafting from Kustom King, after which I stain, clear coat, cap, crest, and fletch to my own design. I start off with a 440 to 450 shaft, which by the time I am done gives me a 600 +- 5-grain arrow (140-grain Zwickey or Eclipse head) that shoots from a 56# bow at 193 fps. (Not that I am a speed freak, but this combination has taken everything from wild hogs to elk to zebra and wildebeest with complete penetration.)

      It is much easier, and maybe a little cheaper, to buy pre-cut feathers; however, I think that once you delve into the feather burning you will get hooked too. There’s just something special about taking an animal with an arrow that you have put so much time and effort into!

      T.J.

    • Chris Shelton
      Post count: 679

      Amen to that, I even get that same sense of enjoyment and I just use carbon shafts, Also I think that we feel more confident in our gear if we are the ones who put in the time to do it to the standards that we have set for ourselves!

    • MontanaFord
      Post count: 450

      TJ,

      Thank you for the information and advice. You mentioned making a modified shield cut feather. How did you modify the shield cut? I shoot parabolic feathers on my aluminum shafts. I shoot 2117’s cut at 31 1/2″ with a 145-150 gr. tip, giving me an overall weight of around 585 gr. These chronograph at about 165-170 fps out of my Bear Grizzly. I draw 29 1/2″ and 60# on this bow. What kind of bow are you shooting to pull 193 fps with a 600 grain arrow?

      Michael

    • donw
      Post count: 38

      i’ve watched and listened to many interesting and informative debates about length and heigth of fletches over the years.

      plastic vanes vs feathers

      short vs long

      helical vs straight vs diagonal

      right vs left

      now the most recent, it’s back to the tiny 1.5″ vanes in a straight configuration…(this is normally for the fast shooting wheel bows, though.)

      what it comes down to, once again, is what YOU determine YOU like best and what works best for you.

      in years past, i’ve found that from my longbow, 5.5″ feathers in a low cut sheild or parabolic cut work wonderfully…from my recurves…4.75″-5.0″ low cut parabolics work wonderfully.

      in the end, it’s been my bow setup that determines the size of the feather: finger release, larger feathers, mechanical release aid, smaller feathers.

      a finger released arrow will require more of a recovery than one released via mechanical release aid as it has more of an archers paradox and is subjected to more variables than one shot with a release aid; larger feathers aid in faster recovery.

      basically, what i’m trying to say is that there is no ONE pat answer for your question. trial and error will determine your final set-up.

    • MontanaFord
      Post count: 450

      For myself personally, shooting both 4″ and 5″ feathers on identical arrows, I have noticed no significant difference in arrow flight. They both seem to stabilize pretty much the same. The only real difference I’ve noticed is a few grains difference in overall weight. Aside from that, the only real difference I can think of would be speed, and I have yet to actually check the difference in speed on a chronograph.

      Michael

    • Chris Shelton
      Post count: 679

      I thought that the amount of recorvery was effected by the means of release yes but isnt the amount of recovery decided by the arrow spine?

    • T. J. Conrads
      Admin
      Post count: 52

      I am shooting a Black Widow longbow right now: 64″, 56# @ 28″ draw. I also shoot one that is the same except two pounds heavier. I used to shoot a Robertson longbow that was 69# and shot the same arrow at 197 fps, but the hinge blew out in Africa and I found that the BW shot much smoother and much faster at much less poundage. Design improvements in many bows today allows us to drop a lot of weight off our draw.

      To modify the feather burn, I designed my own style by bending the burn wire to the desired shape, length, and height. I use an older Young feather burned I picked up from the folks at Kustom King. It came with three nickel wires and I used two to make a parabolic and shield of my own design. I seem to have lost the third wire, though, and will order new ones when I place a big order with Kustom King next month…I drew Idaho moose this year and am building 800 grain arrows made from purple heart I picked up many years ago from Bill Bonzcar at Allegheny Mountain Arrow Woods. They aren’t too straight, and it is a real hassle to straighten them out, but they fly well and pack a huge wallop.

      I will try and post a picture this week of my shield cut.

      T.J.

    • MontanaFord
      Post count: 450

      T.J.

      First off, congratulations on drawing your moose tag. That’s cool. Where will you be hunting over there? I’ve seen a couple nice moose up here in Northwest Montana, but have yet to put in for a tag. If I ever do, I’ll probably put in for an either sex tag rather than a bull only tag. The odds of filling the tag seem like they’re higher that way. Your bow sounds like a nice bow…would like to see a picture or two of it sometime. I would eventually like to have a bow built for myself, and perhaps one for my wife, to match, but that will be a while down the road, I believe.

      I knew an older fellow that had a BW take-down recurve that was very nice indeed. He had two sets of limbs for it. He sold it before he passed on, but I was fortunate enough to “inherit” all of his other archery supplies.

      What broadheads will you have on your moose arrows? What is purple heart, exactly? Obviously a type of wood, but it’s not something I’ve heard of before, I don’t think. I’d like to see pictures of your finished arrows, too, when they’re done.

      Take care and good luck with your moose hunt this year.

      Michael

    • T. J. Conrads
      Admin
      Post count: 52

      Hey Michael:

      Purpleheart, as we use it, comes from a flowering tree that grows from Central America south into mid-central South America. It is the heartwood and is actually brown; however, it turns purple when exposed to air. It is a very hard wood, is tough on all but carbide blades, and is quite dense. Not very straight in grain, either. It is used in fine furniture, and we in the archery world use it as accents in bow limbs and handles, as well as arrow shafts. The tree grows around 50 feet high and has small flowers. Unfortunately, unless managed for wood use it can become endangered by the slash and burn practices that are being employed throughout the region. However, the fact that it has become a useful commodity has inspired better management practices in many regions.

      As for the Black Widow bow, I do not personally feel the aesthetics are the best when it comes to some other bows, but the efficiency of design in the limbs is far superior to many other bows. I have found Bear’s Paw, Centaur, and A&H limb designs on the same level. I am sure there are several others who have learned the secret of a trapezoidal, dished limb design, pre-loading, limb tip weight, and I’m willing to bet that many others will too. In fact, the bows being built today are far superior to the same bows made ten to twenty years ago; evolution of design has made great strides.

      T.J.

    • T. J. Conrads
      Admin
      Post count: 52

      Michael:

      Here is an image of my modified shield burn:

      attached file
    • Treetopflier
      Post count: 146

      3blades — great picture … but not, we presume of your ownself? Please enlighten us to the source!

      Mr. TJ — excellent info and photos. Thanks for taking the time to help us out! Your’n truly, Snuffs

    • T. J. Conrads
      Admin
      Post count: 52

      Yo Snuffs:

      My pleasure. I am not always available to snoop around as I am in the middle of finishing a new home office/shop/garage in between magazines. I need to get it done before hunting season as I have a coveted Idaho moose tag that is screaming at me as it sits on the dresser.

      As soon as I find time, I will shoot a few images of the purpleheart arrows I am building, as well as some footed units for elk this year. Forgot how much I missed building arrows until I started dipping a few dozen shafts. Right now, I am trying to find a can of nocks. I know I have several hundred of them, but cannot find them.

      Later,

      Teej

    • Treetopflier
      Post count: 146

      Not to belittle the topic, but I’m reminded of a Neal Young line: “Better to burn out, than to fade away.” 😆

    • Champno6
      Member
      Post count: 9

      No difference in flight whether feathers are burnt or chopped. Burnt feathers are exactly the same, every time, every feather while chopped feathers can be a bit different depending how you hold them in the chopper. However, even if your feathers are quite a bit different you won’t likely notice any difference in how they fly from those arrows fletched with all perfectly the same feathers. A feather burner will cost you more money but wires don’t cost much and you can have a wire shaped for every shape and length feather you want. You can adjust the length of feathers in a chopper about 1/2 “. Much more or less or different shapes and you’ll need to buy another chopper. If you’re an old timer and can remember what a real archery shop smelled like when you walked into it and smelled the cedar shafts and the burnt feathers you’ll burn your feathers, much more nostalgic. Chopped feathers are ready to go soon as they’re fletched. Burnt feathers need to be cleaned up a bit then tapered down smooth at the front end, probably with a really sharp knnife or sandpaper on a dowel. Be sure to add one small drop of fletching cement to that tapered front of each feather to help smooth it even more and secure it to the shaft. Burning feathers is smokey and can really smell so be warned, it may be best to do this out in the garage. If you’re going to all the trouble to make your own arrows and want to put all you can into them, then dip and crest and burn the feathers. Like TJ said, you’ll enjoy and appreciate them all that much more.

    • Alexandre Bugnon
      Member
      Post count: 681

      Burn, baby burn! I have a chopper but i cannot use it properly and always mess up one or two out of three!
      After seeing TJ’s, i am going to save the money for a burner

    • Treetopflier
      Post count: 146

      Alex — You’re up early for a guy who played a New Year’s Eve concert last night! No wonder you look so sleepy in your photo! :lol::lol:

    • Alexandre Bugnon
      Member
      Post count: 681

      Snuffy wrote: Alex — You’re up early for a guy who played a New Year’s Eve concert last night! No wonder you look so sleepy in your photo! :lol::lol:

      dude, I signed CD’s ’til 2 in the morning, went to bed, and had a wake-up call at 6:30 for trip back to the airport. my early flight was canceled, so I had to wait in airport for a noon flight. spent my time on tradbow and even browsed thru the hook&bullet hunting mags section at the news stand, trying to memorize:
      “10 tips to bag a late season Booner” :shock::shock::D
      Happy New Year!!
      PS: Ok, I’m changing the picture. Instead of the pic with the showbiz sleepy look, I soon will have pic with the 7th day of Elk Hunting with David Petersen sleepy look!:lol:

    • Ralph
      Moderator
      Post count: 2554

      I have several different designs of choppers and a burner. I nearly always use my choppers as I make arrows for my bows and others also and it’s more convenient to use the choppers rather than change ribbons or redesign the ribbon. Plus, the smell of burned feathers ain’t near as cool as it used to be. Never, ever, be young and dumb and set a burner up on the kitchen table. I swear my wife can still smell those feathers in her kitchen 20 years later.

    • William Warren
      Member
      Post count: 1384

      I’m a chopper. Can’t deal with the feather smoke.

    • Chris Shelton
      Post count: 679

      Not to defer that much off topic, has anyone got experience with the Bearpaw chopper?? It looks like you dont have to hit is with a mallot, looks like there is a lever with a place to put your palm and just push down?

    • William Warren
      Member
      Post count: 1384

      Greatreearcher wrote: Not to defer that much off topic, has anyone got experience with the Bearpaw chopper?? It looks like you dont have to hit is with a mallot, looks like there is a lever with a place to put your palm and just push down?

      Mine is like the one you demonstrate in you video. Wish I had seen the bearpaw before I bought it. Unless the bearpaw is more expensive, then I’ll just keep on pounding wit hthe mallet.

    • Chris Shelton
      Post count: 679

      I know me too, although I thought I saw that the lowest they go as far as sheild cut size is 4.5- which wouldnt be that much of a difference to me, but it would screw me up right now:(, but I would love to be able to to it in the warmth inside for a change, lol. But I am also like you and if it is considerably more expensive I will just freeze and stick with my mallet!

    • Buckhorn73
      Post count: 77

      3Blades:

      I use the choppers, usually in high burn, 5-5 1/2″ lengths, cut from full length feathers. This usually allows me the options of a main feather, and a flu-flu feather or a smaller 3″ or 4″ from one full length feather. There are right and left wing choppers, however, in a pinch, one can use either for either wing by reversing the feather – just takes more caution when using the opposite of the intended use. The full length feather also allows me the option to make splices from which to chop out the desired feather shape. Although I use both shield and parabolic shapes, I have noticed more noise when shooting the shield cuts and I am really starting to like the Pope and Young chopper shape.

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