Smooth Leading Edge

If you shoot a selfbow without an arrow shelf, you may have experienced feathers cutting your finger. Worse, you may have run a quill a ways into your finger. This happens when the leading edge of the lower hen feather is slightly lifted off the arrow or has a sharp edge to it.

Even with careful trimming of the leading edge of your feather, wear and tear on the feathers from regular shooting can eventually create rough or cracked edges. You can reduce this by taking a round piece of metal and rolling it back against the feather. This will compress and smooth out the leading edge of the feather. Any round metal object, such a nail, screwdriver, et cetera will work.

John Strunk of Tillamook, Oregon, always used an arrow with a field point on it. In between targets while attending the North American Longbow Safari, he would constantly roll the side of the field point along the leading edge of the feathers of his target arrow.


About the Author:

T. J. Conrads is the Editor, Publisher and Founder of Traditional Bowhunter Magazine. He has written many articles over the years, and has also written two excellent books: The Traditional Bowhunter's Handbook and Campfire Reflections.


  1. Matthew Girard December 30, 2016 at 11:54 am - Reply

    I always wrap and glue thread on the front of my feathers

  2. Steve Choromanski January 2, 2019 at 10:57 am - Reply

    Using clear nail polish is also a good way to dull sharp leading edges. It dries fast and can be bought for less than a dollar. Jus dab ot over the fron of the quill.

  3. Mike January 2, 2019 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    After trimming the leading edge, I place a drop of fletching glue on the area. Not only smooths the area but keeps it from lifting.

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