TechnicalWe have been processing feathers for over 50 years.
You may use whichever wing feather you wish. The only qualifier is the type of clamp you use to fletch your arrows. Please read more in the Nitty Gritty page of this Website # 4.
Looking from the nock end of your arrow notice there is a "lip" on one side of the feather and not on the other. If the "lip" is on the left you have a right wing feather. If the "lip" is on right side of the feather you are shooting left wing feathers.
No! Do not use different wing feathers on the same arrow. You can use either wing feather on your arrows but pick one and stay with it.
Start by identifying which wing feather is on your arrow. Ensure you buy the correct replacement feather. Take a butter knife and working away from yourself, scrape under the feather, removing it and the old white quill section. Don't try to remove the feather in one stroke. You can even get the old glue to come off if you take your time. Clean the arrow shaft with rubbing alcohol, to remove all of the debris, then refletch your arrow. If you can't get your fletching jig to line up on the old glue line you may need to replace all of the fletchings. Using one jig to build all of your arrows is a good way to make fletching replacement easier.
We have given you a guide to use on our "Nitty Gritty" page, # 2. Start with your bow and find the correct arrow shaft. It doesn't matter if you use wood, aluminum or carbon, find the correct arrow shaft and then tune the arrow to your bow. Tune the arrow to the bow by using either the "paper test" method or the "bare shaft" method and then use the smallest amount of feather you can to get the fastest, quietest arrow in the woods. Remember any broadhead will require more guidance than a field point and mechanical broadheads usually need less guidance than fixed blade broadheads.
The shield shape uses more feather in its profile to be able to handle heavier tipped arrows. The drag you ask about is actually what guides your arrows through the air, rain and brush to hit it's target. For shots out to 40 yards don't worry about excess drag.
From the testing we've done, through a chronograph out to 30 yards, No. Identical arrows other than one having 4" parabolic feathers and the other 4" shield shape feathers were shot and both readings were identical.
Feather fletched arrows are faster than plastic vane fletched arrows out to 40 yards. From 40 to 60 yards the speeds are the same and then plastic overtakes feathers. That's why we recommend using the smallest feather applicable to your setup. In case you take target shots at 90 meters.
The most important step in fletching your arrows is cleaning the arrow before putting any fletching on it. If you do not clean the arrow shaft you will get poor results. One great glue available now is AAE Fastset Gel. We have not tried some of the other glues available but please remember to put a drop of Fletchtite on the ends of your feathers to keep them from peeling up on pass through shots.
Please refer to our Website page called "Nitty Gritty" # 6c. Also, in our Archived July 2001 "Newsroom" page there is a complete guide with photographs.
Any pro shop may order direct from us. Please ask them to help you. We are easy to work with and there really is no minimum purchase. If there isn't a pro shop near you there are Mail Order and Internet options available depending on what feather you want. Please contact us for help.
Please refer to our Website page called "Nitty Gritty" #6 H.