We make our archery fletchings from US grown Turkey feathers. Why Turkeys? According to the USDA, in the nine month period from January thru September 2018, 4.36 billion pounds of turkey meat was processed in the USA. https://www.ers.usda.gov/newsroom/trending-topics/turkey-sector-background-statistics/
Each processed turkey has two wings, a right and left wing, with four to five primary flight feathers per wing, available to use for archery fletchings. Without turning this into a GIANT math problem turkeys provide us with ample raw material to use for our archery fletchings. So, turkey’s have a right and left wing. And, in order to fly, the wings are naturally canted to grab air and propel turkeys through the air. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_feather#Remiges
When building your own arrows it doesn’t matter if you use right or left wing feathers. I’ll say it again – which wing you use doesn’t matter! Here are some guidelines…
- When you bare shaft shoot an arrow into a target from shoulder height, and 10 steps away, which way does your nock rotate? This is the natural spin your string imposes on your arrow. Common sense says to continue the spin the bow / string is imparting on the arrow naturally, so if the arrow is spinning left (counter clockwise) naturally, use a left wing feather. For a right (clockwise) spinning arrow, use a right wing feather.
- What type of fletching jig and clamp do you currently own? If you have a fletching jig / clamp and there is a L on it then with that clamp you need to use a left wing feather. If there is a R on it then use a right wing feather. If there is no marking then your clamp is “straight” and can use either a left or right wing feather. I still recommend you follow the instructions from step (1) and use a right wing feather in your straight clamp if your nock rotated to the right (clockwise) and a left wing feather if the arrow rotated to the left (counter clockwise). Even on straight fletched arrows, feather fletchings will naturally impart spin on your arrow, and you do want “some” spin.
- Right wing feathers allow you to easily run a straight edge down the quill applying pressure to the arrow shaft through the feather’s quill or base. This helps in shaft / glue / feather adhesion.
- Longbow shooters who shoot without a shelf or with a very small shelf want to use left wing feathers fletched helically (with a twist) because the point of a left wing fletched feather will not dig into their hand as it passes over the hand.
- Availability – ask your local pro shop to help you purchase the product you want / need. A pro shop will have multiple sources to purchase from – including us. If the pro shop won’t or cannot help you, then by all means, find the product you want online. We are constantly working on adding ALL of our products to our online sales platform because for some pro shops it’s easier to sell you, the consumer, a piece of plastic. Do yourself a favor and #scrapeofftheplastic and use #gatewayfeathers to accurately build and guide your arrows!
Keep your bow arm “Rock Steady”!