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Thread: How to recycle a turkey (and make it fly again)

  1. #1
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    Default How to recycle a turkey (and make it fly again)

    I use the feathers from the birds we harvest to make my own arrow fletchings. I make the c0ck feathers from the wings of turkeys that I harvest. I am a primitive traditional archer and bowhunter and I make all my own equipment. (I also shoot and hunt with modern equip but prefer and more enjoy the traditional side of archery/bowhunting)



    I like to use whole uncut white feathers for the two hen feathers and a homemade c0ck feather. I found 7 good looking specimens (one is a spare) from the wings I have in stock. You need to choose left or right wing (your choice really) and not mix the two wings. You donít want to use some right wing and some left wing. Its either left or right but not a combination of both.



    Next I split them to get rid of the side that I wonít need. A razor knife such as a carpenters (shingle) knife works well.



    Then I find the best section in the middle of the length and cut off the ends. These are longer than I need but I will trim them later



    Because the split base is way too thick I need to thin them down.



    I use a belt sander with a fine grit belt because the bases are pretty soft. I finish them with a sanding block. The outer shell of the quill is very hard (like a fingernail) but the inner core is soft (like Styrofoam)



    The thinned feather is a lot less beefy.



    Next I cut them to their finished length. Again, you will need a razor blade to cut them.



    Then I use conventional feltching jigs and glue to attach them to the arrow shafts. After fletching, I use a feather burner to give them their shape. There are feather choppers available that allow you to shape your feathers before you glue them to the shaft. Feather burning is a smelly process. It smells like burning hair with a good amount of smoke.




  2. #2
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    You donít have to use glues to attach the feathers. For a really old school look you can tie or lace your feathers to the shafts. I like the old school metal trade points from the Pope and Young days. I made these using harvested turkey feathers and band saw blade points. All is lashed together with sinew.








    Here is a look at the heads. (before and after shaping them from the saw blade.




  3. #3
    Supporting Member Hoyt-Hunter's Avatar
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    Great looking arrows. Good skill to have.


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  4. #4

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    curious if you're narrowing the quill? Noticed they're pretty short (length). I'm running mine on a drill press and need to narrow them or the tip ends are unruly.

  5. #5
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TradBow View Post
    curious if you're narrowing the quill? Noticed they're pretty short (length). I'm running mine on a drill press and need to narrow them or the tip ends are unruly.
    Yes narrow them down until they are just wider than the feather itself.

  6. #6

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    I kind of figured you did but with the feathers being as short as you're running I reckon anything is possible. I built up some spliced turkey arras for last falls moose trip.

    I picked the great northern jig works ok, it needed shimming and I built Dean Torges's jig. They're basically the same way to grind them.

    I'm assuming you're not grinding your widths in the plastic clamp? That's the one nice thing about the jigs you can do both without ruining anything.

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