How to Make Atlatl Darts Part 3: Fletching

For fetching fletching, use pretty colors.

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I use three feathers about 8 inches long by 1 inch wide.  (Available at threeriversarchery.com).  I cut about 3/4 of an inch of feather away from each end of the quill.  For this trick you will need two lengths of fake sinew (heavily waxed nylon string) (Available at threeriversarchery.com). One length is 3 feet. The other length is six feet.

I then place the dart shaft on a stool and sit on it.  I tie the front ends of the feathers on using one end of the 6 foot length. I temporarily tape the short end of this 6 foot length two the dart shaft so it wont get in my way.  Now then, holding the rest of the 6 foot length in one hand, I spin the dart and spread the feathers apart every 3/8 of an inch and wrap the string as I go. Spin dart, spread feather, wrap string.  Spin dart, spread feather, wrap string, until I get to the end.  I then wrap the naked quill end with the remainder of the fake sinew and tie it off, leaving about a inch of fake sinew sticking out.  I then set the loose end of this fake sinew on fire with a lighter and blow it out when it has melted back to the shaft.

With the 3 foot section of the fake sinew, I wrap the front ends of the naked quill, tie it off, and melt the loose ends back to the shaft.

In this manner, no glue is needed for fletching, which makes re-fletching the dart later much less of a hassle.  I generally re-fletch my darts once a year. River Cane and Bamboo darts last about 3 years but some of my aluminum darts have been with me for 10 years now.