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Bigmagic

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Reply with quote  #1 
I have seen many fletchings we buy are turkey feathers. I am wondering if anyone knows how they make those feathers into the different colors. Do they use the regular brown and white turkey feathers and 'bleach' them or something, or are they a different kind of feather? 

Many places charge more for fletching that I can really afford and am wondering if I can make my own.
Bisch

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Reply with quote  #2 
I would assume most of the colored feathers come from white farm raised turkeys. They take the white feathers and dye them to get the different colors.

Bisch

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aromakr

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Reply with quote  #3 
The albino turkey (white) is the bird of choice in the turkey industry, it is usually the feather that is dyed. The bronze or wild bird is where the barred feather comes from. There are some commercial dyes available, I know at one time "Great Northern Bowhunting Co." in Nashville, MI. use to sell packets of dye to color the feather yourself. You can also use Goose feathers which are grey, or Peacock feathers which are tan and Swan feathers are white, I'm sure there are other suitable species. In any case its usually the pointer wing feathers that make the best fletchings . I know that some have used the tail feathers of some birds, like Pheasants and turkeys, but the veins are not as durable as the wing feathers.

Bob

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Tradslinger

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Reply with quote  #4 
I am rather cheap when it comes to feathers, I re use a lot of mine from broken arrows etc. It just kills me to spend that kind of money on feathers. Yes, I do buy them on occasion but gripe the whole time. I make my own knives as well. also refurbish things like old quivers into leather covered and make arm guards. Now I will be quick to say that a well crested arrow with beautiful feathers are a thing of beauty and a quiver full of them looks awesome. But a deer doesn't have time to grip about being shot with a not so pretty arrow rather than a purdy thing. 
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Jack Skinner

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Reply with quote  #5 
Friend of mine used Easter egg die to make nice yellow barred from our wild kills.
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stickandstring

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Reply with quote  #6 
Like Tradslinger I recycle everything. Usually will only buy stuff on sale or rebuild reuse what I already have.
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chuckc

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Reply with quote  #7 
Mr Bisch...Bob...you mean, there are no fluorescent yellow turkeys ?
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Hud

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Reply with quote  #8 
If you find a Turkey with fluorescent feathers, you may be in Mexico, Adios!
aromakr

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Reply with quote  #9 
ChuckC:

I did see a florescent orange sea Gull once, but no flo yellow turkeys!!!!!!


Bob

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stickandstring

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Reply with quote  #10 
I’m looking at one right now🐥
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Lbhunter63

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Reply with quote  #11 
I saw a deer sleeping alongside the road that was fluorescent orange barred!
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Tom M

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Reply with quote  #12 

was a discussion on stickbow about dying feathers. Seems a lot of guys use Kool aid in warm vinegar or warm water can’t recall which. 

 Personally I would use the dyes I saw for dying feathers for making flies for fly fishin. 

 I am frugal as well when buying feathers. I look for bargain. Last bargain was from 3Rivers for some “barred feathers”. I was lead to believe they were lower profile but they sure the same size as my other fletching. only brand of feathers I didn’t like was AMG. Have not tried the ones from China as yet.


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longcruise

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Reply with quote  #13 
You can make your own from actual Turkey feathers, but unless you have access to a good number of them, the economy can disappear quickly. 

You can economize by purchasing full length feathers and taking two fletches from each.  That usually means two 4" per feather.   

Also, one of the most economical suppliers is Sagittarius Archery. 

https://www.spirotek.com/customers/sag/?page_id=29

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fdp

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Reply with quote  #14 
  I was a commercial flytyer for many years.

  During that time I dyed pounds and pounds of various types of feathers and skins including turkey, various ducks, chickens, squirrels, etc.

  By far the best dyes for feathers were made by Veniard's. They are no longer available. You can however use common Rit dyes that are available nearly everywhere. The process is not at all complicated if you follow a few basic guidelines.

  You can use the off the shelf colors that Rit has or you can go to their web site and look at the various colors that can be achieved by mixing.

  Essentially you want to take the feathers and give them a good bath in something like Dawn dishwashing detergent to not only clean them, but to soften the barbules so that the dye can penetrate quicker. Leave the feathers soaking in clear water after they are rinsed of the detergent.

  Heat a container of water to around 180 degrees and add your dye pigments. At the same time add 1Tbsp. of white vinegar for each 32 ozs. of water. Let the dye bath cool down to 150 degrees, and drop the feathers in the dye bath. Put something relatively heavy on the feathers to keep the submerged in the dye bath, and periodically stir, or agitate them by some means.

  Let the feathers soak until you achieve the depth of color you want. Remove the feathers from the dye bath, rinse them in warm water until all the excess dye is washed out, and then rinse them in cold water. Ly them out to dry, and that's all there is to it.

  Any color that has red as a base will need to  soak longer and appear darker than you think you want because red is the hardest color to :set".

  Don't get the feathers too hot, because the barbs will be burned, and will curl up and be useless.






chuckc

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Reply with quote  #15 
Thank you !
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ChuckC

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Bigmagic

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Reply with quote  #16 
fdp,
It looks like we can buy Veniard's dye from different site in the U.K. and on eBay. However, they are kind of pricey.

Are they that much better to pay the extra price. I mean are the colors more vibrant or what makes them better than say...Rit?

I'm just curious.

longcruise

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Reply with quote  #17 
I've heard of using kool aid alonq with t vinegar but have never done it.  It would be economical to give it a try though. 
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Longcruise
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fdp

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Reply with quote  #18 
  Bigmagic, the Veniard's is better for some colors. For instance red. Red as I stated is difficult to make "fast". It wants to run and fade. Their golden yellow is also very good. Also, Veniard's has some colors 
are kind of unique. I mostly used Rit (and still do) except in cases where I needed a specific color I couldn't duplicate.

  Kool-Aid as mentioned does work well. The only problem is that if you are dying a bunch of feathers, it gets expensive.

  I agree with Sagittarius Archery. I've used their feathers for years. I buy them full length by the 100 in white and dye them the color that I want them to be.
hammerstone

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Reply with quote  #19 
longcruise , thanks for the heads up about Sagittarius archery . Got on their web site and discovered I've been paying waaay to much for feathers .
I ordered 200 full length today . I would recommend anyone building their own arrows to check them out .
Steve Graf

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Reply with quote  #20 
On the question of where to get feathers, it also pays to make friends with turkey hunters.  I have several that give me their wings every year.

Between what I pick up in the woods and what they give me, I am set.

IMO, it aught to be part of the game laws that turkey hunters have to turn in their wings, or give them to someone who will use them.  I can't imagine how many wings of good fletching feathers get wasted every year...


longcruise

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Reply with quote  #21 
If your locale has a strong resident goose population, it won't be long before they start losing their feathers.  Walking the shorelines of lakes and ponds that they hang out at will turn up a bunch of them. 

Disclaimer:  I have picked up a lot of them but still have to get around to making fletching from them so that's all I know.  😉

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Longcruise
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hammerstone

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Reply with quote  #22 
longcruise I know exactly what you mean about "picked up a lot of them "  
I have a couple  thousand assorted goose and turkey feathers from my self
bow days . I have built some arrows with both . I keep these and many 
variety's of primitive arrow shafts around for shtf situations .
I just don't have the time to build primitve arrows with work and keeping
the homestead going ,not to mention shooting daily . So thanks again for 
enlightening me to Sagittarius archery .
MLMcQuown

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Reply with quote  #23 
Gray goose feathers would be the historical classic. In "The White Company," by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, about adventures in the Hundred Years War, he wrote "The Song of the Bow," which has the line, :let's drink together to the gray goose feather,  in the land where the bowman dwells."
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