Every archer today should have at the very least the basic tools required for our sport. One of the basic essentials of arrow assembly is the fletching jig. Bohning for close to half a century has been known for its quality and reliable archery products. I am please to bring you an evaluation on their latest and most advance three vane fletching jig called the Tower. (For more go to : Bohning Archery)
The Tower is in the immediate class when it comes to fletching jigs. By immediate I mean that all three vanes are fletched all at once. Establishing this is time saving, but does it come at a cost? I asked this question before I started evaluating the tower because I have always preferred a single fletch jig machine. Other question included how messy would this become if time was a concern? Would the type of glue used be critical to how well the fletching responded to the arrow shaft?
|The Tower from Bohning.|
Out of the package I placed everything on the table and carefully looked over the instructions. First thing you notice is that there is some assembly required. Being an engineer the flier outlined all the components and tools necessary. The instructions called for a flat head screwdriver and 5/64″ Allen wrench. Looking over the pieces I noticed that all screws require an Allen wrench so I placed my handy dandy screwdriver to the side for a “siesta”.
Within a couple of minutes I had completed the well documented five step procedure and was ready to fletch my first arrow. During assembly you must determine the correct center post to be used. The center post fits inside the nock end of the arrow aligning it vertically in the tower. Bohning supplies four center posts which fit carbons with .240, .210, and .164 inside diameters as well as one for crossbow bolts. For my ACC 3-60 shaft I chose the .164 inside diameter center post and secured it onto the tower with the supplied screw.
The Tower utilizes three spring loaded bases which are attached the fletching clamps. It can be purchased with either 3 degree helix or 2 degree offset clamps. The clamps use a hinged base which are secured to a spring loaded base which is operated by a single lever. You begin by placing a single fletching or vane in the helix or offset slot cut within the clamp. When all three vanes are in place you can then add your preferred glue to the base of each vane. Next place the arrow shaft on the center post and then manually pivot the clamps into position.
|Arrow shaft and Vanes all locked in place.|
The Tower also includes two split rings. These rings are lowered down over the clamps temporarily, which allows the clamps to aligned and secured. Once secure the single lever is rotated to the left moving the clamps along the spring loaded slides locking the clamps along the shaft of the arrow. The vanes are secured in place until the glue dries.
Bohning supplies Teflon tape just in case you prefer cyanoacrylate or super glue. This protects the edges of the clamps to prevent them from attaching to the arrow shaft.
Bohning supplied me with their new Platinum Fletch Tite, which they label as their next generation adhesive. This solvent based product can be used on all types of arrows including Aluminum, Carbon, Fiberglass and Wood. This style of glue allows for easy cleanup if any would happen to get on the clamps.
|Open the Tower and there you have it. Vanes glued right where they are supposed to be.|
After continuous checking I found about 4 minutes is the approximate time the Platinum needed to form a tight bond. I removed the ring from the clamps and pushed the lever to the left releasing the base and clamps revealing a perfectly fletched arrow. Upon inspection the Blazer vanes had securely adhered to the shaft using the Platinum Fletch Tite. Several tugs from my fingers reassured solid attachment.
The lever system and tight tolerances of the clamps ensured perfect alignment every time. I am convinced that the new Tower Fletching Jig will be a permanent part of my arrow preparation. The fast action securely places three vanes in one third of the time it normally takes me, saving valuable time.
|Blazer Vanes all right and tight, not to mention fast with the Tower.|
In conclusion this product positively answers all my questions from the beginning of this evaluation. This Bohning product gives you many choices of arrow shaft, from small diameter carbon shafts to even the largest including the larger diameter crossbow bolt. The only types of arrow it will not fletch are swagged shafts. The Tower I tested was specifically made to be used with Blazer sized or similar vanes not more than 2.25″ but they also make one to accommodate vanes up 4 inches in length. That is the 2″ offset version.
For more go to : Bohning Archery