Fletching: A history and background

14th C Yoeman under arms. 3d a day

You may remember several weeks ago we posted a blog regarding a Fletching Course which is taking place at Sherwood Pines this coming Saturday, 3rd August. For those of you who are keen to attend, Trevor Lilley has provided us with some historical background to this ancient skill so we can better grasp its incarnation. And to give you a taster of the order of play on Saturday, a lesson plan is provided so that you know how the day will pan out. Over to you Trevor…

Arrow Making.

The art of arrow making has been around for thousands of years, dating back at least 25,000-30,000 years, and maybe even as far back as 100,000 years ago. Many cultures have relied on the bow and arrow for hunting as well as warfare. The bow and arrow soon became the most important weapon used across Europe, Eastern Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the Arctic regions, and remained prevalent until the invention of gunpowder. By the 1600’s the use of the bow and arrow as a war weapon was in great decline until it all but vanished by the 17/18th century worldwide. People in many areas of the globe continued to use the bow and arrow, as they do today, both as a hunting weapon and for sport.


Through the years the arrow has been subject to modifications and improvements, but it is still basically the same as it was thousands of years ago.

The basic parts of the arrow are:

1) the pile or head,

2) the stele or shaft

3) the shaftment which includes the feathers, the binding and the nock.

Arrow making is a long, tedious, and sometimes difficult process that makes the end result all that more rewarding.

Below is the lesson plan for Saturday with a step by step walk-through of events.



Topics covered:

1)      Selecting all the materials and tools you will need.

2)      How to select and size your arrow shaft.

3)      How to cut a nock and/or fit arrow nocks on to the arrow shaft.

 Lunch Break


 Topics covered:

4)      How to fit arrow points or piles to the arrow shaft.

5)      How to fletch your arrows by hand and/or using a fletching jig.

6)      Finishing the arrow.

7)      Questions:

 Time to fire some arrows! – This will be subject to a Health and Safety briefing and risk assessment being completed.

We hope to see you there!

All enquiries for this event should be directed to Karina Thornton on 01623 821459. Alternatively send her an email: karina.thornton@­forestry.gsi.gov.uk

For further information on Sherwood Pines or indeed any other events happening in Nottinghamshire throughout the summer months click here.

Posted on 31 July 2013
Featured author: Tom

Nottingham lad who’s a proud Notts County fan, cheese fiend, chocaholic and loves travelling and music.

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