So it’s the start of a new season, and you want to re-fletch all your arrows. The only problem is how do you get rid of last year’s vanes and the glue to go with them?
Well, don’t worry! Inside this article is everything you need to know about removing fletching glue.
The two most common techniques archers use to remove fletching glue from arrows include:
- Removing with a dull blade
- Hot water and plyers
Let me state beforehand that my much-preferred method is a dull blade, but both should work fine.
1 Removing Glue With Dull Blade
This method truly has stood the test of time for as long as I can remember; if anyone around me would ask another person how they got their old fletches and glue off, they’d just say take a knife to it.
How to remove fletching glue from carbon arrows
I know what you’re thinking, and yes, there is a slightly different way to do this, depending on if you’ve got carbons or aluminum. So let me break it down for carbons. I like to start at the tail of my fletch, and I will run my dull blade parallel to the shaft. I’ll dig a little bit underneath the fletch.
Once you’ve got a bit of the fletch loose, it should just be able to peel away with a little bit of force. Once you’ve got all your fletches off, you’re still going to be left with some glue remains. Here’s the important part for carbons. I run the blade perpendicular to the shaft.
If you don’t, you may run the risk of also chipping pieces of the carbon that you don’t want. I would also highly recommend eyewear for this job.
Pieces of glue fly pretty fast and far and can get in your eyes. Take it from me; just put on a pair of sunglasses and thank me later.
How to remove fletching glue from aluminum arrows
So for the other side of the equation, aluminum. Now I will say the process for removing them is similar, but there’s a slight difference. But I’ll start the same way, dig slightly underneath the tail of the fletch, and again once you’ve done that, the rest of your fletch should peel off.
Now for that pesky remaining bit of glue for the aluminum, you can go at it at a slightly bigger angle than when you dug underneath your fletch.
The only rule is don’t go crazy hard on it. If you tried to do that angle on a carbon arrow, you would be able to see the carbon you were scraping off.
For aluminum, that doesn’t happen anywhere near the same scale as carbons.
Again highly recommend any eyewear you have. When you are scraping it off, the glue shoots off, and you don’t want some of it in your eye.
So then, to take the cleaning one step further, after I’ve got all the fletches and glue off my shaft, I’ll wipe the area where the fletches used to be with a denatured alcohol wipe.
This will help when you glue on your next batch of fletches. They’ll bond much better to your shaft.
2 Remove Glue With Hot Water And Plyers
So I will admit nothing is ever going to beat scraping them off with a dull blade; however, if you were stuck and couldn’t do that for some reason, this option is still on the table.
But more than likely, you’ll still need to scrape bits off at the end anyways.
Quick disclaimer for you. You’re not supposed to get carbon very hot, so when you boil the water key, it cools down, so it’s not super hot, and then you should be fine.
So for this method, you’ll be boiling water. Once you’ve got that done, put it into a preferably tallish container (I cut a water bottle in half), then you’ll dip the sides with your fletches in it.
The heat will break down and weaken the glue allowing you to remove the fletches much easier. I’d recommend using vice grips/plyers for the max grip you can get on the fletch.
Now depending on how neatly you put on your fletches means, you may not have a bit of excess glue. If you don’t have a bunch of excess glue from the hot water, it might have already just peeled away.
If you did, however, have a lot of excess glue around the fletch, you may still have to grab a dull blade and clean it up. But it should slide off pretty easily from the boiling water you just had it in.
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