The major shortcomings in part 3 of the Manchu Arrow Project were points and nocks. At 1200 grains, we'd achieved war arrow weights, but the hand-trimmed 7" fletching and IDFK what points of dubious Asian retailer origin left something to be desired. Enter part four.
Our semi-ottoman flight arrow project was a real inspiration. Our house-made ivory points not only looked great, but were functional and durable for target shooting. Why not apply the same tech to make some nice Manchu target points? So that is what we did.
Next up, of course, was the fletching. We used our new fletching jigs to cut big 10" Manchu style feathers. 10" is a bit short next to some examples you say? True, however 10" is also about as long as you can get from most popular full length processed turkey feathers. We actually offer an 8" Manchu Mini as even 10" is a bit long in some cases. How do they work? We recommend a large rotary knife (they cost about 10$), or an air-bleeding-sharp knife with a curved blade. Place the quill in the corresponding groove on the jig, and align the feather front and back. Starting at the distal end of the feather (the end where the quill is thinnest) cut, allowing the jig to guide the blade. If you're using a curved knife, rather than a rotary knife, use a rocking motion, don't slide the blade.
After a little practice, it becomes easier and more natural and you can quickly knock out dozens of feathers. So now you have 10" feathers, but what do you do with them? No fletching jig clamp is long enough. There are two paths here. The first is to make your own fletching clamp. This is easier than it sounds, but beyond the scope of this article. There is another trick to this though: fletching tape. Rather than a glue which has to be clamped, held, and is relatively irreversible, tape offers instant adhesion and a little wiggle room to adjust if necessary. Plan things out, mark your arrows where you want the top of the fletch to start and the end where you want it to terminate. Clamp your arrow shaft in a soft jaw vice, or similar. Then apply the tape to the quill, and grasping it firmly by the ends, pull it taught and lay it on the arrow using the markings for the ends you made previously. Once laid down, run your fingernail along the quill to firmly press the feather onto the adhesive.
From there, it is the same process as seen in our Turkish Flight Arrow Inspired Project to wrap the fronts, and we're done. (this can be done manually, a lathe is just faster)