Re: [SCA-Archery] Re: Fletching with oil finishes
- Dear Simon,
This wasn't a criticism of your practices which are fine. I'm just
offering an alternative for those of us (like me) that want to get our
arrows done already and go out there shooting. Linseed oil is one of the
oils used to make oil paint, others are walnut oil and poppy oil.
Leonardo preferred walnut ( his choice). Tempering colors with oil
didn't become a practice until the early 15th century and there is a lot
of debate over who is responsible for it's development, but most
scholars point to Jan van Eyck. Previous to that time, the common paints
were some form of tempera (not to be confused with modern poster paint).
Temperas were commonly made from the yolk of an egg, but in
illumination, they would whip up a batter from the white called: Glare.
Other temperas used in the renaissance time and earlier were
casein(milk based). These all are natural emulsions( a blend of waters
and natural oils) that dry to the touch very quickly, but can take
several months for the oily parts to dry thoroughly. I have a lot of
respect for craftsman that will put that amount of time into a dozen or
so arrows. If you wanted to go totally period and were a little less
patient then you could use distemper (pigments bound by a hot hide glue,
rabbit skin or parchment glue). For all of the tempera and distemper
techniques, you grind the pigment into a thick paste with water first
using a muller and slab or a pharmacists grade mortar and pestal, then
you would mix your colors and add your binder as you painted. (a lot of
A siccative is a chemical additive that accelerates the hardening
and film forming. Commonly it is the addition of heavy metals, lead
being the most common, and some by products of copper. In today's
society we have preparations called "japan dryer" and "cobalt dryer". I
won't say anything more about the safety of these except, please read
That's how you would finish arrows in the flavor of being period.
I don't do any of this on my arrows, my paintings, yes. I use acrylic
tole painting paints that I buy in a crafts store. They're cheap and
when dry have the appearance of casein. I dip my arrows repeatedly in
verathane and I fletch with duco. I'm using self nocks now which I
re-enforce with a wrapping of fast flite string material which is also
what I use to tie on the fletches after I fletch them on my jigs. I have
recently been strengthening the self nocks by dipping them in a
penetrating epoxy that I buy through a marine supply store before I do
any of the wrapping and crowning , etc.
I told you I'm impatient. I spend a lot of time making arrows as it is,
and I like them to be pretty but, If I had to put months into making
arrows, I'd be afraid to shoot them. I sometimes have to make arrows for
myself every 90 days, because I've broken too many to have a matched
set. I make 18 - 24 at a time, and when it gets down around 12, that's
Sorry this is so long and wordy, I'm home nursing a really bad
illness,it must be the medication.
"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like bananas. thanks Groucho"