JoJan Multi Fletcher
Mostly I use 2 different makes of jigs, both of which I have reviewed on this website, one set I use for making straight forward arrows for the archery events company I run, they don't require anything other than a straight clamp as the vanes used are plastic and 3 " long. Which is just as well, because the manufacturers don't produce a helical clamp. For my own arrows or for custom orders I use a very well known jig that is commonly regarded as the professionals choice, with this combination I figured I had all the bases covered.
From the moment I opened the box for this JoJan jig I had a feeling it might be the jig I had always wanted. This jig is in a frame which accommodates 6 clamps- I happen to have received the left helical version although it is available in right helical and straight, pretty handy as I use left wing feathers, the fact that you can fletch 6 at a time is a huge bonus and at the retail price of around £90 that represents incredible value... just £15 per jig, it may be that per clamp this is the cheapest jig on the market.
However this JoJan jig has several features up it's sleeve that make it the best jig I have come across, so much so that my others are now all up for sale... if I sound excited it's because I am. In the course of reviewing kit for this website I sometimes come across exceptionally excellent products and this is one of them.
Before I get ahead of myself perhaps I should start at the beginning.... The whole jig comes in a box and requires you to screw the leg supports using the 4 supplied screws, even if there were no instructions this is a simple and intuitive procedure. Other than that the jig is all ready to use right out of the box, so you could be fletching in minutes, as I was..
The first thing I love about it is that the clamps are steel, now I know some very naughty archers that use super glue to fletch their arrows, in fact on occasions in the past I have used it myself when requiring to finish a set of arrows for immediate use or when time meant I just had to get the job done, I am no fan of super glue for several reasons,.. if you need to get the fletches off for any reason you will most likely end up damaging the shaft, secondly it can make a mess on the clamps unless you have hands as steady as an ophthalmic surgeon, if you get some on the clamps then you will need a knife to remove it and on a jig with, say, an aluminium clamp this will be a risky task. A steel clamp is robust and tough.
The clamps are smooth along the sides and there is no scale marked so you will be able to mark it with your own preferred graduations depending on how much space you like between the back of the feather and the nock, I actually like mine as far back as I can get them and this clamp allows that. Each clamp will take a feather just over 6" long so if you like very long fletches there is enough room.
Before you can use the jig you will have to set it up for the shaft size you are using, here is the next marvellous thing about this jig.... using the 2 adjustment bars which are located along the top and bottom of the jig itself you have infinite adjustment to get nice contact along the full length of the fletching, once this is set, it is set for ALL 6 of the clamps, they will all fletch identically. Now, in my more nerdy (target) days I have used a single jig to ensure that each arrow in a set is fletched exactly the same, in fact I know some fletchers that offer this as an extra service, it's a pain to do as you must wait for each feather to set. With this jig just one setting means that there will be no waiting, you will get 6 identically fletched arrows at one time.
The next thing you will notice is that there are no magnets, pretty much every jig I have ever used uses a magnet to secure the clamp, here there is just a slot for one end of the clamp which is flat and a bigger locating slot at the other end which will accept the circular end of the clamp, at first it feels odd as you slide the clamp in to place and it just sits there, you will be tempted to nudge it and re-seat it because you won't quite believe that it is sitting properly. However if you have set up the jig right when adjusting the 2 bars it will be perfectly in place and requires no magnet to hold it. You can move along the jig at quite some speed and fletch all 6 arrows. The weight of the clamp itself and the finely engineered tolerances of the base unit and clamps will ensure there is enough pressure to glue the feather.
There are a number of nock receivers available and these are easily interchangeable, in fact they just pop out when pressed, which will mean that if you have tight nocks that you must not press too hard when inserting the arrow in to the jig, it isn't really an issue but I did several times manage to push the nock receiver out whilst loading arrows ( I was using just one hand but it is better if you use both, one to insert the arrow and the other to align the nock properly with the nock receiver.)
As I said several receivers are available that will enable you to use your favourite fletch combination and angles, the one supplied with this jig is reversible so when taken out and put back the other way up it will fletch a four feather pattern. There is even a receiver that will take crossbow bolts..
The ability to change clamps from helical to straight for me at least means I have all the functions I need in one jig, I have the speed and efficiency to fletch a number of arrows quickly, but I also have the quality and precision to fletch helical when I need to. The helical option gives you 11° of helix per inch of fletch. It's rare I ever fully read any instructions provided with anything I buy, but I did glance through the idiot proof instructions provided and found a really great little tip I had never come across. To avoid glue becoming an issue and setting on the clamp use some sting wax on the inside to stop it sticking fast, what a great tip..
Features & Design
Brilliant, a simple frame set up that is compact and allows for single adjustments that will set all clamps.
No problems what so ever, as with all jigs spend a few minutes setting up the angles with the shafts you will be using and an un glued feather and you will get a perfect job.
Value for Money
Top Quality fletching at budget jig prices, easily the best value jig on the market.
Why would you not want to fletch 6 arrows at a time ? why would you want to spend more than £15 per clamp ? .. it does everything the expensive one will do, it provides as good a job as any jig on the market, the clamps are steel and it is easy to adjust ......... this is a no brainer