Martin J8 Fletching Jig
Polycarbonate fletching jig by Martin Archery, more popular in the States than in the UK, quite possibly because traditional style field shooting is bigger out there than over here. I don't suppose I would be thanked for saying it but this is a plastic, budget Bitzenburger.
That is to say that it is cheaper and will do all the things a Bitzenburger will do up to and including accepting the Bitzs' clamps, the clamps it comes with are polycarbonate too and available in the usual Straight and Left or right helical. The reason I mention that is because I am not a fan of polycarbonate clamps - I try to be as neat and tidy as I can when fletching arrows and in order to get the finish I want this is a necessity. Having said that it is almost inevitable that some glue will find it's way on the clamp at some point and when it does it will set hard. You can buy all sorts of tape to prevent glue getting on the jig but I never have, to clean glue off a clamp you need a knife and that is where problems can occur, a plastic clamp will be more susceptible to damage than a steel or alloy one. Being able to accept Bitzenburger clamps is a shrewd move by Martin as the Bitz clamp is a sturdy rugged thing.
As far as ease of use it is much the same as any jig, it operates on the magnet principle and there are adjusters on the top of the jig to fine tune the offset or helical angle, these are large screw nuts and make life a little easier than the allen key ones on the Bitz.
It will fletch 3 and 4 fletches, there are also mounting holes in the base so you can screw it to a board if you want, a good idea as it is much lighter than the Bitzenburger.
Despite the price in my opinion the Bitz is a better jig although a Martin jig with Bitz clamps will save a few dollars.
Features & Design
It does all the stuff a fletcher demands from a jig but, polycarbonate just doesn't do it for me..
I prefer it when using Bitz clamps to the poly ones it comes with, I cannot however argue with the fact that it does work well.
Value for Money
Offers value given that it is some $30 cheaper than a Bitz
It's a plastic Bitzenburger at half the price. there will always be archers on a budget or looking to save a few bucks and if you really want a Bitz but just can't afford one then this is the alternative. If you can afford one Bitz or 2 of these then you will have to make that choice... I know what I would do.