Feather burner

DIY Feather Burner for Traditional Archery

Feather burners are the most versatile method of shaping feathers for arrow fletching. A commercial feather burner costs about $150 new, but old transformers can pull an appropriate amount of power out of the wall to make your own burner. Train transformers work great, and old models are all over the used market. I prefer using Nichrome 80 as a resistance wire; this is the wire that will get red hot and cut through the feather. Nichrome 80 is also commonly used in hot wire foam cutters. There are certainly other ways to create a feather burner, but this design is very straightforward and has stood the test of time for plenty of traditional archers.

If performance is poor, here’s how to troubleshoot. If the wire isn’t getting hot enough, you can switch to a smaller wire size. A smaller wire has less resistance and draws more current. Use a multi meter to read the voltage across the bolts, because it’s possible that your connections aren’t tight. Use the multi meter to read the voltage across the transformer terminals as well. This will indicate whether or not your transformer is working properly. Too much power is another possibility. This would make your wire burn up. You can turn the voltage dial down, and check the terminals to see if your transformer has an abnormally high minimum voltage. If it does, you can either add high power resistor to the setup, or use a thicker wire.

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