Vanes are a vital but often unappreciated aspect of arrow flight. We spoke with Vince and Dan Grundman, owners of Flex-Fletch, to learn about the many amazing things their vanes offer. Learn more at flexfletch.com.
Flex-Fletch has been in the industry a long time. How did it all start?
Flex-Fletch vanes were developed by Roger Grundman in the late ’60s as an alternative to the stiff, rigid plastic vanes then in use. He was an aeronautical engineer for 3M, and his work there led him to an amazing material with great memory. He started playing around with it, and knew it would be great for vanes because it springs back to its original shape instead of breaking or bending.
As an avid archer and bowhunter, Roger was dissatisfied with other fletching options, so he began producing vanes with this new material, and Flex-Fletch was born. Today, all of our equipment and processes are basically built from the ground up and unique to us. We don’t use any off-the-shelf equipment because it wasn’t available all those years ago. Our process is completely unique, and it’s proprietary.
How do your vanes benefit target archers?
Archers have been winning tournaments with Flex-Fletch vanes since their introduction in the late ’60s. Many of today’s top compound shooters use them, like Reo Wilde, Mike Schloesser and Sara Lopez, to name a few. Our vanes are just so durable and resilient. You could just about crush one, and it will come back to its original shape. The targets at these tournaments are used over and over, and that wear causes arrows to go deeper, sometimes to the point that the vanes are buried or the arrow passes through. A lot of other vanes can’t withstand being shot through a target repeatedly. With Flex-Fletch vanes, as long as the adhesion process is done correctly, which isn’t difficult, an arrow can be shot through the target and it will recover. They’ll be able to use those vanes again and again without refletching.
What about bowhunters?
The vanes’ durability works great for them, too. Bowhunters can have their arrows pass through animals, even hit bone, without worrying about a damaged vane. They’re also completely resistant to extreme weather, temperatures and different humidity levels. Another great perk for bowhunters is the way our vanes dampen arrow oscillation and reduce noise. We have a lot of options for hunters, and our vanes are probably the quietest on the market. That combination of durability, accuracy and stealth is perfect for bowhunters.
What advantages come with manufacturing your products in the United States?
A big plus of keeping production here in the U.S. is that we can ensure our products’ quality. We have many stages of inspection by multiple people. Every step—precisely weighing our ingredients, cutting the material, sorting the vanes and packaging them—has multiple people confirming the product’s quality.
The other great part is how we can communicate with and cater to our customers. A dealer, distributor or consumer can call us and say: “I have an Easton X10 arrow shaft. What vane works best with this arrow?” or “I have a big hunt coming up. What would you recommend?” We’ll actually take those calls and answer those questions, and they’ll be talking to an owner or someone adept in the subject. We’re serious about what we do, and we know what it takes to get the bull’s-eye. Whether it’s a bowhunter or tournament shooter, we have that information and we’re happy to share it.
Another benefit of USA manufacturing is that if someone comes up with a design, we can work with them to make it. So if a dealer or distributor calls and wants their name on a vane or they want a certain shape, we can certainly do that if they’re willing to work with us.
How else are your vanes unique?
A lot of other great things make our vanes stand out, and most of them come from our unique process. We mold our vanes with a polyurethane, two-part resin compound. Mold releases, in general, contain wax and silicone, and those leave residue on the product. The standard cleaning process didn’t seem to be enough, so we developed a new process that gets all of that mold-release residue off and gives you a clear surface to glue to. That, combined with how pliable our material is, allows archers to attach Flex-Fletch vanes in special ways, like a helical-fletch. The flexibility and narrow base of our vanes work well on anything from an Easton FatBoy shaft to a tiny X10, or even something skinnier.
I’m pretty sure we also have the brightest colors because our technique is done at lower temperatures than the more common extrusion process. High temperatures are really tough on the pigments used for color. Including all our sizes, colors and two stiffness options, we have around 300 different No Prep vanes and color combinations to choose from. We even have vanes that glow in the dark, so if someone wants to do some nighttime shooting, they’ll be able to find their arrow if they miss a shot.