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Fish Finder

Who Softens Partridge Feathers and How?

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Partridge feathers are a mainstay for tying soft hackle flies.  But the stems a quite fragile.  I soften and make them more flexible by soaking them for a couple of hours with a mixture of glycerin and water.  Does anyone else do the same?  Other feathers?.

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hi not nessary to soften partridge feathers try stripping the fibres on side of the feather this will soften your hackle by reducing the bulk of hackle fibres no need to mess about softening the fibres with fluids  when you strip the partridge hackle one side if your concerned about the hackle being brittle just wet your finger tips and gently draw the fibres trough your wet forfinger and index finger then smooth the tip cut a triangle in the end of the tip of the hackle then gently tie in then fold the hackle backwards as you wrap  you just need to practice the tenstion you apply to the hackle then whip finish hope this help's

kind regards Steve

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Partridge feathers are already one of the least fragile soft hackle feathers.  No need to soften.  Do tie in by the tip, however.

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nope, i use them right off the bird and do not find most feathers to be fragile. a few may be but not most

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47 minutes ago, flytire said:

nope, i use them right off the bird and do not find most feathers to be fragile. a few may be but not most

Same here-

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I was tying some leadwing coachmans past weekend with some 40 year + furnace hackle.  I found them to be quite brittle now and may try your trick.  Thanks

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No need to soften if the cape is not old and dried out. Keep an eye on the humidity level of your tying room. You may need a humidifier especially in the heating season if your capes are getting too dry and brittle.

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7 hours ago, Meeshka said:

I was tying some leadwing coachmans past weekend with some 40 year + furnace hackle.  I found them to be quite brittle now and may try your trick.  Thanks

I have some old rooster capes that are a bit brittle, too. I just put the feathers I’m going to be tying with in a damp paper towel and microwave them for about 5 seconds; seems to keep the quill from splitting. As far as partridge goes, I’ve never had a problem with stiff stems; like redietz, I tie them in by their tips.

Scott

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21 hours ago, redietz said:

Partridge feathers are already one of the least fragile soft hackle feathers.  No need to soften.  Do tie in by the tip, however.

All of the responses surprised me.  But redietz had me wondering.  If partridge feathers are the least fragile, what feathers are more fragile?  Perhaps my stock of partridge feathers suffers from a lack of humidity, which may make them more fragile than they should be.  Yes, I do usually strip one half of the feather, cut a tiny triangle at the tip, tie in the triangle, and wrap 1 1/2 to 2 turns for a sparse hackle as desired for North Country spiders and others.  

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i have some whiting brahma hen that are pretty fragile when tying in by the tip. very fine stems

i also have some 40 year old hackles that can break at the tip when wrapping. very old hackles 😀

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4 hours ago, Fish Finder said:

All of the responses surprised me.  But redietz had me wondering.  If partridge feathers are the least fragile, what feathers are more fragile?  Perhaps my stock of partridge feathers suffers from a lack of humidity, which may make them more fragile than they should be.  Yes, I do usually strip one half of the feather, cut a tiny triangle at the tip, tie in the triangle, and wrap 1 1/2 to 2 turns for a sparse hackle as desired for North Country spiders and others.  

Try starling sometime.  Or quail, snipe or jackdaw.

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23 hours ago, Fish Finder said:

All of the responses surprised me.  But redietz had me wondering.  If partridge feathers are the least fragile, what feathers are more fragile?  Perhaps my stock of partridge feathers suffers from a lack of humidity, which may make them more fragile than they should be.  Yes, I do usually strip one half of the feather, cut a tiny triangle at the tip, tie in the triangle, and wrap 1 1/2 to 2 turns for a sparse hackle as desired for North Country spiders and others.  

The most fragile i tie with are the underwing from Blackbirds, Starling, Golden Plover and similar for tying soft hackle flies and not in tiny sizes either. 
Barry

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On 8/6/2020 at 7:38 AM, flytire said:

nope, i use them right off the bird and do not find most feathers to be fragile. a few may be but not most

I used to do this but I hated how the birds squawked and shook when I did this. Out of humane treatment I've taken to using partridge pelts and not pulling directly from the bird anymore..

As for you guys tearing half the hackle off, I've pretty much always done this with hen feathers but not with partridge. Have to try it and see if it's worth the effort.

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