@ fshng2 and anyone else interested. I did a test on some more feathers including peacock herl.
Thanks for sharing.
The Peacock definitely looks as though it's barbs (flues) are reduced by about 50%.
This process does not appear to be as aggressive as bleaching as shown by your first example being supple.
Bleaching can remove barbs within 20 seconds and can make the quills brittle.
Feathers left in bleach solution too long can easily be ruined.
What type feather did you use in the first example?
oh this is very very slow and seems to be the sort of thing one can walk away from for days. have a batch that's been soaking for 4 days and its still not brittle.
The first one was just the downy marabou like feathers of a chicken. think chickabou. They are actually fairly fragile which is why they stripped so fast compared to others. in only like three hours.
ack. bleach does a number on feathers. if you look at feathers under extreme magnification, they are covered even the quill and barbs with over lapping scales, (so is hair) strong bases like lye or bleach pretty much blasts these off. where as stuff like de-greaser lifts them (that's why if you use something like dawn dish-liquid on your hair it will tangle like mad) mild acids like a table vinegar mixed with water closes the scales down. de-greaser will eventually dry them out, and make them less flexible but in that case they can be treated with an oil to re-hydrate them (much like a hot oil treatment on hair) then washed.
Like wise the barbs have a honeycomb like strutted structure on the underside and interior. this provides flexibility and strength. Bleach destroys it rapidly. once that is destroyed there is no way to stop the feathers from being brittle. That is the structure that when de-greased heavily needs to have oil replaced to restore strength.