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New Here With a Question about Feathers


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12 replies to this topic

#1 Skip48

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 10:31 AM

I am new to this board and to tying. I tie jigs and am trying to learn more about tying. I try to make jigs that are not just the normal crappie jig. I am so impressed with what you fly tiers do and want to learn more and that is why I am here.

Now to my question....I have been lucky enough to get some Wood Duck Feathers and I see some talk about washing them first. Why and is it really necessary to wash them? The guy picked all the feathers off the ducks and gave them to me in really good condition. They are not dirty or anything like that. I have put them in a container with moth ball crystals and a pest strip to get rid of any little critters that may be hiding in there.

Thanks,

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#2 ted patlen

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 11:57 AM

welcome to the sickness

if you start tying and it looks like you are serious, then you'll soon have a stock pile of dead bird and animal parts...if one gets inffected with bugs you can lose the hole shebang...cleaning and degreasing all materials is strongly suggested, and everyhtting kept in their own containers...bucktails in their own zip locks, etc...careful with the moth ball crystals...you'll be handleing the material;s, eating donuts, drinkling coffee, wetting your fingers etc...hard stuff o the body...

logic and prudence is suggested...besides tying with nice clean stuff is infinately more pleasurable

yo

#3 Skip48

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 12:13 PM

Thanks. I do have everything in it's own separate zip lock. All that I have are things I bought except the new Duck feathers and I have them in a separate container all to their self.

I have all my materials in a couple of plastic cabinets thanks to Walmart, but I put these new duck feathers in a 5 gallon bucket with a good lid on. I also have them divided into several zip locks inside the bucket.

I was thinking since they are duck feathers (almost water proof, LOL) then washing them would not do much except make me take the time to do it and dry them. They seem very clean as they are. Am I missing something and as long as I keep them in their on container is this still not enough?

It's a lot of feathers, like maybe 2 ducks (all their feathers).

Thanks,
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#4 sulfernut

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 12:39 PM

Here's what I would do.....bear in mind,I have been tying for almost 40 years,and so have become a bit addled over that time!!! Fill a plastic basin,such as is used for washing dishes (DON"T use the one your family dishes are washed in...TRUST ME ON THIS) with hot water and a few squirts of Dawn dish soap,or
Woolite. Add feathers. Stir gently,and let soak for a couple of hours. Then,pour the feathers into a FINE meshed strainer,and rinse well with warm water. Spread them out on newspaper to dry, IN A DRAFT FREE AREA!!!
Or,better yet.punch some pinholes in a paper shopping bag,put them in,and gather the top of the bag around the nozzle of a hand-held hair dryer,on LO speed and temp.settings. Gently shake the bag and the feathers will be dry in a few minutes. THEN.....I would put all the feathers in a large bowl,on the coffee table,along with a few smaller bowls off to the side,mix myself a large cocktail,turn on a football game,and start sorting them out,tossing the broken,damaged,or mishapen ones. The ones I kept would get stripped of all of the unusable "fluff" at the base of the feather,and further sorted according to size,shape,etc.
See....I told you I was a bit addled!!! This is how it gets after awhile!!! Sure you want to get into this??
It may seem like alot of trouble to go through,but if you SHOULD get into the tying game (and I hope you do!) you will thank yourself down the road!!!

Sulfer...NUT!!!!
Ever wonder if Ernest Schweibert could actually speak in italics!! ??


#5 ted patlen

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 01:12 PM

sulfernut is 99>9% correct...


that .01%...that fluff on the bottom of the feathers is my FAVORITE TYING MATERIAL EVER ! yahoo.gif

i tie almost all my trout flies...the "fishing" flies with this as dibbing, tailing, gills, wings...everything....

so skip and you too sulfernut...if you both "trim" that stuff adn want to "recycle" it...just send them to me biggrin.gif


don't worry about floating the flies after the duck has been washed,,, they float anyway

#6 Skip48

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 01:37 PM

QUOTE(sulfernut @ Nov 14 2006, 01:39 PM) View Post

Here's what I would do.....bear in mind,I have been tying for almost 40 years,and so have become a bit addled over that time!!! Fill a plastic basin,such as is used for washing dishes (DON"T use the one your family dishes are washed in...TRUST ME ON THIS) with hot water and a few squirts of Dawn dish soap,or
Woolite. Add feathers. Stir gently,and let soak for a couple of hours. Then,pour the feathers into a FINE meshed strainer,and rinse well with warm water. Spread them out on newspaper to dry, IN A DRAFT FREE AREA!!!
Or,better yet.punch some pinholes in a paper shopping bag,put them in,and gather the top of the bag around the nozzle of a hand-held hair dryer,on LO speed and temp.settings. Gently shake the bag and the feathers will be dry in a few minutes. THEN.....I would put all the feathers in a large bowl,on the coffee table,along with a few smaller bowls off to the side,mix myself a large cocktail,turn on a football game,and start sorting them out,tossing the broken,damaged,or mishapen ones. The ones I kept would get stripped of all of the unusable "fluff" at the base of the feather,and further sorted according to size,shape,etc.
See....I told you I was a bit addled!!! This is how it gets after awhile!!! Sure you want to get into this??
It may seem like alot of trouble to go through,but if you SHOULD get into the tying game (and I hope you do!) you will thank yourself down the road!!!

Sulfer...NUT!!!!

Wow, that's a imposing thought, but I do see where all the sorting can be very good later.

Just so you all know, here is my story and how I got to this place in life. I had major back surgery in 1989 and have not had a job since, enough said right? Then I started trading stock to make my self useful in the income department and along about 1995 I really started doing pretty good. Later did really good, but then in 2000 I went tot he doctor to see about losing weight.... and to make the story shorter....A few days later i was having 5 Bypasses and ended up OK, but still have heart rhythm trouble, but that's not where I am headed.

I fished all my life and was most of all a bass fishermen with lots of salt water pitched in to boot. After my heart surgery I had no interest in stocks and after a year I forced my self back into that. However it was different, I knew what to do, but for some reason I just couldn't and this year I had to finally give it up as had lost a lot of what I made.

Now with nothing to do but watch TV I also has started crappie fishing and decided to give jig tying a shot. After a few weeks my jigs started to look decent and then pretty good, then people started to ask if I sold them. Then I make my web page and started tying. The more I did the more I wanted to experiment with different feathers and materials. I learned tying by reading this web site and a few others.

Anyway I have now got to thinking about tying some salt water flies. I don't even fly fish now but I did years ago.

Anyway my "hobby" for something to do other than watch TV has turned into a real big deal that seems to keep growing. I not long ago hunted for a month or more until I found a chuckar partridge skin, then a Hungarian Partridge (in cadis green) and a Golden Pheasant, Oh boy!

If you get a chance and look at my web site you will see I tie different jigs than most.

Thanks,

Skip
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#7 flyfishingtaz

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 04:23 PM

I'd check out the back post archives. I know there are a few tips in there on pest proofing and protecting your supplies. Also, I was chatting with the fly fishing dept head at bass pro yesterday. He said if you put em in some water with alittle borax it will do the trick. let em dry out on some paper towels, or nuke em for about 15 sec or so and that will also kill any pests. I havent done it myself, so if anyone else knows of this, please dont hessitate to let us know. THNX.
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#8 Skip48

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 08:01 PM

QUOTE(flyfishingtaz @ Nov 14 2006, 05:23 PM) View Post

I'd check out the back post archives. I know there are a few tips in there on pest proofing and protecting your supplies. Also, I was chatting with the fly fishing dept head at bass pro yesterday. He said if you put em in some water with alittle borax it will do the trick. let em dry out on some paper towels, or nuke em for about 15 sec or so and that will also kill any pests. I havent done it myself, so if anyone else knows of this, please dont hessitate to let us know. THNX.


Now that nuke thing sounds pretty easy and yes it should kill any creepy crawlers in there, but doe it do anything to the feathers? Guess I have enough to test a few. I can see where some may need washing because of stuff on the feathers, maybe his blood or something in the lake where he came from.
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#9 Hot Tuna

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 08:41 PM

Every new item goes into the freezer for at least 24 hours before being placed into the general materials storage areas with either mothballs or cedar blocks.
Hope that helps.

#10 TerryLee

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 07:54 PM

I got some duck feathers from a guy at church yesterday. I put the zip loc in the freezer as soon as I got home, but I'm not sure what to do from here. I plan on either a) putting them in the refrigerator to thaw them slowly then wash them or cool.gif wash them straight from the freezer, gradually warming the water as to limit the thermal stress on the feathers. Am I looking too much into this? Any thoughts?
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#11 GaryH

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 10:38 AM

I was told to put all roadkill directly into the freezer for at least 2 weeks, then take them out & thaw for 1 week. After that put them back in the freezer for another 2 weeks. This will kill any nits initially, then, with the thaw, if there are any eggs, it will kill then when it's refrozen. Better safe than sorry......... dry.gif

#12 Moushka

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 11:19 PM

I absolutely do not want to wash feathers unless they are bloody or dirty because I want the natural oils to be left in. I usually harvest feathers in the fall or winter, scrape and borax them, place loose feathers in plastic bags in the shed for the winter (which routinely goes down to Ė20) and I take the pelts to my rental locker (-40). In the spring trim the pelts, cut them up in sections according to use and place them in smaller individual plastic bags for long term storage. If I have a bunch that I want to store for years I place the small bags in a larger bag and vacuum seal it. I have not had a varmint yet or stron smell yet and have been doing this for about 10 years.

I only wash feathers if I can't easily replace them or want to dye them. I first try plain tap water and gently massage the dirt/blood away. If soap is needed I use the cheapest baby shampoo that I can find and that usually does the trick. Next I de-grease before dyeing the feathers. When finished I dry them and treat as previously noted above.

I no longer use any mothballs as the odor is too strong and is offensive to most people. I find materials previously stored with mothballs must be aired for weeks before I bring them into the house and I canít sell any flies or trade materials unless them are aired out because people donít want them!

I now store my tying materials in large plastic bins and use scented oils placed on a scrap of cloth in the bin. So far no problem and I even have occasional visitors, which I would not have if I used mothballs!

Please note that I have found the more pest infestations with pet parrots then anyother source and am extra careful with them (nuke in microwave).


#13 Skip48

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 04:05 PM

Well I didn't wash any except ones than look like they needed it and thankfully not many did. I had another guy send me a big plastic bag full of other kinds of duck feathers and they are just great too.

I put all in the freezer for at least 2 days and then sorted to some extent. Then I placed them in two 5 gal plastic buckets that has a good seal with a pest strip and moth balls & crystals. I put the balls and Crystals in zip lock bags and poked holes it them to let out the moth ball oder into the bucket.

I still have some of the 3rd batch that last guy gave me to go through and they are still in the freezer, now for about 2 weeks, LOL!

Thanks all!

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