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Pheasant feathers


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10 replies to this topic

#1 creekwalker

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 09:09 PM

I am new to this site but have been tying jigs and flies for a couple of years. Recently I recieved pheasant skins from legally killed wild pheasants and have scraped, salted and air dried the skins. I also used some moth balls in the room with drying skins and tails. Is this the prefered method for fly tying material? Any help would be great.
Thanks Mike

#2 flytyer166

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 09:13 PM

no. nope. and no. salting is the worst thing to do for fly tying hides. boraxing or sun drying is the preferred method. i would not put those hides anywhere near your other materials, just from personal experience. my 2 cents...

#3 creekwalker

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 09:31 PM

I did use salt and borax at half and half and they are air drying in a very sunny warm SW room of my house with 8 windows. I have also done this for several years and cant imagine why salt would be bad thing most all of it shakes of any way. I have also stored them in sealed ziplock bags for over 2 years with no problems. Why is salt so bad?
Mike

#4 perchjerker

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 10:53 AM

no. nope. and no. salting is the worst thing to do for fly tying hides. boraxing or sun drying is the preferred method. i would not put those hides anywhere near your other materials, just from personal experience. my 2 cents...



psssst! Don't let the tying materials (hides and bird skins) I have had for nearly 30 years that were dried using salt hear or read this! Don't want them to become instantly 'useless'!

If one uses salt, all one has to do is to shake/scrape it all off after the skin has dried. You should never put either borax or salt on the hair/feather side of a hide/skin, as it is extremely difficult to get out, short of washing it out. Any salt left behind will attract moisture, especially if you live in a humid locality. If you do wash the hide/skin to remove excess salt, simply place it between several sheets of newspaper to dry it. The newspaper is an excellent water absorber. No harm done!

#5 creekwalker

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 09:31 PM

Thanks perchjerker I scraped what fat and flesh was on skins and used salt and borax about half and half to rub into fleshy side of skin. Then they were laid out on wire screens in a very warm sunny room to dry. After they are almost dry I shake or rub of any access salt/borax mix of them {most of it comes right off} I then place them back on the wire screens for a few days I have been placing paper towels next to the skin with a fan on them at this point to help them dry out. I will try newspaper on some later thanks.
Mike

#6 ashley

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 10:33 AM

I personally prefer using just borax as I have had better results. With salt I have had problems including the salt appearing to absorb moisture from the air and the skin becomes rotten and useless. With borax the skin will be perfect. Since using Borax I have also had no problems with infestation, apparently bugs don't like it.

#7 perchjerker

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 11:53 AM

Ashley;

You are correct; salt is hydrophilic, meaning it loves water, and will collect it from wherever it can, including the air when the humidity is high. This is why you should not store potatoes anywhere close to salt, as the salt will dehydrate them. However, as hair and feathers, except 'bloodfeathers', do not contain any moisture, none can be removed from them by salt, or any other drying agent. You are again correct that borax is best for bird skins, but salt will do the same thing.

#8 H Dot Verseman

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 11:56 AM

If you are going to continue, I suggest Dyeing and Bleaching by A.K. Best

#9 firedad

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 01:39 PM

I use borax only because when I first started I read somewhere that salt can dry it out too much and the skin doesn't close tight around the feather so they may just fall out. Also salt does nothing for the smell or bugs, where borax takes care of both. I read of cases where good feathers where ruined by maggots from being stored with improperly dried and cleaned skins or hides.

#10 creekwalker

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 10:26 PM

Thanks for the tips on the salt. I have another batch coming this week I will try using only borax and see how it works by its self.

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#11 flytyer166

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 12:16 PM

since it is the topic, i say someone should make a fly out of feathers only from salted hides and call it the tortilla chip, and then someone make another one out of just boraxed hides and call it the laundry locker... haha good name ideas Huh? B)