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Forum Home - Go Back > Pow Wow Crafts > General Crafts How To Make A Tail Feather Fan How To Make A Tail Feather Fan

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Old 12-29-2013, 10:19 PM   #1
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Smile How To Make A Tail Feather Fan

Hey You Guys! So I Got My New Eagle Feathers For My Fan And Im Learning How To Make All OF My Regalia On My Own Now . ( Yay Me ) ! So I Was Wondering If I Could Get Some Help With The Size Of The Dowels And Feather Work And How To Secure The Dowels In The Fan Handle .
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Old 12-30-2013, 12:35 PM   #2
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Hard wood dowels are what I use. Whatever the size of your feather quills. I usually find the closest to the same size as the quill and then sand it down to fit exactly inside the quill. Hot glue is your friend !
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Old 12-30-2013, 04:27 PM   #3
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I use bamboo if I can get it the right diameter. I have found it a bit more break resistant.

I use hide glue. Being a big fan of like bonds to like, I think the proteins (with their polar groups) in the hide glue bonds better with the keratins in the quill and the cellulose in the wood, than does hot glue, which is usually low density polyethylene (non-polar). However this does mean it will bond the bards too if spattered. Hot glue, if it cools before impact can usually be removed.

Which ever you choose, using a flexible glue is key, in my experience. It lets the feather and dowel move without breaking the seal. I usually over wrap the quill/dowel boundary with a single layer of cloth tape or thin fabric soaked in hide glue. This reinforces the quill and gives a smooth surface for thread wrapping or shingling.

I would suggest trying things out on some turkey feathers first. Especially if you're like me and a hot glue gun is an invitation to cover half the room with thin threads of LDPE, LOL.

I make my own handles. Usually, I carve a slot the width of the dowels in the handle. (If you build your handle by laminating thin wood and then carving this is easy.) Then I cover it with leather, bead and then mount my feathers by glueing the dowels in place. I do this largely because I use 18/0 beads on fan handles and doing that much beading with the feathers already mounted makes me crazy. But I think the shape is more elegant if your carve a ledge on the front and glue the dowels on this. Then fill the gaps with wood putty, cover with leather and bead. This gives a more compact profile and blends the line of the handle smoothly into the line of the feathers.
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Last edited by OLChemist; 12-30-2013 at 04:34 PM..
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Old 12-30-2013, 04:36 PM   #4
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Oh, if you make your handle out of cedar, I don't advise using the ledge. The oils from cedar are brutal to glues and varnishes. With the decreased surface area, you stand a good chance of seal failure.
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:25 PM   #5
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All great advice. I tend to like my hot glue better because I have had extensions break , and when that happens I can heat them up , remove the break , and install the new one.I usually get dowel (hardwood , as softwood breaks really easy)a size matching the quill size and use my belt sander to hone them so it will go into the quill. Then I buff it so there is no offset between the quill and dowel. The handle is the same whether I use a solid block or layer it I leave or cut a groove to hold the extensions. It should be deep enough to be sturdy.I usually try to get 1 1/2" into the handle.
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:02 PM   #6
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Thanks you all so much ! also one more thing i bought these already made handles from a guy on ebay i was wondering that if the dowels were to long for the dowels cut i just cut the dowels down to a reasonable size would it still look nice? what do you all think. I have a set of 12 feathers which will probably just have about 8 layers of featherwork and 4 sections of threadwork on each down and have the rest of the dowel wrapped in buckskin. i dont know how to wrap a handle in buck skin just yet either :/ but to get to my boy do i roll the part thats going down into the handle in hot glue or whatever kind of adhesive and stick it down in the handle. and is there a specific way i should place the feathers since the handles look like these.?? you all are very helpful sorry for my many questions !
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:02 AM   #7
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I don't know if you are in Hollister or not but Dwayne Harris does awesome fans. You could use him as a resource that could help you in person.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:01 PM   #8
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I'm doing it wrong. I used cardboard, a wooden ruler, duct tape, electrical tape n buckskin for my handle.
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Old 03-09-2014, 11:37 AM   #9
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That is awesome, exactly what I was looking for as well. I made my first fan using a paint brush with the hair taken out... then wrapped it in leather lol
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Old 03-21-2014, 05:29 AM   #10
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would love to see how you're doing with it so far. Pics?

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Last edited by nealchambers; 03-22-2014 at 12:37 AM..
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