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Old 06-18-2003, 02:46 PM   #1
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Roach Spreaders

I noticed a lot of questions concerning roaches, how to make them and where to buy them lately.

But what I haven't seen is any talk about the spreader.

So I'm curious,

Do you make your own or buy them?

If you make them, What method do you use???

Do you bead your roach sockets before or after you attach them to the spreader?

Do you bead your spreader before you attach the sockets?

Any suggestions for those of us, just getting our first roach?????

Anyone want to share their techniques and start a how to thread, like the ones we have in the beadwork section?

Joe
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Old 06-18-2003, 04:44 PM   #2
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You can get a decent roach spreader made of silver for less than $50.00. Depending on who makes your roach, you may want to ask the roach builder what spreader they recommend, especially if they build their bases from scratch.

However, you can custom build a spreader yourself by using heavy leather and film canisters. Personally I use a stamped-silver spreader.
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Old 06-18-2003, 06:28 PM   #3
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When my son first started grass dancing, i made his first roach spreader out of heavy tanned leather for the base and 2 film cans for the cups. I didn't bead them but instead just used colored electrical tape.

I have made roach spreaders with a leather base and beaded cups. But i bead the cups first.

Since i'm a straight dancer, i use a german silver spreader, which is part of a set of straight dance silver, made by Pete Vilano back in 1993 (now deceased).
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Old 06-18-2003, 08:19 PM   #4
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I made my roach spreader out of leather and used film containers for the sockets. I beaded the containers
first and then attached them to the leather by drilling holes in the film containers and punching holes in the leather.
I attached the film containers with 50lb fishing line and then used glue on the line to seal it.
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Old 06-19-2003, 08:13 AM   #5
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Thanks for the ideas everyone. I saw some nice silver ones and even a couple resin ones lately, but I still like the look of a beaded spreader.

I also noticed a few of the leather ones were just a round circle and some of them were shaped more like the silver and resin ones(More like the base itself.) Is there more of a reason than just looks for this??
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Old 06-19-2003, 01:43 PM   #6
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The thing about a roach spreader is that you need to make sure it is sized for your roach otherwise it can damage (wear out) the hair in your roach. Silver spreaders are nice looking but you really need to have your roach with you if you are buying one already made to make sure it fits your roach properly before you buy it. What I mean by a proper fit is that it should just meet the inside row of hair or be slightly small than it is. A roach, if made properly, will lay correctly without a spreader in it (i.e., spread wide open like those Crow boys like or standing straight up like many straight dancers want). The spreader really is not there to position the hair, but rather made to keep the base from popping back on itself like it does on the roach stick and it also is there to hold the roach feathers. If a spreader is too big it will wear again the hair causing a loss of hair in the crown area of the roach. The other way it causes hair loss is that when adjusting the position of a roach on ones head most people pinch the sides of the roach at the base to get a good hold on it. This pinches the hair between your fingers and the spreader crimping or even breaking the hollow porky and deerhair at the same time. After this happens it is just a matter of time before the hair that was crimped will fall out.

To achieve a proper fit with any type of spreader I would suggest opening your roach and laying on a paper bag (with the base down of course) and tracing around the outer edge of the crown and about 5-6" down the tail. Then cut this out staying slightly inside the line and you now have a template you can use to cut your leather with or provide to your favorite silverworker so he can make you one.

Spreaders made of leather (like harness/saddle or russet leather like is used for belts) is another good and popular choice. It can be beaded or even just painted and works very well. I personally bevel the bottom edge of the leather so that if the spreader does make contact with the hair it has less chance of crimping/breaking it.

As for spreader construction I will discuss spreaders with sockets/cups. The first thing to consider is how you will be attaching your feathers inside the sockets/cups. Personally, I place ballbearing fishing swivels in the quills of my roach feathers and then braid some sinew to use as ties. These ties are ran through the loop in the swivel and then down through holes in the cups and spreader, then tied on the bottom. When the spreader is placed in the roach the ties are held in place and do not come untied. With this method the cups do not need to be permanently attached to the spreader (unless one want them to be) and the whole thing can be broken down for easy storage. Also this method is for the leather based spreaders. Now for silver, one is often and the mercy of the silversmith. The cups are usually permanently attached, since the weight might be too much otherwise. Some silversmiths make the spreader so a wire that can spin is sticking up from the cup allowing the quill of the feather to slide down it. Some people like this method, personally I do not. If your spreader is being custom made then you can specify whether you want holes inside the cup to attach the feathers as mentioned earlier or leave it up to the smith.

Another type of socket spreader often seen is a bone spreader. These are almost always pre-made and are normally quite small at the top so the fear of it rubbing the crown hair is small. The down side is that the back end is often wide and could rub there, but they usually cause little damage, especially since they often have a beaded bulls tail attached to them and since the tail portion is seldom handled when adjusting the position of the roach on the head, the hair takes little to no damage.
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Old 06-29-2003, 03:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by powwowbum49
If a spreader is too big it will wear again the hair causing a loss of hair in the crown area of the roach. The other way it causes hair loss is that when adjusting the position of a roach on ones head most people pinch the sides of the roach at the base to get a good hold on it. This pinches the hair between your fingers and the spreader crimping or even breaking the hollow porky and deerhair at the same time. After this happens it is just a matter of time before the hair that was crimped will fall out.
Too much talk of Hair loss!! Solutions: Rogaine-for Porcupines, or the The Hair Club for Porky's !!


Nah bum's right on, if you use too big a spreader it will crease it and though a flattened roach looks kinda cool, it won't stal flat for long- it'll start saggin. Good tip on the bevelled edge too, it's all bout the little things!

Doug

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Old 06-29-2003, 05:15 PM   #8
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To bevel the edge I assume you either cut the round the bottom corner by cutting it at an angle or sanding it round. Right??

Are the fishing swivels better than the pull chains???? I know it's personal preference but does one work better than another??
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Old 06-29-2003, 05:50 PM   #9
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Might I highly suggest chain In my experience with spreaders the swivel snaps wire part snaps litterly they snap causing you to loose a perfectly good feather.



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Old 06-30-2003, 03:04 AM   #10
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Well, I guess it is personal preference, cause you would never catch me using that pull chain crap. I have seen more roach feathers laying on the arena ground with pull chains attached than I have ever seen with swivels and that is in 25 years of dancing. I myself have been using the swivel method for over 15 years and have not lost a roach feather since I started using it.

I cut the clip part of the swivel off anyway, or just buy the ones that do not have a clip. You just snip the base of the feather and then insert the swivel up to the barrel and then run a needle with sinew as thread through the quill passing through the upper eye of the swivel. Then wrap the 2 ends of the sinew in opposite directions around the quill a bit and tie the ends and burn the knot. The lower eye of the swivel is what the braided strip of sinew goes through and it is all that is sticking out of the bottom of the feather. This keeps the feather light and allows it move better as well...especially if you buy the high dollar ball bearing swivels.

As for beveling the edge of the leather, it is beveled and not rounded... in other words just take a razor blade or exacto knife and cut the edge on the underside at about a 45 degree angle all the way around the outside of the roach spreader.
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Old 06-30-2003, 09:11 AM   #11
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Got it now. Thanks PWbum! Sure as I make mine, I'll come up with more questions!!! LOL
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Old 07-05-2003, 06:12 PM   #12
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I was thinking about this just now. The one I've used for 17 years is made of rawhide. I tried to stay as 'traditional' as possible, so I used a turkey leg as the socket. I've been debating upgrading to something newer for awhile, though. for the longest time the spreader was painted in an old fashioned style - I didn't like it much and it didn't really match the outfit. Recently, I re-painted it to match my outfit (colors are red, yellow, white, blue, & black). And even painted the turkey socket. But for my money, the rawhide has worked well. I shaped it to curve down my head, and the wide part of the socket curves up a bit, so it never touches the roach. That little bend is perfect for getting some tension when I put my pin thru the scalplock that holds the whole thing on my head. As long as the scalplock is tightly braided, I've never had any problems with the roach sliding around.

Thanks, all!

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Old 07-07-2003, 07:05 PM   #13
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spreader and feathers

I read most of the post on the spreaders. Now can someone tell me how I'm supposed to attach the feathers to a german silver spreader that has a spring in the center with two coat hanger peices coming up. It is called a rocker.
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Old 07-07-2003, 07:50 PM   #14
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D Mom

That is a fancy dancers style of spreader and I hate to sound negative but spreaders like that with the spring just do not work well...or at least the one I had years ago sure never did. But, on to your question....all you have to do is clip the very tip of the quill of the feather off so that you can then slide the wire up and into the feather. Be sure to firmly press the feather down onto the wire so that it hold well. You may also want to wrap just enough masking tape around the wire at the very bottom to fill the fill the quill of the feather but still allow it to slide over it. This will help prevent the feathers from turning sideways on the wire while dancing. I also permanently bent the wire back and forth down the center section of it's length to also help prevent this same thing from happening.

Hope that helps and you could understand it.
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Old 07-08-2003, 10:07 PM   #15
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Thank You so much, It really does help.
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Old 07-22-2003, 12:52 PM   #16
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Ok we covered everything here except for the ties. I've heard to use shoestring, leather bootlace, buckskin strips.

What works the best??

I've also heard people say to use one tie and others say to use two ties, one through the hole in the base the other at the rear of the spreader that goes through the base and then ties to the other tie. I heard the 2 tie method is deffinately the way to go if you have short hair, like myself.

Which one is correct??

Thanks for the help

Joe
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Old 07-23-2003, 01:45 AM   #17
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Ok lets discuss ways of attaching a roach to ones head then.

Dancers that wear a small roach far back near the crown of their hair do not even use ties. They merely pin the roach on. Pinning a roach on means you use a thin braid of your own hair to run up through the hole in the crown of the roach and then through a corresponding hole in the spreader. At this point a 'roach pin' is pushed though the braid down close to the roach to hold it in place. Most dancers that pin their roach on choose to do so farther forward on the head where most dancers wear their roach. This method does still require a tie on the rear of their roach though. The placement of that tie depends on how big your head is. The best place to put that tie is just above where the curve of the back of the head starts to turn back in toward the neck. I recommend that this tie be placed permanently into the roach base by either sewing the tie to the base or running it through the base itself. The placement of the back tie will remain the same whether one is pinning or tying their roach on.

For those that tie their roach on the front tie will run from holes in the spreader down through the hole in the center of the crown of the roach. I recommend permanently placing a short set of ties facing the spreader at the back end of the spreader to keep it from spinning around in the roach and breaking guard hair in the process. Now some folks choose to have their back ties coming off the back of the spreader and this is fine as long as the spreader is long enough to reach where the ties should be located. However it can be a pain getting the ties through the base each time you put the roach together, though I have seen roaches that the owner placed permanent eyelet's (or even hand done button holes) in the base to make this easier. From a roach makers stand point though I prefer to use ties that hold the back end of the spreader in place because this cuts down on the wear and tear on the roach.

As for what material to use as ties...most folks just use shoe strings. I do know people that swear by buckskin thongs, because when they get wet from sweat they hold as tight or tighter than they did dry. The down side though is that they can kind get stiff if it is commercial hide and they do tend to rot and wear out faster than a shoe lace. I would never recommend leather boot lace or anything along those lines.

Well, I think that about covers it...I hope...LOL!
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Old 07-23-2003, 07:50 AM   #18
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Thnaks PWB49!!!!!!!! Finished up my spreader this morning. using so buckskin ties for now until I can get to the store and get some shoe laces. Really appreciate the help!!!!!!!!!!

Joe
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Old 10-06-2011, 02:24 AM   #19
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Question How do you sew a roach so that it spreads open a little?

[QUOTE=powwowbum49;222693]A roach, if made properly, will lay correctly without a spreader in it (i.e., spread wide open like those Crow boys like or standing straight up like many straight dancers want). The spreader really is not there to position the hair, but rather made to keep the base from popping back on itself like it does on the roach stick and it also is there to hold the roach feathers. If a spreader is too big it will wear again the hair causing a loss of hair in the crown area of the roach.

So, how do you sew a roach so that it spreads out a little? When I made my son's roach, I sewed the porky hair and deer hair up tight to the edge of the base and in line with the bottom of the base. The hair almost falls inward and looks "weak"; the wind blows the hair so that the sides nearly touch. Although my son is a straight dancer, I think the roach would look better if it spread open a little.
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Old 10-06-2011, 10:47 AM   #20
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I make spreaders out of moose bone,, works great and you can shape it and take all the rough edges off of them easily. There was a thread here on bone spreaders a while back and that gave me the idea to see how they would sell, can't make them fast enough and can't seem to have enough bones around now!!! I predrill the edges too so that the roach can be attached to it without any complications.
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