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  • Few Questions...

    Hello everyone..
    Just to introduce myself im a 21yo guy whos
    working on a fancy outfit right now..

    first question is where is the best place to buy some good spikes at? i have a bustle kit that ive been practicing on from crazy crow, but dont think the feathers are that great...

    second question is i know how to string them together at the base of the quill, but what is the best way to do the second string through the quills? ive heard threading it through or the crazy crow method "gently using a screwdriver to punch a hole in the quill" but neither sound that good.... and also how do you attach the bustle to the baseboard?

    any help would be greatly appreciated.. feel free to contact me icq# 2834221 or aim/sn "trahel"

    Im one of three people who helped found a group called Creation Outreach Respect and Education (regalia making and teaching other students about native culure at Stanford University) and have a temporary page up at

    thanks for your time

  • #2
    It's nice to have you join us. I'll do my best to try to answer some of your questions. I'm sure others may be add also.

    First, Crazy Crow is a pretty good place to get turkey feathers. There are a number of other traders also. Buffalo Chips is a pretty good place.

    The thing with bustle kits is that you get just enough materials to do the project with nothing left over. Remember, the feathers, which come from domesticated turkeys can be pretty beat up. With any order of feathers, even the select feathers, you may have a couple that are just unusable. I usually order a little more than needed just so I can pick through and get the best feathers possible. Even though some may be a little ragged, with a little trimming and some hackles, the bad parts will be covered up.

    As for the secondary lacing.... I know some instructions tell you to push a screwdriver through the quill. I have a hard time doing that to feathers that I've spent so much time on. I simply use an awl to make the hole in the quill. I don't use a shoelace for the secondary lace. Instead, I use nylon twine. Hardware stores call it mason's twine or seine twine. I just thread it through a thick glovers needle and push it through the hole you made with the awl. Use plastic crow beads as spacers between the feathers.

    I know of some people that drill small holes through the wooden dowel rods that extend the quills. However, if you drill the holes big enough for a thick string or even a shoelace to pass through, I have found that it's actually weaker than going through the quill.

    Finally, I'll try to explain the method of attaching the bustles to the bases. The primary string (the string that goes through the loops on the ends of the quills) is strung through two holes in the base. These holes are drilled just above the center of the base and are far enough apart that the ends of the feathers at the center forms a nice horseshoe. The shoelace is just tied in the back of the base. The secondary laces are tied to the uprights. The uprights should be just long enough so that the secondary lace comes out of the top feathers and directly to the tip of the upright. This secondary lace should not have to stretch up or down to tie, as that puts too much stress on the top feathers.

    With the bustle now mounted in this fashion, two holes should be drilled in the center of the "horseshoe" formed by the primary lace. This is where the rosette or the centerpiece will tie. The centerpiece not only looks good, but its function is to keep the bustle from collapsing in on itself. Some dancers tie the bustle to the baseboard at the bottom and maybe the sides of the horseshoe also for more stability. I've found that with mine, with the rosettes pulled tight, I don't have too.

    Now that I've typed all this, I hope I haven't confused you. If so, just let me know, I'll be glad to try to explain something better.

    If you are what you eat.... I'm fast, cheap and easy.


    • #3
      Ok, thanks =-)
      I understand most of that pretty good,
      I have to run to work but soon as i
      remember my other question ill come back
      and post it, thank you for your Help =-)



      • #4
        I thought of those couple more questions...

        approx how many ounces of hackles will i need?
        i am makin a 40 feather bustle (x2) with three colors... red/orange/yellow..

        and whats the avg length of everyone's extentions for upper/lower bustles

        thanks again


        • #5

          For a 40 feather bustle set, I would not use less than 3 oz of hackles per row of color per bustle. Four ounces of each color per bustle would ensure a really full look.

          In addition, you will need about two additional ounces of each color to make a set of arm bustles. You should have some left over to make a set of whip sticks.

          As for the extensions... My extensions vary to make the overall length of each feather 18". (I'm pretty sure they are 18") I'll make sure thats right. I'm 5'11" and that's a good size for me.

          One thing to remember is completely finish one step in the process before you begin something else. For example, with 80 feathers, its easy to get bored just straightening them. You have a tendency to get half way through and want to move on to trimming some that you've already straightened. What you do to one, do to all of them before moving to the next step. That helps keep everything looking very neat and uniform.

          Good luck with them.

          PM me and I'll try to get together some info for you.

          By the way, what colors are you using? Just curious.

          If you are what you eat.... I'm fast, cheap and easy.


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