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Tail Fan Preparation

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  • Tail Fan Preparation

    I just got a way kewl gift and now I'm stuck. It's a whole tail and it's frozen. I was told to dry it and make it into a fan. I've done this with individual feathers, but how do I do this with the whole tail? Do I spread the feathers when I go to dry it? I've got cedar fan handle blanks and can make a slot for the tail.

  • #2
    You can either spread it; tack it to plywood, spreading borax or such on it and let it dry. Or, you can take the feathers apart, clean and dry them, and place them back in order when going to make you fan. I prefer the second method, because you don't have to mess with any flesh, and can get the feathers much cleaner. You just need to remember what order you tail feathers go in, it's mush easier with wing feathers to do this.


    • #3
      Another method is with salt water...the benefit to this is that it will also kill feather mites, whereas dry preservation methods will not....

      Get a 5lb bag of coarse salt like pickling salt, and a plastic bucket like a floor mopping bucket. Fill the bucket with lukewarm water. Slowly pour in salt and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Keep adding salt and stirring until no more will dissolve. Put your tail in the bucket. it will want to float so you can weigh it down with a well-placed rock. Put the bucket in a closet or someplace else that is out of the way, and leave it there for 2 weeks. Don't worry about any smell - the salt will kill most bacteria. After 2 weeks, remove the tail from the water and nail it to a board in the position you want it to dry in. The flesh will be very soft at this time so you can carefully spread out the feathers with your hands. Place the board in a dark cool spot and let it dry for 2 more weeks.

      After this time remove the nails and rinse the tail well with spring water. You will then need to preen the feathers back into shape with Woolite soap to get all the fletching zipped back together. Then gently dry the tail with a blow dryer.

      This method also dessicates the flesh very well so the feathers are really cemented into the meat. You shouldn't have any problems with feathers coming loose or out.


      • #4
        I like the ideas, and I just posted a thread about "feather care". I make fans also, and I found that its easier to use them individually instead of leaving the meat on them. (kinda yucky) It is not hard to figure out the order in which they lay, I don't use the whole tail, because it is really big. I usually find someone who needs roach feathers, and give away the outside edge feathers. I put extensions in the feathers, to add coloured thread so curing them and leaving them together is not an option.

        I guess it just depends on what kind of fan you want. :-)
        ---- New to ----


        • #5
          i 2nd that

          Originally posted by Ojibway05
          I guess it just depends on what kind of fan you want. :-)
          in the end the type of fan you want will determine you method of taking apart or preserving your tail feathers, personally i prefer, the look of individual feathers with extentions with thread work or feather work, just makes it a whole lot cleaner looking as well as adds some OouS and aWw's ;)
          SOUTHERN XTREME.....WE HERE NOW!!!!!


          • #6
            I decided to practice on a hawk tail before I moved on to the other, so I skinned and dried it, now I'm trying to figure our how to attach it to the fan handle. Any ideas?


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