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Straightening Feathers

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  • Straightening Feathers

    Hello all!
    I bought a lot of Macaw feathers to make a flat fan, for my jingle, and I have ran into a issue. I need the feathers straighter than they are to make a flat fan. I was told to steam them or place them close to a hot lamp. Ok problem being... I steamed a IMMITATION eagle feather for practice and the feather 1st got really wet, then I got it exactley how I wanted it, placed it to dry, under heavy books, and a few days later, when it was dry, I took it out and it went right back to it's original shape. I then resteamed it, and , well let's put it this way, it was for toooooo long.LOL!
    Any help is appreciated, I do not want to mess up these macaw feathers.
    What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger!!!!

  • #2
    I have steam feathers until the wallpaper was peeling off my kitchen, LOL. I've never been able to get just steam to work. But some gifted individuals can.

    I find making crimps in the quill with a small screwdriver helps. You make the crimps in the direction you want the feather to bend. This will require some pressure and it leaves a mark on the quill. Once you've done this, then steam and weight your feather. The steam will help "set" the keratin into the right shape.

    It takes a bit of practice to do this, so buy some turkey feathers at the local crafts store and practice. If your hand slips, you can damage the webbing.

    Keratin and feathers:

    The Molecular Expressions website features hundreds of photomicrographs (photographs through the microscope) of everything from superconductors, gemstones, and high-tech materials to ice cream and beer.


    • #3
      a good trick for the steam is to make a funnel from aluminum foil or use a tea kettle so the steam is in a small stream and concentrated(ty Mr.Bojangles)...i had the same problems with feathers returning to shape and the crimping helps tremendously..i have noticed when youre steaming,the feather will bend with the steam from front to back and vice versa very easily so watch that bend in your feathers when youre steaming...smaller feathers that are bent ,can be crimped with your finger nail if the quill isnt too thick...just go slow and take your time and practice helps

      (and no,this isnt zeek)


      • #4
        Steam works really well for getting roughed up feathers to return to their original shape, for coaxing barbules back together (zipping the fletching back together). A light bulb will work for straightening but, you might also go blind.
        If you take an iron and an ironing board or a table with a not-too-thick towel on it and set the iron on the "wool" setting(really warm, not burn your fingers hot) hold the iron as close to the quill (or quills) of the feather with out touching it for a minute or two(depending how thick the quills are) you can set the heavy books on them carefully and leave them overnight. If they are curving to the side, heat them the same way but, then they will need to be gently bent in the opposite direction to straighten them. This takes patience and practice on "junk" feathers. Try it on some turkey feathers first.


        • #5
          one thing i have used is a hair dryer to straighten feathers you need to heat the feather up and then move it to the shape you want and hold until it cools or place in a book for a few minutes the process may need to be repeated 2 or 3 times


          • #6
            [QUOTE=nativegal]Hello all!
            I bought a lot of Macaw feathers to make a flat fan, for my jingle, and I have ran into a issue.

            ive tried several ways .the light bulb worked the best for me. don't use a real high watt bulb.. it can burn the feather ...the other draw back is....let me quote Ole Gizmo "BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT".......Onen
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