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Old 12-15-2012, 02:52 AM
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Default How to revitalize quills?

I've got a package of stripped quills I bought a while back. They were pretty stiff when I bought them, now they're even drier and split and peel when wrapped on the hook. Is there any way to treat these to make them usable?
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Old 12-15-2012, 03:28 AM
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Default Re: How to revitalize quills?

Place a cup of warm tap water on your tying bench and place as many quills in the water as you intend to use. They will be good as new in half an hour. I always soak peacock before using them and it is almost always necessary for stripped hackles from a chicken cape also. All of those fancy Spey flies I tie have goose shoulder that have been bleach burned, then I strip half the fibers before dying them. When I tie I tie with wet feathers that are soaking in a cup on the bench. This way there is very seldom a problem when winding the stems.

Wet hackled fly, they look normal when they dry.
Click the image to open in full size.

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Old 12-17-2012, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: How to revitalize quills?

Thanks, Ard.
Stand by for more quill questions- That recent thread on dying quills got me interseted and the AK best article in the Spring issue of FRR on biot flies has me gathering supplies to try this. I have a dozen (wild) turkey flats pulled from an old skin and dye on the shopping list. -John
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:09 PM
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Default Re: How to revitalize quills?

Thanks Ard for this info.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:35 PM
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Default Re: How to revitalize quills?

You might also add some glycerine (glycerol) to the water. The glycerine is hydrophilic - it takes up water - making the quills pliant for much longer, even after the quills "dry".
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:37 PM
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Default Re: How to revitalize quills?

Jojer, the easiest way to dye feathers is with Koolaid. It's cheap and it comes in all the base colors so you can mix any color you want. It's permanent, does not washout. In fact you need to do a test before you commit a lot of feathers to a batch because if you get it to dark there is no getting it back out. If you want I'll do a detailed description on how to do it.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:44 PM
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Default Re: How to revitalize quills?

Dan, if you don't post this info, please pm me. Emil
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: How to revitalize quills?

OK, I just went and did a new thread on it. This actually comes up fairly often. In the time I have been on the forum I know it has come up a good dozen times. Not all by me either. I did it quick while I was taking a break from reflooring my kitchen. My back is hating me.

Koolaid dying
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:30 PM
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Default Re: How to revitalize quills?

Quote:
Originally Posted by overmywaders View Post
You might also add some glycerine (glycerol) to the water. The glycerine is hydrophilic - it takes up water - making the quills pliant for much longer, even after the quills "dry".
I have some of this around and thought about it and wondered if it will make the quills too slippery to work with easily.
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: How to revitalize quills?

With glycerine add it to water. "A little dab will do ya"
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