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Old 07-29-2013, 12:45 PM
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Default Mold on hackle skins

Hi, it has been a while since I posted...

I have been taking the fly tying lessons at LLBean and having fun with it but, never got around to buying a kit. Well over the weekend I scored an entire kit from a CL listing for $30. All the basic tools, materials and big 4 drawer Plano box.

Problem is when I got it home, I noticed a musty smell. In brighter light, I could see many of the bags the materials are in had mold on and some in them. I immediately rebagged everything and cleaned out the box.

The furs and feathers look clean and in great shape.
My question is... Is there a way to kill the mold on the skins? Its not really bad, but enough to still carry an odor.
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:44 PM
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Default Re: Mold on hackle skins

Just a thought only. Give them a minute on high in a micowave on a plate (you don't want to cover them in plastic) and then wash?
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:35 PM
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Default Re: Mold on hackle skins

Clean, clean, clean... zap in microwave, freeze, allow to open air dry, re-bag in fresh bags, put a 3x5 card inside with date and origin of material.

Cleaning is a *HUGE* step towards ensuring you have no bugs, whether we're talking about "hunt harvested" materials or commercially purchased ones. I've had insects show a few months after the purchase of a Hoffman cape.

I have a kit of tools that is used specifically for cleaning and preparing materials for storage so I don't get in <r@p with SWMBO. I have a selection of very sharp knives and x-acto knives, a pair of poultry shears, a pair of stainless steel sewing scissors, a couple of large spoons, another couple of spoons with one edge ground a bit sharp (for scraping), a package of white bar towels, a couple of plastic containers for soaking and dry treating, a few combs and brushes, some DAWN detergent, hair conditioner, baking soda, salt and BORAX.

Take a picture in sunlight and artificial light of your feather patch prior to cleaning and after your final step and you'll be SHOCKED at the difference in color and natural sheen of the feathers and skin.

For feathers, I always go above and beyond when it comes to cleaning them... turn the patch over, skin side up, remove any 'extra' skin with shears or an x-acto knife, then use a spoon to scrape off any visible fat or other foreign matter. If you find some that is on a very thin area of the skin, wait until you have soaked the patch before trying to scrape that off.

Run HOT water into your sink, and place a double layer of newspapers on the adjacent sink board/counter, covered with a couple of layers of paper towels. Place the patch of feathers in the water and allow it to soak until the skin becomes "pliable", then drain the water. If you had fat/matter on the skin, scrape it off now with a spoon with an edge ground down or by laying a knife flat along the skin's surface. Rinse the skin of any remaining residue, then fill the sink with HOT water again.

Squeeze some DAWN detergent onto the skin side and rub it in well to all areas of the surface; turn the patch over and apply more detergent to the feather side. Rub it into and over the feathers, getting between them as much as possible, then place the patch in the sink filled with water. Allow the patch to soak for 10-15 minutes, then agitate or "swish" the patch around. Drain the sink.

Hold the patch under running warm water and remove all of the soap from both sides of the patch, then rinse once more under cold water. Fold the patch in half, "feather to feather side", and squeeze as much water as possible out of the patch.

Lay the patch (feather side down) onto the pad of paper towels and newspapers and stretch/straighten the skin out as much as possible. Blot the skin side with paper towels to remove any water on the surface, then turn the patch over and do the same on the feather side.

At this point you have a couple of choices... if it's warm enough in your house and you have a ceiling fan over a table, you can place the patch on a white cotton bar towel and let the fan air dry it, turning it over occasionally to make sure both sides get dry.

If this isn't an option for you, place the patch (skin side down) over the back of your hand (sort of like a puppet), and use a hair dryer on low blowing up and under the feathers row by row until it gets dry. Don't get the tip of the hair dryer too close, you don't want to "warm up" the skin patch. The skin patch should get a little 'crinkly' if you got all of the fat and other junk trimmed/scraped off of it.

Now, you can let it cool completely and run it in the microwave on half power for a minute, place it in a zip-top bag when completely cool, burp all of the air out of it, seal it , and freeze it for two days.

Remove it from the freezer, put the patch on a white cotton towel and make sure there are no ice crystals in the bag and air dry the patch again, re-bag it and label it, and you should be done forever with it. No need to use moth balls/crystals or cedar chunks.

Just re-inspect it every six months. If any sign of bugs, eggs or 'nits'... re-do the microwave and freeze steps.
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:49 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Mold on hackle skins

WOOZER POST up above. This Fellow would be amazing with fur skins. He's dead on.

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