Last week we talked about an easy method for stripping peacock feathers in order to obtain
the bare quill we need for tying many of the great quill type flies.
If you are only tying one or six flies at a time that method may be the best for your needs. It
is slow but your needs being small, it will work.
If you are like many of us however, you will use more than a few quills. A faster method of
obtaining a good quantity of these stripped down beauties is in order. As usual we have
just such a method for you to use.
This will take some cooperation from your significant other, but you can sneak it in while they
are at the grocery store. You are going to need to borrow their kitchen sink, unless you are
fortunate enough to have a laundry tub, which would be great.
You are going to need in addition to the sink, a small quantity of Clorox Bleach, and a small
shallow pan in which to de-flu your peacock.
Put about ¼" of the Clorox into the shallow pan. Holding your quill by the stem, submerse
the eye and a good way down the shaft into the bleach, do not let go of the stem. (If you let
go of the stem, you may go off and try to do something else while your eyes soak, do not do
this, you will end up with a pan full of nothing if you walk away.)
Agitate the quill with a gentle stirring like motion until you see the green streaks starting
to form in the liquid. At this point, agitate for about another 30 seconds and remove the
now naked quill from the Bleach and rinse it with generous quantities of water, to neutralize
Lay the quill between a folded paper towel and pat the excess water off. Open the towel
and let the quill air dry.
You can probably do several quills at once if you like, though it takes only a minute to do
one, and the results might just be better that way.
If you do many of these, you can store them for future use or dying if you like, by placing
them back into the plastic bag when they are dry. That way they will stay together and quite
clean. You can if you like for even more protection, slip the entire quill into a plastic drinking
straw before returning it to the envelope. (This is also a great way to store them for travel.)
If you have any tips or techniques, send them along, most of this
material has been stolen from somebody, might as well steal your ideas
too!~ George E. Emanuel
(Chat Room Host Muddler)