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Working with golden pheasant tail.


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#1 Henry Denson

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 12:43 AM

I recently purchased a pair of G.P. tails from FeathersMC. They seem to be good quality, though I expected nothing less, but I cannot work with them for them life of me. Is there some sort of trick to marrying them, or does it just take skill and persistance?

#2 Ronn Lucas

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 01:31 AM

WASH them in hot (to the touch) soapy water. It may take more than one washing. Really agitate them lots while you wash them. Those birds are "tail draggers" so the barbs get dusty. Even great tails can be buggers to use. I use Amgold tail. 


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#3 Barkworth

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 06:54 AM

As Ronn says. In addition, I hang then from the root down, so that the water drips to the tip, preening them as they dry, forcing them to dry in a desired shape. Then steam when dry.

I strip the inside of them, leaving only the long barbs on the rachis. I then cut them into matched sections of about 4 inches long, that fit in ziplock bags. Paired and preened into the ziplock, they flatten out, and I find them easier to use when I take them out again.

 

When I use some, I cut the bits I need, with the rachis attached. This really helps keeping the slips in line when tying them on.

Rv-


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#4 Classic Salmon Fly Tyer

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 11:03 AM

Sure can't add anything to this except...clean...clean...clean!! Not the easiest feather to work with, but following the tips of Ronn and Robert sure will help!!


Petri Heil,

George

 

"I've spent many days on the golf course and said I should have gone fishing.

But I've NEVER been on a trout stream or Atlantic Salmon river and said I should have played golf." - Me


#5 jgogg

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 02:57 PM

If you can identify someone that raises the birds, one thing that will aid in getting clean, undamaged feathers is to remove them from the bird as soon as the blood is out of the quill.   When you remove the entire quill, they then grow back.  I learned from experience, however, that you should not do this often.  It makes the bird  insane.


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#6 Henry Denson

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 03:33 PM

Okay, sounds like the general consensus is to wash the feathers. I will try this as soon as I get the chance.

Mr. Goggans, unfortunately I do not know of anyone that raises them. I would like to raise one myself, but among other reasons, I have enough foxes, raccoons, and hawks around that it probably would not last long.

#7 jgogg

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 03:45 PM

Okay, sounds like the general consensus is to wash the feathers. I will try this as soon as I get the chance.

Mr. Goggans, unfortunately I do not know of anyone that raises them. I would like to raise one myself, but among other reasons, I have enough foxes, raccoons, and hawks around that it probably would not last long.

The thing I forgot to say was from personal experience, don't raise them yourself.  What a pain.....I raised Golden, Amherst, Grey's peacock and Impeyan pheasants along with white turkeys.  Never again.


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#8 Classic Salmon Fly Tyer

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 10:37 AM

Okay, sounds like the general consensus is to wash the feathers. I will try this as soon as I get the chance.

Mr. Goggans, unfortunately I do not know of anyone that raises them. I would like to raise one myself, but among other reasons, I have enough foxes, raccoons, and hawks around that it probably would not last long.

Henry,

Wash the feathers in a mild detergent like Woolite or Dawn dish detergent. They work best...and remember to AIR DRY the feathers.

George


Petri Heil,

George

 

"I've spent many days on the golf course and said I should have gone fishing.

But I've NEVER been on a trout stream or Atlantic Salmon river and said I should have played golf." - Me


#9 buggybob

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 05:45 PM

If the feathers are really dirty or greasy use Dawn. If they are not that bad use woolite. Dawn is a true soap and Woolite contains some lanolin which can restore dry feathers and the barbets that hold the fibers together making for better marrying characteristics.

#10 Henry Denson

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 06:28 PM

A few days ago I purchased a pair of Lady Amherst Pheasant tails from Ken Sawada. I opted to save a few dollars and go for the Standard grade tail for $8. They arrived yesterday matted, dirty, and tangled, and I wished I hadnt have chosen the cheaper option. I remembered all of you advise, so I washed and steamed the feathers. What a difference it makes! They went from tangled and dirty, to fresh and clean. I was surprised at how huge the barbs were compared to GP. Speaking of golden pheasant, I decided to try steaming the feathers first, which seemed to help. I can now marry the fibers, now I just need to practice mounting them.

#11 jgogg

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 07:09 PM

If you can find a pair of tails that are around 75% Golden pheasant and 25% Amherst pheasant (generally called "amgold"), you will find that they will have most of the color and pattern of the Golden, along with added barb  length from the Amherst.  And it seems breeders who raise these birds are more careful about their habitat.  The feathers are rarely tattered or particularly dirty.  The only problem with them is availability and price....


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#12 jgogg

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 07:32 PM

Keep in mind when you marry Golden and Amherst tail barbs that even the nicest, cleanest of these tails often has a natural corkscrew twist to the barbs.  To deal with this, it helps to not use more than three barbs together.  And to be sure to marry it on each side to barbs from feathers that are strong to marry and straight.  Kori bustard is the gold standard.  But turkey, both natural and dyed works well too. And some others.  If this is not possible (say due to the pattern you are following), keep in mind that once you place the wing over an under-wing  (like tippets back to back), that this will help hold the wing in a shape that will allow the barbs to stay married.  And sometimes just placing the wings back to back against themselves is enough to compensate for twist and help them hold together.

 

This all reminds me to say that when you are selecting barbs for a pair of wings, always take the barbs from the same general area of the feather for each wing.  If you use barbs from towards the tip of the feather for one side and towards the quill end for the other, the two wings will not be the same height, curve or strength.  They will not properly support each other if they are placed back to back without some intervening under wing feather.  But, it is also a bad idea to take the barbs from both sides of one feather, even at the same point along the rachis, if one side has marked recurve.  Once again, the two wings will not balance each other.


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#13 Barkworth

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 06:49 PM

For dry feathers, I generally use a detergent with a conditioner. Products for silks and wool generally have a conditioning substance built in. It rejuvenates the feathers, mate. Luke warm water, and just let it soak for a few hours... 

Rv-

 

Ps. I suppose lesson learned, but never save money by getting b-grade fluff instead of prime. Working with good materials makes such a difference!


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#14 Gordeaux

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 02:56 PM

As Ronn said in his post.  Use Amgold!  GP tail feathers suck to work with no matter how they have been washed.  I have followed all the above listed suggestions.  They make nice pheasant tail nymphs.  That is about alI do with this material any more.