foam decoys

Duck hunting for diver species like Canvasbacks, Redheads, Ringnecks, Eiders, Goldeneye and other diver ducks.

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foam decoys

Postby brian tierno » Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:48 pm

I am interested in making my own dekes for sea ducks ,would like to use foam and burlap but dont know where to start (molds , foam , heads ) any help from the masses would be appreciated thanks . i build cabinets and make furniture but i am a chicken to try making my own dekes . i dont have any interest in carving wood or cork!!
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Re: foam decoys

Postby jimmyash » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:57 pm

Check out the workingdecoys.net forum. They have a great group of guys over there with a lot of experience in foamers. There are a few tutorials over there as well :thumbsup:
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Re: foam decoys

Postby alanwebfoot » Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:37 am

100% agree some real artist on there ,,but to save you some digging Lowes will have about everything you need except eyes. i.e. tile mastic ,burlap,foam sheets,screw eyes,composite wood ,sorform for rasping.
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Re: foam decoys

Postby petrel » Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:59 am

Not exactly what you are looking for, but I made my scoter decoys out of crab pot floats cut in half with plywood silhouette glued into them.
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Re: foam decoys

Postby Fowler » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:51 pm

These are what we use all season long. They are basically old school blocks made from blue foam and then burlapped and coated with mastic. I have seen some beautiful decoys made by some people but these are ugly but functional. They get used hard all season long and work extremely well for us.

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Re: foam decoys

Postby pistolpete » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:25 pm

If you want some really good info for carving foamers check out woodducks sticky in the decoy section on here. He has some great dvd's you can order that will get you going in the right direction.....information from one of the best if not the best foam carver.
I forgot to add his website. bodylanguagedecoys.com thats where you will find his vids to order. ANother guy is gundog decoys..like him on facebook, he's also a great carver!
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Re: foam decoys

Postby brian tierno » Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:44 pm

thanks guys the working decoy site is really gonna help , just have to have a few posts before i can accses some of the info i need , thanks jimmyash
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Re: foam decoys

Postby brian tierno » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:14 pm

I have done my homework and the only ? is , i would like to find some patterns to start the rough shape any ideas or is that some thing i have to have that artistic knack for ???
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Re: foam decoys

Postby BigRiver » Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:28 am

brian tierno wrote:I have done my homework and the only ? is , i would like to find some patterns to start the rough shape any ideas or is that some thing i have to have that artistic knack for ???


Brian, I found this site the first time searching for a way to make my own decoys. Eveything you need is in the decoys section. There are also some guys there that may share a pattern or two. The most important thing I have learned is that very very simple and easy patterns and paint schemes are all you really need to get the birrds in. Pretty decoys are for the hunter not the bird.

First deeks I made using the info on this site.
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Re: foam decoys

Postby brian tierno » Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:17 pm

Thanks big river I will check it out again I was looking so many directions prob just passed something obvious right by , Im not looking for pretty birds just some proportional life like shape decoys
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Re: foam decoys

Postby alanwebfoot » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:33 am

Fowler ,,the proof is in the picture !!!that aint a crow coming in to your blocks,,good going
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Re: foam decoys

Postby woodduck31 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:31 am

brian, you can make just about anything you want out of foam and burlap. Lots of information on workingdecoys.net

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Re: foam decoys

Postby Slack Tide » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:44 am

I find myself slipping down the slope with the foamers.
What I mean is, what is your goal? Are you trying to add bulk to a diver rig? Then you can go pretty low tech for things like BBills, Buffs, Brant etc.. b/c you need the nice shape, right color, decent size and lots of them.
That's how I started. Black, white, brown, done....
Now I find myself adding feather detail etc.

I would see if I could find some cheap heads on eBay, give a crack to shaping some bodies and put the heads on, once your confidence builds, go further.
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Re: foam decoys

Postby brian tierno » Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:14 pm

Slack tide I have 7 carved already ,ww scoters was hoping to order heads from toledo but they are closing their doors i think im going to get E. allens from Lou. The shape is ok so far i need heads to finish up the carving in that area then burlap not as hard as i thought just want some soild heads to mount and maybe ill try carving next time but prob not.
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Re: foam decoys

Postby Slack Tide » Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:37 pm

Toledo is closing?? What?
What exactly are you interested in carving, I come across heads all the time, I'll forward the,
E. Allens are expensive......
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Re: foam decoys

Postby brian tierno » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:27 pm

Sent a pm , I know they are exp but i am not sure of any other place to get sea duck heads
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Re: foam decoys

Postby brian tierno » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:36 pm

woodduck 31 you are very talented those birds are beautiful so far mine are a work in progress and i am embarressed looking at yours
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Re: foam decoys

Postby woodduck31 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:20 pm

I started out just about like everyone else, it just takes time to get on to the basic process. My first ones looked pretty bad to say the least. They can still look a little cartoonish.


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Re: foam decoys

Postby brian tierno » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:14 pm

i cant upload any pics of the dekes will try again tom
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Re: foam decoys

Postby moknducks » Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:40 pm

Hey woodduck thx for posting some of your work. I put some work on here in another forum and your pics give me something to compare to. I dont think i want them as good as yours but it gives me some more ideas to try and work on. Your dekes are really great, I never seen working dekes that good, they are better than any store brand I have ever seen. it gives anyone starting a model to compare to a perfected deke.
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Re: foam decoys

Postby Slack Tide » Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:25 am

I am curious (wood duck) what kind of long term wear and tear you find on your deeks? I don't have a lot of faith in foamer heads and full flocking etc... I prefer to either buy or carve my own wood heads and then make foamer bodies for things like brant and black duck.
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Re: foam decoys

Postby woodduck31 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:40 am

Lots of the flocked decoys in my hunting rig are 4 and 5 years old now. I've never had any trouble with the heads since I quit using wood. I started out with wood heads,( I'm primarily a woodcarver), but didn't like the issues with transition in the neck or the counterbalance problem with weight above an otherwise light body, causing me to add more keel weight. Being able to carve heads in more positions became less of a problem with foam. I've had two people over the years send decoys back with head damage, both were dropped from a shelf in the home. The evolution of the foamer decoy has come a long way in the past 8 years, durability of carved foamers depends a lot on the density of the foam. I don't use foam like what is found at tractor supply, it's just too soft for me. A decoy like this one with a wood head would have been a balance nightmare.

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Trying to figure all the angles in a wood head to work for this full body pintail would have been very difficult.

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Flocking has gone through a similar growth period, both for commercial decoy companies and those of us who make our own decoy. I started flocking my own decoys 4 years ago and although the first hunt was a real eye opener, the flocking was easily rubbed off at the end of the hunt. I had a kit from a decoy company to flock with and the latex based glue didn't work on a foamer decoy. What did work was the decoys, I was hunting over 3 newly flocked goldeneye decoys on the snake river. My hunting buddy was about 75 yards upstream with a typical 3 dozen mixed spread of wigeon, mallard, and goldeneye plastics. We started our hunt at about noon that day and for an hour mallards, wigeons and goldeneye poured into our three decoys, virtually ignoring the 3 dozen spread just upstream. I had hundreds of mallards and goldeneye at point blank range, I swear I had to kill a couple in self defense. I'd never seen anything like that, especially in that location, birds just don't want to be there and decoying was always tough. Since that time we have been on a mission to make flocking more durable and since that time, limits are the rule, not the exceptional day.

As far as durablity I have some three year old goldeneye decoys that still have no rub marks on them or any sign of wear. However I treat them like any other custom wood or cork decoy, I slot bag them and I take care of them. Flocked decoys aren't for everyone, if you want to throw your decoys in the back of the truck a dozen at a time, flocked decoys aren't for you. I know people who could damage an anvil. I take care of all my duck hunting gear, so it's not much of an issue for me to have my decoys stay in great condition. We stumbled onto a flocking process about 10 months ago that is very durable and we have gone through the season with it being tested across the country on over 5000 decoys, some of those decoys were left out the entire season, some picked up daily and we have had less than a dozen reported to us with problems.

here is one of my first flocked goldeneye decoys after it's third year, I didn't wash it, this is how it came out of the bag, of course our water is very clear in Idaho, but we have lots of issues with moss.

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I am aware that many brands of flocked decoys fail, we refurbish them all the time. We've had some brands that we could peel the flocking off of them in sheets and others that the flocking has literally fallen off, all of those were flocked with latex based glue. Even commercially flocked decoys are getting better over the past couple years. The process we use is time consuming, up to 10 days for some species from start to finish.

Honestly even if we never figured out how to keep the flocking on after the first day, I'd still use it and reapply it before each hunt, it's that important to me.
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