This Year's Eider Spread

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This Year's Eider Spread

Postby JTR » Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:19 am

Hey guys,

I took some time this year to make a new spread of eiders. I've been hunting plastic decoys over the past few years and I was getting sick and tired of seeing them sink from being shot. So, I decided to make a bunch of foamers. I started the process by heading to a tractor supply place and grabbing a couple dozen 12"x12"x18" styrofoam blocks that they use to ship trailers. The place that I went to was giving them away, so I figured this would be a good way to start.

eiders 4.jpeg


Next step was to cut out the blocks. I did a fair amount of research before starting this process and I found out that a lot of guys rig up what is called a "hot wire bandsaw". Basically, it is a saw that instead of a blade, has a wire, which is heated up using a battery charger hooked up to both ends. When it contacts the foam, it vaporizes it. Definitely need a respirator with these bad boys. I rigged mine up with stuff that I had laying around, except for the nichrome wire, which was $2 on ebay.

eiders 7.jpeg


You draw a pattern on to the foam, then use the band saw to cut it out. It's awesome how consistent you can be with these things. I actually didn't use a specific pattern on the eiders, but I did on a few more brant that I'm working on. The accuracy of the saw is great, once you figure out how to use it.

eiders 5.jpeg


After roughing out the blocks, the next job is to use rasps and sand paper to make the rough blocks look like ducks (or as close to a duck as you can get it). The head and body are two different pieces. The head is actually 2 pieces of foam sandwiched around some luan plywood, which provides stability so they don't snap off.

eiders 8.JPG


Next job is to coat the decoys in either burlap and tile mastic, or a mixture of Titebond III wood glue and saw dust(restle coating). I actually did some of each on mine. The burlapped decoys are definitely tougher, but way heavier. The restle coated decoys are much more friendly on the back, but if you are hunting out of a boat, it shouldn't matter much either way.

eiders 3.jpeg


After that, its time for the primer and paint.
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Re: This Year's Eider Spread

Postby JTR » Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:26 am

Depending on how good you are with a brush, you can do some awesome paint jobs. I tend to suck at anything artistic, so I kept it as simple as I could. After the paint is cured, the last thing left to do is attach some keels. I'm using composite decking that I got from a friend. He works as a contractor supply salesman, so he had a bunch of discontinued samples which he threw my way. This stuff is crazy expensive, so if you can't find it cheap on craigslist or free, then you might want to use wood instead. Only downside is that you have to seal the wood really good. The composite stuff is heavy enough to self right these decoys, without adding any lead or other weight. Only down-side is that it is a #@%#$ to cut. My chop saw was struggling, I burnt out my jig saw on it, band saw was virtually useless, but finally finished them up with the circular saw going nice and slow.

To attach the keels, I cut out a slot using a box cutter and gorilla glue them in there. After the glue cures, a little bead of silicone or goop around the base of the keel and you will be good to go. Here is the finished product. The last picture is one of my new foamers next to a Sport Plast eider. Not sure how big the plastic decoy is, but regardless, I'd say mine are plenty big enough to draw birds in from a distance away. :wink:

eiders 1.jpeg


eiders 2.JPG


eiders 6.jpeg
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Re: This Year's Eider Spread

Postby troutman561 » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:19 am

Nice work. Gives me some ideas for some DIY stuff on my end.
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Re: This Year's Eider Spread

Postby Professor_Leakey » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:39 am

very cool post, JTR. they look great. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Re: This Year's Eider Spread

Postby Baymen Moe » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:45 am

Nice work, those will bring in the Eiders no problem. On side note regarding foam blocks, Drinkwater Trailer in Pembroke gives them away when they have a bunch. Usually they place an ad on Craigslist in the free listings, just a heads up.
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Re: This Year's Eider Spread

Postby JTR » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:01 pm

Baymen Moe wrote:Nice work, those will bring in the Eiders no problem. On side note regarding foam blocks, Drinkwater Trailer in Pembroke gives them away when they have a bunch. Usually they place an ad on Craigslist in the free listings, just a heads up.


Bingo... That's where I got them. Couldn't remember the name.
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Re: This Year's Eider Spread

Postby plumb n gun » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:07 pm

great job.
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Re: This Year's Eider Spread

Postby Baymen Moe » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:42 pm

JTR wrote:
Baymen Moe wrote:Nice work, those will bring in the Eiders no problem. On side note regarding foam blocks, Drinkwater Trailer in Pembroke gives them away when they have a bunch. Usually they place an ad on Craigslist in the free listings, just a heads up.


Bingo... That's where I got them. Couldn't remember the name.

Jeff, I hope I didn't give up your source of blocks. On the other hand, anyone can get them. :thumbsup:
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Re: This Year's Eider Spread

Postby JTR » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:50 pm

Baymen Moe wrote:
JTR wrote:
Baymen Moe wrote:Nice work, those will bring in the Eiders no problem. On side note regarding foam blocks, Drinkwater Trailer in Pembroke gives them away when they have a bunch. Usually they place an ad on Craigslist in the free listings, just a heads up.


Bingo... That's where I got them. Couldn't remember the name.

Jeff, I hope I didn't give up your source of blocks. On the other hand, anyone can get them. :thumbsup:


Its all good Bill. I'll be taking it slow with decoys for a while. They are a lot more work than I thought.
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Re: This Year's Eider Spread

Postby MIKE J. » Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:25 pm

Nice Job Jeff. great post. I'm seeing a lot of scoter and a few eider right now. Good Luck
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Re: This Year's Eider Spread

Postby JTR » Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:53 pm

I've got some scoters in the works too Mike. Surfs made out of some scavenged buoys. I'm hoping to have a 100% non-plastic spread by November.

scoters.JPG
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Re: This Year's Eider Spread

Postby Joser06 » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:13 pm

Great post! I was looking into this project this past summer when I had a ton of blue high density foam offered to me from our docks. I like the wire saw. That would absolutely cut down on a mess. I also like the idea of scavenged lobster pot buoys for the sake of time. I can't wait to see any more you make.
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Re: This Year's Eider Spread

Postby cape-shot » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:32 pm

Those look great JTR!! Thanks for sharing.
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Re: This Year's Eider Spread

Postby duckmanor » Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:22 pm

Dude, those things rock. I made a string a few years ago out of lobster trap buoys, painted white with a black stripe. Simple but worked great.
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