Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

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Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby suicidal_scaup » Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:07 am

I have started to make my own foam decoys since it is almost impossible to buy them(at a reasonable price anyway). I purchased an aluminum mold and use EPS beads to make my decoys. They are really similar to the body size and shape of a Herter's #72 decoy. The heads however are made of foam and are much more dense than the bodies and the bill is reinforced with a nail in the bill. I feel these heads are stronger than Herter's since they are not hollow. i have tried to snap the bill off and cant do it with reasonable force. There is also a wing nut in the head so the bolt can thread into it rather than just the foam. Also, the bodies are not as easy to dent as a Herter's decoy.

Here is my question...is there a need for these decoys? I am not trying to sell them on this site. I am looking to see if it is worth it to make more of them and try to market them to people like me that have a difficult time trying to find them. Also, if there is a need, how much are they worth? Here is what I have into them:

Each decoy takes about 35 minutes to make.
There is about $4.00 in materials in each (beads, bolt, wing nut, washers, nail)
I used a turkey fryer to boil the water and used a 20 lb propane tank on about 20 decoys and a few steaks...

I would PROBABLY sell them unpainted but am working on honing my skills with an airbrush.

Once again, please don't think I am trying to solicit them on here. I don't actually have any to get rid of now anyway. I am making them for myself as I am pretty traditional in my thinking and would like to change my entire spread into decoys that I have made...it will be a while! I think a lot of us try to come up with ways to supplement our hunting season as gas, shells, and other hunting equipment gets to be expensive as the year goes along. My dream would be to be able to be self sufficient each year hunting...this way my wife will take it easy on me every August and September when I stock up for the season.

I will also take any criticism on the decoys if you are willing to give it. In the picture, you can see some have heads attached and some are just out of the mold. Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing what you all have to say.
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby iFAIL » Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:23 pm

Man, they look nice but i'm not into foam decoys since i tend to throw my decoys around quite often. Those look good but i want to see the finish product with paint. As for selling them, you might be able to since store products are so expensive. Good luck
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby goldfish » Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:24 pm

Are you hunting in Australia? :P

Decoys look good. I've thought abut making my own as well. How exactly does the head attach?

Also, those mallards or different? You going to make multiple species?

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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby suicidal_scaup » Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:57 pm

Thanks for the input. As for the heads, they attach with a bolt through the body and screw into the wing nut that is embedded into the head. My mold allows for a bolt to be in the head while it is forming. When it is done, I unscrew the bolt and the nut stays in place. I plan to have swivel heads, but they could also be urethane glued on as we'll in any head position.

This is an oversized mallard decoy, but if you are familiar with the Herter's decoys, the bodies were all the same for them and painted to look like different species. I am looking into getting different head molds, as I feel it will be the most important for differentiating the species.

I am also hard on my decoys. I mainly call myself a diver hunter and shoot at 'em low and over the decoys. That is my main purpose for foam...it won't sink. With my Herter's I have heads "explode" similar to what a hollow point would do...small entry hole, large exit. These solid heads will prevent that I hope. Is season will be a test to their durability.

If I end up selling them, I am not looking to go big. It would just be local stuff. Anyway, keep the questions coming...it makes me analyze my approach a little bit! Thanks again.
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby goldfish » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:09 pm

Where did you find the molds?

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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby suicidal_scaup » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:52 pm

I am an Industrial Technology teacher. I got this mold from (IASCO-Industrial Arts Supply Company). I also have a standard size puddler mold with the head built in. That mold is over 30 years old and I got it from my dad, also a former Ind Arts teacher. I have been looking a lot on the workingdecoys site as well and there are options to get molds from people on there as well.

I am also researching making my own silicone molds for heads and use urethane foam to make each head, but those would be a little more expensive to make. I also plan to attach a keel made from composite decking material...it's heavy and won't rot in the water.

If anyone is up in this area and interested in seeing or helping with the process, feel free to contact me...I hope to make at least 3-4 dozen more before the duck season...
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby goldfish » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:07 pm

Of I go visit my friends dad up there I'll let ya know when I'll be thru. My layout is still at his place

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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby beretta24 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:15 pm

Keep the updates coming. I've considered this myself. How's the weight on them?
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby mauserfan » Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:41 am

This is a great pattern to follow. I have one question: Would there be a way to extend the bottom keel depth wise in order to hold the decoy while wrapping it? That was the only gripe with these is that they were hard to hold, especially late when they would ice. They would ride waves great, even after icing up. I would like your opinion. Thanks a lot for your time. Mauser
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby suicidal_scaup » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:03 am

I still need to weigh them... They are definitely heavier than plastic decoys. Herter's inset a weight in the bottom of the decoy which made them self-right. Mine are lighter as of now because of the lack of that weight. Once I add the decking for the keel they will definitely be heavier.

I totally agree that wrapping the Herter's was a COMPLETE pain. The decking I have for the keels is 6" wide. I think I'm going to rip them in half on the tablesaw. This will give me just under 3" to wrap while grabbing onto the keel. I'll also put notches in the end so the anchor line stays on. No matter how hard I tried, I could never get line to stay around the bodies on Herter's blocks.

My wife has convinced me to go to WeFest today so no work will get done today. I have a hunting and fishing buddy coming up this weekend so we may try to brainstorm some ideas. Hope to have new some pics up early next week.
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby mauserfan » Fri Aug 02, 2013 11:45 am

How deep would the keel be if you go with the 3" width? My thought would be to wrap over the body in a figure 8 while holding by the keel. Are you thinking a different thought? If you are going to sell some of these I would definitely be interested in some Bills. Thanks again. :thumbsup:
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby suicidal_scaup » Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:12 pm

When I say the board would be 3" wide, I would put that as the depth of the keel...it may be too much. 1 1/2 or 2" might be all I would need to do...which would be nice as I could then get three keels per decking board. The thickness of the keel would be 3/4" as that is how thick the decking material is. Does this make sense?

Also, I was thinking about "restle coating" the decoys. This process is very similar to flocking decoys. It would make them more realistic, but more fragile much like other flocked decoys.

Since I am a diver hunter and you show a little interest in bills, that is what I will try to paint these like. It will most likely be the easiest as well for that shape decoy. The bill will end up longer than it should be but should still turn out ok...
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby Mort » Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:22 am

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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby hillbilly.. » Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:37 pm

I pmd you ..my parent inlaws have a cabin just outside of perham. and im def wanting to see more about this or maybe helpin you do some deks. im sittin on 2 drakes and 2 hens 72s that are in close to perfect shape. with heads. what kinda paint you goin to use on them. im sittin on a buncha bodys but no heads. .
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby suicidal_scaup » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:17 pm

Well, I am realizing ere are only so many hours in a day. Finding time is tough! I am trying to find the right airbrush to paint. Anyone have any experience? I don't want to spend a ton of money but would be willing to spend $75-$100 if it works well.

Hopefully will get some painted by next weekend and can start adding details when I get the airbrush.
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby hillbilly.. » Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:39 pm

what paints you plain on usin that won come off an wont have a sheen? pastel air brushs from hobbylobby are decent.
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby hillbilly.. » Sun Aug 11, 2013 2:57 pm

Is tjere any way to put the wheight in the body like the herters?
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby hillbilly.. » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:55 pm

heres a head on one of my bodies and then an original body and head

Image

then a closer look at the heads

Image
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby iFAIL » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:01 pm

Those looks awesome hillbilly. Is the body also foam?
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby hillbilly.. » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:51 pm

Yes both bodies are foam orignal herters the 3 heads and the one on the left decoy are the ones susidle scaup is making
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby suicidal_scaup » Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:57 pm

Well, some of you are maybe looking for an update to my blocks, and some of you could care less. Either way, here is a pic of my painting in progress. I still need to add the feather detail on the bodies. Also have put an iridescent purple on the head and need to top it with a touch of green and a dusting of black to soften the color and then add the yellow eye. Also need to put the keels on still.

I am thinking of restle coating the heads (similar to flocking) so it covers up some of the pits that have been created in the head.

I want to be critical on the blocks. I like things to look real nice, so if you notice other things that should be done, let me know. I feel like there should be something more done to the bill where it connects to the main part of the head, but can't figure out what needs to be done.

Also, please tell me if the photo is upside down again...I held the iPad different this time...thanks.
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby OGblackcloud » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:16 am

suicidal_scaup wrote:Well, some of you are maybe looking for an update to my blocks, and some of you could care less. Either way, here is a pic of my painting in progress. I still need to add the feather detail on the bodies. Also have put an iridescent purple on the head and need to top it with a touch of green and a dusting of black to soften the color and then add the yellow eye. Also need to put the keels on still.

I am thinking of restle coating the heads (similar to flocking) so it covers up some of the pits that have been created in the head.

I want to be critical on the blocks. I like things to look real nice, so if you notice other things that should be done, let me know. I feel like there should be something more done to the bill where it connects to the main part of the head, but can't figure out what needs to be done.

Also, please tell me if the photo is upside down again...I held the iPad different this time...thanks.

They are right side up and look pretty good also
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby beretta24 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:23 am

suicidal_scaup wrote:Well, some of you are maybe looking for an update to my blocks, and some of you could care less. Either way, here is a pic of my painting in progress. I still need to add the feather detail on the bodies. Also have put an iridescent purple on the head and need to top it with a touch of green and a dusting of black to soften the color and then add the yellow eye. Also need to put the keels on still.

I am thinking of restle coating the heads (similar to flocking) so it covers up some of the pits that have been created in the head.

I want to be critical on the blocks. I like things to look real nice, so if you notice other things that should be done, let me know. I feel like there should be something more done to the bill where it connects to the main part of the head, but can't figure out what needs to be done.

Also, please tell me if the photo is upside down again...I held the iPad different this time...thanks.

Looks like they're coming along well. Some would have the backs lighter but I think you're coloration is more realistic. Excellent work.

Only comment, it could just be the light but the heads look a touch shiny.

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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby suicidal_scaup » Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:19 am

I agree about the head. Once I add the green iridescent and dust with black, it SHOULD take the shine away...I hope. Thanks for the feedback.

I want to paint today, but its too damn hot to be out in the garage. Maybe tonight.
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Re: Handmade Foam Decoy Opinion Wanted

Postby doubletheshovel » Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:13 pm

suicidal_scuap I could care less how your progress is going I just know come late season I will probably shoot one of those decoys so I hope the paint is durable J/K about the caring less about the progress not about shooting one of them. They look great and can't wait to see them all finished up.
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