Foamer Process - 101

Share tips and ask questions on all types of duck decoys. Including working, classics, collectable, and carving decoys.

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Postby duck killer 529 » Sun Jan 28, 2007 7:13 am

how much per a decoy because I would like to start making my own decoys :hammering:
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Re: Do I need a keel

Postby Duck Nazi » Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:14 am

rracioppi wrote:I have 2 dozen herters foam decoys real old. I want to burlap them but was wondering why I would need to put a keel on them since they do not have one?


Herters usually already have a built in keel weight that is in the foam on the bottom of the decoy where the bump in the middle is. It will be a 1/4" thick piece of steel and sometimes the foam gets molded around it and you can't tell it is there. It is possible that if your foam decoys are really old that they won't have the built in weighted keel. In that case the decoy will be flat on the bottom. If you don't ever hunt rough water you can get away without having a keel.
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Postby WI swamp_runner » Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:22 pm

thanks for the how to. I just wish I had found this site and thread when winter was at its worst. Lord knows a cool project like that could have done me wonders.


How well does the paint hold up? And better yet how do they ride?!
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Postby fowl_wishes » Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:10 pm

what paint is used?

is it brushed on or does it have to be put on with an air brush?
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Postby woodduckhunter » Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:50 pm

I think he just used acrylic. Keyword there is THINK.
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Postby easternshorehunter » Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:56 pm

You can use whatever kind of paint you want to. I started out with spray paint and exterior latex, then moved on to oils. Just make sure that whatever you use is flat and you will be good to go...
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Postby woodduckhunter » Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:43 pm

Is all paint pretty much waterproof? Kinda a dumb question I know. Pretty sure it is, just want to make sure.
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Postby easternshorehunter » Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:04 pm

The majority are, and if they arent they can be sealed in most instances. When buying paint though, I would look for exterior paints and make it easy on your self. Also, I would cover the mastic completly with the paint, bottom and all. I have heard that the mastic can become soft if left in water for extended periods of time. I take the extra step just to be on the safe side.
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Postby addicted2duck » Wed Jun 06, 2007 3:44 pm

do you burlap over the keel? And has anyone tryed the SUK idea, were you hollow out the bottom?
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Postby Fooshman » Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:57 pm

I'm gunna have to try this.
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Postby japrxfan » Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:45 pm

Image
this is my progress so far. i have 3/4 cast iron pipe for the keel and have to start burlaping. i got can heads from cabelas. i'm going to make them into surf scoters or eiders. i'll post more pics when i'm done. nine so far and hundreds to go.
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Foamer question

Postby MassDecoyCarver » Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:34 am

Great article and advice,...I am going to try and make some super-magnum eider using this process.

Have you tried using the white styrofoam instead of the pink ?

I ask because the white is only $10 per 2'x8' sheet while the pink is almost $15, and the white foam is much lighter.

I wonder though if the white is as workable with rasps and sureform planes,...and will the mastic adhere properly to it ???

Your experience and advice are valued !!

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Postby Duck_Docter » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:25 pm

how much would you say the average homemade burlapped decoy should weigh?

cuz i started one and i think that its wayyy to heavy.

thanks
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Postby japrxfan » Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:29 pm

here's the final product. herter's canvasback heads and 3/4 " cast iron piping for the keel. my first burlap decoy. only cost me like $150
Image
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eider

Postby MassDecoyCarver » Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:39 pm

That drake looks very nice !! Great job.

I was talking to a fellow at the NE Sportsmans Show here in Worcester a few weeks ago and he suggested using carpet cement instead of tile mastic, after I said that I was unsure of the water repelancy of the mastic. Well I tried it and I wouldn't suggest that anyone else try it. The stuff went on easily enough but I woud not dry! After 2 weeks waiting for it to dry (I only applied it to the bottom layer of burlap, not the top) I finally finished the rest of the body using the mastic and also skim coated over the carpet cement so I'd have a dry/piantable surface.

He also suggested using the Herter Canvasback heads for Eider as you have done, and I think it looks just fine. Agian good job!

I will post a few pictures of my eiders in a few days,...stay tuned...

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Postby slayer73 » Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:11 pm

From a guy that knows nothing....lol What is the reason to use a foam dek over a plastic one? I like what you guys have done and they look great but I was wondering. I can see that hunting over something that you have made yourself would be awesome but is that the only reason? Do they act more like real ducks on the water?

Thanks guys....just wondering.
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Eider Foamers

Postby MassDecoyCarver » Sun Feb 24, 2008 11:33 am

Hi Ryan,

Good question,...from my personal experience there is something special about hunting over decoys that you have made. There are other important reasons also, such as the cost,...the foamers can be made for under $10 apiece, and the ones I will make are super magnums, almost twice lifesize and these cannot be found anywhere (as near as I can tell). You can also add lots of personal touches to your own dekes,..my heads will be removable and they also swivel.

So the cost savings alone make this a hobby worth pursuing. I really enjoy it whether the decoys are wood, foam, or whatever else I can think of. Thank goodness for the sticky posted in this forum, as I has opened my eyes to a lightweight and inexpensive way to make decoys.

After I get the eiders done I might try making some oversize brandt.

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Postby flightcancelled » Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:46 am

I have talked to several people and some have said to use tile mastic while others have said to use fiberglass resin. I would like to stay away from the resin b/c it is so expensive and such a pain to work with but if it is strong it may be worth the hassle. Any suggestions?
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Foamers

Postby MassDecoyCarver » Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:05 am

I don't know about using fiberglass..as you say it is expensive, it has to be used someplace with good ventilation,...it is very messy,..and it's heavy.

And as I said, I won't know if using the tile mastic is a great idea until I've had a chance to use these new decoys,...and that won't be until the Fall,...so for now I think that I'll just keep making them and hope that they workout.

I can say that the mastic and burlap is VERY easy to work with, and you can genarally sand and recoat, or paint after 24 hours of drying. I'll work on them in the evening, then let them dry overnight and get back at them the following evening after dinner.

I hope that this helps.

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Postby DUKHTR » Sun Mar 02, 2008 2:26 pm

I'll try to hit on a few of the recent questions.........

> as noted, making decoys is fun and self-appreciated more than anything else.........using foam and burlapping is an inexpensive way to make alot of decoys, and decoys that are sized as desired.....if you make a mistake you are not tossing out a block of cork costing $30! Foam is an easy medium to work with and allows for alot of custom shaping, especially for a novice carver. Even though I started with cork, I became a better shaper with foam.

> foam is very bouyant and is not necessary to 'balance' as with wood......the decoys are impervious to real damage from shot and keep on floating......they ride the water realistically (almost as good as cork)

> mastic will hold up for years of use......but you need to realistic in handling.....plastics can bounce around, bang off the gunnels or hull, be piled into decoy bags etc........I certainly do not do such with a burlap, rather slot bags rule in my boat.......they need a little TLC

> masic is not 'waterproof', but I have used my dekes for several seasons and have not seen anything more in wear-n-tear than I expected.....mars and scuffs....no breakdown of the mastic in any way

> you will probably want to repaint after a few seasons depending upon level of use and abuse, but the process is easy and imo, fun.

Look, you will not save alot of money making your own decoys.......you have to want to make your own and you have to enjoy the experience otherwise I am all for buying plastics. Plastics have a place in all of our sheds. We all need a few for those walk-in hunts where weight is an issue and where space may be an issue. We finally have alot of decent decoys available to us and the cost seems to be lower than ever when you consider the quality in today's plastics. There are different poses available (ie, today there are headless feeders and sippers and I have been making each for decades, etc).

For me, waterfowling is not seasonal, it is every day. One way or another I am thinking about, planning ahead, scouting, shaping decoys, designing and making a boat or something waterfowl oriented every day. I am working on a couple of canvasbacks carved from surag pine.....and have a magnum old squaw roughed out yesterday in cedar.......even though I have eight zillion other things to do!
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Postby doc/belle » Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:35 pm

I have just resently stumbled upon your directions for making these dekes and currently made only three decoys but are ready for the painting process. I was just wondering what type of paint you may suggest for painting them???? The idea you have came up with is great and I have been having an absolute blast making my own decoys thanks to your posting. I am planning on making a large majority of my dekes mallards so if that helps any with what you think on paint selection it would be much appreciated for your helpful tips.
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Postby shorehunter » Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:46 pm

I love this freakin site. Thanks fellas, my father and i were talking about makin dekes out of foam this afternoon. :thumbsup:
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Postby skyehunter » Tue Jul 08, 2008 8:59 pm

I noticed that this post has not been active for some time.... none the less, I have wanted to make my own hand carved deeks for some time now, yet considered making them out of wood. After reading and seeing your work I was convinced to try a foamer, then the wife sent the little man, "Hunter" and I to the garage for a time out (LOL).... this was what we have made so far. I think IImageImage might slaughter a few more ducks this year over my boys deek, we will see. Thanks for all the info gents.
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linen um up

Postby japrxfan » Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:32 pm

Image
Image

i've started cranking for the up coming season
why is it every time i go into the woods i feel the need to cut down a tree?
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Postby HENDU3270 » Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:25 am

Hey DUKHTR, I think I'm gonna give this a shot as well. The foam you're using is used for Insulating walls in homes, is that correct?

Only found 3/4" foam at my Lowes. Just have to glue 5 pieces together. :no:
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