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!