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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this is an old topic, but it seems to be popular. I just made 3 foam decoys with plastic Herter's heads. I used Zinsser primer. I put on 2 coats in one night. 2 nights later I painted the decoys with Liquitex and Windsor Acrylics. A week later, I sprayed 3 coats each of Krylon Matte finish. One more week later, I brought the 3 decoys out hunting..2 dogris (scaup) and one pintail. I used no weight on the 2 dogris keels; and, on the pintail, I used a full lead strap weight inside the decoy above the wooden keel. After being in and out of the boat, some of the paint on the decoy heads wore off leaving the white primer showing. Plus all 3 decoys bobbed up and down like a fishing cork. I'm sure i'm doing something wrong. SO, what can I do about keeping the paint on better and how much weight do standard sized decoys need on the keel? I bought 30 Herters heads last year and plan to use them up before trying wooden heads. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am a duck guide in LA, and my customers have already sunk 10 GHG decoys since November with half the season to go. I absolutely must go to foam decoys for next season. 23 seasons and hundreds of dead decoys.
 

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Not a Zinser fan, prefer Kilz2. Wash heads -> a for plastic spray-on primer for head-> have at it, brush prime everything and paint. Those hard plastic Herter heads can have trouble holding water-based paints/primers at times. Foam heads aren't a bad option, relatively easy and much lighter than wood from a balancing aspect on the overall decoy
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK, i'll try to clean off and sand the heads better next time. But the white primer did not come off, only the paint. sounds like i'll need to try the Krylon primer on the Herters heads. I may try some foam heads with the sculpting clay on the bills. Is that what most people are using? I wonder how they hold up to hunting. Thanks a lot.
 

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Used a basswood sandwich for the bills and apoxy sculpt to blend into the foam/burlap for my first year, minimal detail, attempts at the process. Worked very well, did have concerns on the heads durability but used a urathane spar varnish over the entire decoy (with plenty of drying time prior to applying it) and was very impressed with the toughness. Played, crudely, with shapes and positions, head postures are potentially endless. Numerous sketches done for next year but probably won't be able to start until late winter which is driving me nuts
 

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I do not not prime the Hearters heads. I lightly sand the heads, paint with acrylics and coat with Krylon 1311 matt.

On the burlaped bodies I brush prime with kilz, then paint with acrylics. I do not coat the bodies with the Krylon matt it seams to yellow over the white body parts.

I usually get about 2 years out of them before they need a touch up.

As for weight and keels, I use a keel made of Trex decking board. The Trex is heavy and will not rot. You can adjust the size of the keel to give you the right weight. I use pretty big keels so they are heavy.

Mine ride as good as my Hearters decoys.

I think you just need to make some small adjustments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What about the weight on the decoy/keel. How much does it take to eliminate the unnatural bobbing. A lead strap anchor does'nt seem to be enough. I think it is 4 oz. I guess i can figure it out by trial and error.
 

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My bro(benny8) takes and runs a open flame over the herters heads to burn off any mold release agent, then primes with Kilz2. We used his decoys all year and still look like the day they were painted. Hunted every single day of our 60 day season. He experimented with keels, first used a piece of oak with cpvc like a waterkeel. Held on the cpvc with gorilla glue, worked real good until it got bitterly cold, then the cpvc would break off at the glue joints. Finally decided on the TREX deck boards. Good density, won't rot, self rites when tossed out. Good Luck
 

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When I've painted herters heads I've always first done a wipedown with acetone, 2nd sprays with a adhesion promoter "bulldog", then prime coat then spray with rattle can never had first problem with paint coming off.
 
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