Here are a few heads I did over the weekend....when I wasn't building the sticky!!! Basswood, sealed with spar, then applied medium texture paste mixed with gesso....then the acrylics.......the hen's bill is not reddish (that was the camera).....it is a pumpkin orange washed with raw umber (really!)......the bodies are curing....will update when completed....constructive comments are welcome....I always appreciate help and suggestions
Just started the foamer project today. got the bodies glued up as we speak. I am a little nervous about the heads. I have read several of the posts, was wondering about making a mold of some kind? Another question is do you only recomend basswood. if so why is that? just curious. I hate the idea of buying some heads after i built everything else. but i can't see myself carving very realistic heads out of a bunch of blocks of basswood. But who knows, maybe i am more artistic than i think. Could use a little more advice on the heads.
There are quite a few good sources for commercial heads.
Herter's heads are grerat for te economy, and a good way to 'practice' without feling like you've dropped a huge chenk of change......I used to get the unpainted ones....and prep is very important because they are plastic.....cost is about $1.67.
Toledo Decoys and Mighty Layout Boys are good examples of 2-part urathane foam molded heads....each are solid, they do not use balloons......they are very durable and I would have to guesss that they are using at least 8 pound foam. These are heads that have been molded from carvings. I have been looking into the molding of heads, and may do this some day, but there is alot of expense involved and if you mess it up, you really don't have a second chance - just start over. Either of these company's heads are excellent.
EAllen Decoy heads are also 2 part foam.....they are excellent for realism and variety in poses...they are a bit more expensive...they are very 'hard' on the outside.....they use a different process in molding the foam I guess. In additiopn Lou has alot of different species not available elsewhere....for example, try to find a good woodduck head. They are approx $5 per head ususally before adding in the shipping.
I like Autumn Wings for heads for my puddlers....they are basswood which is a lightweight head, basswood is not a hard wood and is easy to work with too......They provide four basic poses and I work around what they have to add a few more....pretty much with the bandsaw changing neck angles, heights etc. Eyes are glass which is a step up in my opinion from the foam heads. I like the details and the lines/cuts etc seem to stand out more to me on the wooden heads than on the molded heads. I can also have a little more 'adjustment' on my own as I see fit. Cost is about $5 per head after shipping.
I have only mentioned these sources because I have used them and they are all terrific people to work with. I have called and/or corresponded with each owner numerous times and they are true waterfowlers just like us, that have gone an extra step or two... I encourage you to check their sites.
If you want to start on your own, I would suggest white pine.....cheap, easy to work with and if you like your results, you can seal it and paint it just like any other wood. Then consider moving to basswood, or tupelo or cedar or other choice woods.
ACE....if you know something about building molds - for either 2 part of EPS beads....please let me know so we can discuss. I guess my only fear of buying a mold would be that the pose would be the only one I'd have. If you are really interested in using a mold and buying one I have a few sources for you....just let me know.
I don't know much about molds, but i did stay in a Holiday Inn Express Last night. :laughing:
Just teasin, When i was in Junior High , about 15 yrs ago, We made some simple molds out of plaster. We built a simple box to hold our subject piece, ( the box would unscrew for easy removal) The mold had two sides. I don't know if this would work, for deke heads. We were melting lead and pouring it into our mold through a pour hole. Then we had to polish up the piece, mine was a light bulb. I wasn't very creative.
I was thinking of carving some heads out of foam. Then making a mold using the above technic. Instead of foam i was thinking about using a product that i use in construction sometimes. It is called Rock Hard Putty, or water putty. It is a pouder that you mix 3 to 1 w/ water. This putty is very hard, and does not shrink. It can be mixed a little thin so that it could fill the mold nicely, It sets up in about an hour. It is not fully hard for about 24 hrs. but you might be able to take it out of the mold after two hours and it will still be a little "green" not cured, and could carve a little individual detail into it. My only concern is how strong the bill part of the head will be, but i believe that is the concern with any decoy head other than plastic. I might be able to drill a hole in the bill after the process is over and insert a heavy wire into it, i believe that has been mentioned in the past.
If i try it i will let you know, If you have suggestions let me know. With my mold idea, I believe that the product will be fairly ruff when removed from the mold, taking a little work to get it smoothed up.
Ace.....check with Dogman regarding the foam heads....I have not done this technique and he is working on it.....the technique is to laminate a wood core into the foam sides I think....I have read about doing this on another decoy forum, but was not too keen on it since I want real durability and I presume that having the foam on the outside would only add to denting problems even though the wood core would add overall strength......maybe if there was a good way to protect the foam sides and bill it could be effective....I have not seen the results of such laminating so not fair to pass unknown judgements
the other thing is the difficulty in getting details with foam.....it is not easy to do ....maybe with an ultra sharp fillet knife? I feel that the one place you will want 'lines' is on the head, especially around the bill.....(I know this is somewhat contradicatory to my statements in the past about details on a deke being more for the hunter than the hunted!).....also, I am sure it will be difficult to set a glass eye correctly
Just got my artificial Eider heads to mount up some of those Birds I shot from my Boston hunt. Seeing that Eider head makes me want to get those birds mounted ASAP. Looks like Wednesday is the day! I don't know if people know how fortunate you are to hunt those sea ducks, but I do. That will go down as the best duck hunt I've ever been on. I can't wait until January to go out there and do it again. Very nice looking heads. I want to hunt those Eiders out of a belly boat. Sound crazy? I just have to believe that if I was attached to the decoy string I'd get some awesome shooting on the Eiders, Scoters and Old Squaws. Do you hunt sea ducks often? I wondered because I heard there not great to eat. We had duck sausage made from ours.
alright, spent the yesterday cutting out blanks out of my sheet of foam for some mallards. I decided to go for more of a magnum size. I used 2 pieces of 2" with a slightly narrower piece of 1" on top for some more wing detail. Spent today off and on shaping the bodies. Went a lot better than i expected. I have nine bodies and i don't think that any two are alike, but i don't really think that is a big deal. If anything i think it will make the spread look very natural, hopefully.
The first thing i did this morning before shaping the bodies was to shape a couple of heads out of the foam. I wanted some heads to see how they would look with the bodies. The foam is very hard to get detail into, like dukhtr mentioned, but they were easy to shape for what i needed.
I spent the last hour trying to post some pics on hunt101, but i failed. I am not the sharpest at the photo biz. I will get my brother in law over to help with that, so that you can critique me.
I believe this week i will try to make a two piece mold and pour a couple of different head shapes. I think i will try using the rock hard putty that i mentioned earlier. The putty can be carved and sanded after it cures, I just don't know what the weight of it will be. Also on the keels, how much lead do you use.
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