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jeff042479

Decoy Carving

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Since we have quite a few talented carvers here, I thought I would ask for a little advice.

I am carving my first decoy right now using an article from the MI Darkhouse association as a guide. I'm carving a 7.5" sunfish. I wanted to add some detail so I carved the gills and lips. I think it is enough detail for a first decoy. I have the lead cavity drilled in the bottom and the slots cut for the fins. I need to seal it glue the fins in and add some lead. and then swim test it. Overall I have enjoyed the process so far.

Now for the questions: How do you carve scales? is there a woodburning tip for doing this?

Also, I bought an airbrush and would like to paint it using fairly natural colors. Do you guys just buy primary and secondary colors and mix to get the color you want? What kind of paint should I buy.

Finally, I notice some scales are painted on, is there patterns or tricks for this or is it all freehand?

Thanks in advance!

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Hi there is woodburning tip you can buy from wood carving catalogs.It's still alot of work one scale a time.You can paint the scales on too.There is a netting you put on the sides then paint over the netting then pull the netting off.

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I use apple barrel paint that I get at wal-mart, it's in the craft section. There is better paint out there but I like this because it is cheap and there are all kinds of colors to choose from. You have to water it down to spray through the airbrush.

I use netting to get the scale effect on my decoys. I get that at wal-mart too, it's just wedding vail material. When using the netting make sure it is tight to the decoy, that can be tricky. It is better to spray a few light coats over the netting rather than one heavy coat. Otherwise it bleeds through and you don't get the fine lines. Been there, done that.

I hope that made sense. Just take your time and have fun.

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Thanks for all of the info. I just made a trip to Michaels craft store. bought a cheap (and I don't mean inexpensive) set of carving knives becuse it had some half moon shaped knives. I thought they might come in handy. I also bought some paint. I saw the Apple barrel but bought Craft Smart because it was a buck cheaper. I figure I am in experimentation phase right now. The first decoy isn't exactly "art" but I am excited anyhow. I'll try to post pictures when it's done. Maybe even a swim video if it is worthy. Thanks for the tips about painting the scales and burning the scales. I was really stuck on that. I'm sure I'll be asking more soon.

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Didn't take long to get to the next question did it? I'm going to use Sham's avitar as an example. When painting somethign like that, do you start by painting the whole thing white, then move up the decoy? I would imagine painting darker coats as you move up the decoy until you get the the darkest layer on the back. Then come back and paint the light spots on the side. Is this about right?

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Here's what I have. Sunfish Decoy . This represents about 2 or 3 hours of work. I stared with a scrap piece of 1x4 that I had. Now I wish I would have used cedar instead of pine. This one may just have to sit on my desk at work as a "conversation piece".

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Thanks guys. I'll post an update when I get a little further. I have already learned a lot with this decoy. There is quite a bit that I would do different next time.

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Didn't take long to get to the next question did it? I'm going to use Sham's avitar as an example. When painting somethign like that, do you start by painting the whole thing white, then move up the decoy? I would imagine painting darker coats as you move up the decoy until you get the the darkest layer on the back. Then come back and paint the light spots on the side. Is this about right?

Check out the iwata HSOforum, go to resources, then how-to-article, then the fishing lures. It will be very helpful.

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Fantastic link Shamalex! Thanks. I have the decoy sealed. I'm going to weight it tomorrow or Thursday. I'd like to take it to a lake this weekend and test swim it before I paint it.

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Ok, I couldn't wait to paint it. I did test swim it in the Laundry tub. It has a nice slow fall I think. I can't do much about the radius of the turn since it's a carved tail, so Here are the finished pictures. I wish I would have brought the dark color on the back a little further down the sides, but I guess you take what you get with a $6 airbrush. I found it hard to adjust it fine enough. If I get into this, I might have to buy a better brush. I didn't do any scales since I thought I would keep it simple for the first one.

http://s280.photobucket.com/albums/kk198/pitz0022/?action=view&current=DSC01043.jpg

http://s280.photobucket.com/albums/kk198/pitz0022/?action=view&current=DSC01044.jpg

http://s280.photobucket.com/albums/kk198/pitz0022/?action=view&current=DSC01045.jpg

http://s280.photobucket.com/albums/kk198/pitz0022/?action=view&current=DSC01046.jpg

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Here is #2. It's going to be a Xmas gift if it turns out. This one was a little more difficult to carve since I haven't seen all that many whitefish. I also think it's going to be a little more difficult to balance since it is bigger, but I guess you never know until you try.

http://i280.photobucket.com/albums/kk198/pitz0022/DSC01049.jpg

http://i280.photobucket.com/albums/kk198/pitz0022/DSC01050.jpg

http://i280.photobucket.com/albums/kk198/pitz0022/DSC01051.jpg

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Here's a video of the sunfish swimming. Thought some might be interested in seeing it.

http://s280.photobucket.com/albums/kk198/pitz0022/?action=view&current=20081213114105.flv

I should have edited out the last half of the video as there is a lot of wasted time staring at a decoy that isn't swimming.

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That swims nice. The few sunnies I made don't swim that good, they rock up and down when they glide. I only have the two front fins, the next ones will have back fins, that should help.

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