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making cork decoys

Discussion in 'Decoy Forum' started by Sleddman, May 8, 2019.

  1. Sleddman

    Sleddman Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    111
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    Feb 21, 2019
    Location:
    South West Missouri
    I am new to making cork decoys. made a dozen of them 30 years ago and am sure they have fallen apart by now. so i have some old dark brown cork left . yes it is 30 years old, lol. questions, #1, should i plate the bottoms with solid wood or a plywood, or none at all. #2, what should i seal the cork with, and filler for the cork holes. #3, what should i use to texture the bird with before painting. all simple things i could use the old trial and error technique but would be a great help from you all to do it right. thanks
     
  2. creedsduckman

    creedsduckman Elite Refuge Member

    Messages:
    2,888
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    Virginia
    All I've ever used is dark cork. I put bottom boards on mine. Just pine shelving from Home Depot. I use the traditions sealer. I'll take cork dust and sealer to make a paste and smear all over the body to fill the voids then seal the bird. Paint with traditions acrylics. I've never done any texturing but would assume gesso would work. Right or wrong that's what I do. If I carved enough to make it worthwhile I'd learn to use oils.
     
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  3. Neighbor Guy

    Neighbor Guy Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    189
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2019
    Location:
    Central MN
    I have never carved with dark cork, only fine grain tan cork. I do not use a bottom board on mine. I seal with slow cure epoxy on the bottom and up the sides past the water line, think side pockets height. I have done the entire bird with the sealer, but that’s overkill. I forget the brand, but it’s what you would use for a bar top or table.

    After that, I prime with two coats of kilz, sanding between coats. That seams to do a good job of filling most of the voids in the cork but still leaving the textured look of cork. Then paint as I would a wooden bird. For vermiculations I use Liquitex modeling paste gel, tinted dark grey with either black or raw umber paint.

    The guy who I learned to carve birds from uses a paste of cork dust and glue, either titebond 2/3, to fill the voids in dark cork. I have several in my collection that are carved in dark cork and the voids were left open. It’s a much more vintage look if you like that.
     
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  4. Sleddman

    Sleddman Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    111
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2019
    Location:
    South West Missouri
    thanks guys, thats a good start. time to make some dust. get the mask out. no power tools just files.
     
  5. Sleddman

    Sleddman Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    111
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2019
    Location:
    South West Missouri
    well it may not be the best way but here is where i am. cut it out, glued a cedar board on the bottom. dowelled the head in and one up into the tail. shaped it and filled with a glue and cork / sawdust mix. dusted the bird to get some texture. we shal see what it is when it dries, lol
    20190510_171832.jpg
     
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  6. sacbob

    sacbob Elite Refuge Member

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    Apr 11, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento CA
    Like to see it when you're finished.
     
  7. MLBob

    MLBob Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2002
    Location:
    W. Chester,OH
    Pay attention - a small piece of decoy history. :tu This is from a letter from the late, great, Joe Wooster, dating back to 1978 when I was doing a 26-decoy (all blackducks ), black cork, oversize rig. Hunted them for a good 10 seasons before selling off all the birds left to a collector in Michigan (As I recall, the proceeds went toward financing a sculling boat). I don't mess with the stuff any longer, but they certainly can be made to last. Way back then, I followed Joe's instructions to the "T" ( Used old cedar beams to make my "round block" cutouts supporting the heads & tails. I did cut my slots for the tail boards when the block was still square). At the time, I sealed mine with a slurry of cork dust & Val -Oil.... believe me, you'll have plenty of cork dust to use !! ( However, my storeroom is the only place one can still find Val-Oil, as I bought up all the case lots I could find when Valspar quit making it 10 years ago ;) ). As Joe was fond of saying: "Two coats of Val-Oil will seal a cotton ball." Don't know what they're using to bond the black cork nowdays, but the stuff I had back then was made with waterproof glue.
    Black cork decoys (594 x 600).jpg
    Even found a picture of some of those decoys in use:
    BlacksmouthofLick (600 x 404).jpg

    MLBob
     
  8. rhpierce

    rhpierce Elite Refuge Member

    Messages:
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    Mar 6, 2003
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Classic Wooster letter! Bob, you need to have them put into a book of some sort...

    Last one to get a limit is a...
     
  9. Sleddman

    Sleddman Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    111
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2019
    Location:
    South West Missouri
    thanks bob, learned a lot from that. thank you. i have a slab of dark cork left. i will be using your instruction on the rest. i have already made 6 black duck heads. thanks
     
  10. MLBob

    MLBob Senior Refuge Member

    Messages:
    252
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2002
    Location:
    W. Chester,OH
    ......"pisswillie" :):):)

    AWDGB2.jpg
    There will never be another that comes close to Joe :amen And Jeanne was a saint for putting up with all of us and our dogs every fall.

    Bob
     
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