February, 2010 - Diver
Decoy Flocking Experiment
Three different “glues” are to be tested……Rustoleum flat black, Donjer
flocking paint/glue and Aero flocking paint/glue. Aero is water based
(easier cleanup & no fumes). I bought flocking from Aero & Donjer….both are
I have a dozen GHG OS Coots, 6 GHG OS
Goldeneyes, 6 GHG OS Canvasbacks,
6 GHG OS Redheads and 12 OS Cabela’s Real Image Bluebills. I will end up
doing the black on all of these decoys and maybe the heads of the “Reds &
have about ten months.
edit: Six old G&H Super Magnum Canvasbacks were added later.
note: The quality and durability of flocked decoys is a function of the
To start with, a plastic lined
flocking box was constructed from which any flock not sticking can be
recovered. All the decoys are new out of the box. Each was given three coats
of Krylon clear acrylic
flat matte 1311.
Internet photos of coots reveal many different variations from all black to
dark grey to purplish section which blends into larger areas of black. The
first experiment will be conducted on five coots. These
five will be testing the three paints/glues and two sources of nylon
flocking. A grey flock will be used on only one to look at blending colors. I’m going to test for
the correct shade of grey using the bottom of an old decoy. Using black
“glue” under the grey flock is supposed to make it appear darker.
shade (of grey) is not acceptable, I will mix some black flock
with grey to darken it.
note: While flocking, I'm using a dust mask and glasses. The
free and far from the target. There is no need to flock
Step # 1 – make flocking box finished
Step # 2 - check for correct shade of grey using black Rustoleum on the
surface of used mallard decoy, mix black flock with grey (if
observations & data:
1) the mallard decoy (section of bottom ) with no preparation except
a section of the bottom was coated with Rustoleum (flat back)
2) this section was immediately flocked with Donjer charcoal grey nylon
3) two hours later the flocked section and an addition area were
more Rustoleum (should have knocked off the excess flocking as it
up in the fresh paint, this soon was displaced by using the paint
a smooth 2nd coat cover the original flocking and
produced a fresh area to
flock, this gives a two coat flocking contrasted with a single
4) 24 hours later the single & double flocking coats could not be
with a wooden dowel scraped across the surface several times,
a trace of any marks…..that’s zero
| left coot (1st) -
(Rustoleum & Donjer flocking)
black & grey
| right coot (2nd) - one coat
(Donjer glue & Donjer flocking)
Step #3 - double coat of Rustoleum with Donjer grey/black flock
single coat Donjer "glue" with Donjer black flock √
single coat Aero "glue" with Aero black flock
double coat Rustoleum with Aero black flock
double coat Rustoleum with Donjer black flock
plastic lined flocking box (reclaiming unused flock)
note: two tiered, pedestal stand
This is the improved model. Cut the card board box so that it is totally
flat. Cover the
inside portion of this single, flat section with plastic. Using
sided clear plastic tape,
attach the plastic. Tape the total length of the
to the box and reassembled. A few
of the "slots" in the lids have to
it is simple to reseal the edges inside after the
box is put back together.
top flap can be tilted back with tape to stay tilted. This
creates a large
The flock is kept inside the box and drops to the bottom. For
(Walmart), an auto dust pan/whisk broom "comb" makes for the ideal flock remover.
note: It best to do this in an area where the floor is easy to sweep.
Flocking sticks and looks better when applied
perpendicularly with the
(Mini-flocker). The PVC pedestals slip over nails and are
lengths. The decoy can be rotated and tilted to achieve the best angles.
tip from Donjer.......Place a 3" lip in front and vertically (on the
bottom edge). This
will prevent flock from being blown out by escaping air currents.
The above photo did not have that "lip" installed....yet. It makes a
observations & data
1) Rustoleum double coats are thicker, tougher and provide a
chance to cover first coat
blemishes….which seem difficult to totally avoid
2) The Donjer black flock was not as black as the Aero black
note: the black Donjer flock reclaimed from the
flocking box was placed back in
the 3 oz bag & the
reclaimed charcoal grey (Donjer) was placed back in the
bag of grey
note: later when the "pure" black Donjur coating was
applied, it was
not as black
as the Aero….therefore, I used a different bag of Donjer black flock to see if
small amount of grey
contamination might be the cause. It was.
The fresh bag of Donjer is blacker than the one that probably has a small
amount of charcoal grey in it
note: do all black first and “the rest” (grey, red,
etc.) later and in clean, freshly
relined flocking boxes
to avoid contamination
3) on the first decoy I used a sponge paint brush for larger areas
easy and flocking box worked great, but the sponge
brush doesn't carry as
much paint (more work)
note: allowed to dry for 24 hrs and completed
the other side
note: decided waiting that long for second
coat is unnecessary
4) did not mask anything off, eyes are more difficult, needed finer
note: will mask off white bill…..too often a
splash of black paint
note: with the lid off the paint......it becomes thicker.....this is good
5) doing the whole coot with the very thick Donjer or Aero glue takes
too much time,
in some areas doesn’t gather as much flock because it becomes skimmed
(not apparent) and less “tacky”.......plus I felt rushed
6) Rustoleum is thinner and easier to keep “wet” & the second coat
really finishes off
the total flock coating look nicely
7) by the fourth decoy, the amount of time to coat has decreased
(skills improving) &
the ease of applying Rustoleum (over the other two) makes it a winner (so
to that the second coat only takes about 30 minutes max and
covers first coat
blemishes (which I have not been able to avoid on any decoy yet), the “hand
may be the weak link (air assisted better?)
8) from what I can gather all three paints/glues are alkyds, two are
oil based and one
is water based (emulsion)……when dry they are essentially
the same “stuff”.
However, I think the water based emulsion may need a much longer curing
All the water needs to migrate out of the mixture…..oil based
quicker. The thicker glues are designed to “grab” more flocking
and Aero black paint/glues "look" and feel identical
when applying. The only
difference is the solvent odor of the Donjer.
However, the two coated Rustoleum
seems to compensate for many
issues…..easier painting with a "wetter" coating,
when finished (two coats), the
decoy has more total flock over a harder, similar
undercoat with zero
blemishes and no gaps.
black flocked coots look fine for a hunting rig (easier, too)
This initial conclusion for choosing Rustoleum is supported by other experimenters.
Therefore, I will probably use the Rustoleum method with Donjer nylon flock
(company is closer), but the
final choice will depend on the durability testing of the
In two weeks, the five flocked coots (different methods and materials)
will be tested
in the elements for durability……freezing/thawing, rained on and jammed wet in a
6 slot decoy bag which will be bounced around (a
Finished the coots....double
coated Rustoleum & black flocking from Donjer.
After seeing the single coated Donjer and Aero glue flocked coots, it was
obvious the double coat Rustoleum was far better
looking. The decoys have
no blemishes and required no additional touchups.
The one coat method with
Rustoleum, Aero or Donjur "glue/paints" is not up
to my standards....too many
blemishes and impossible to get close to a
perfect coating (on the plastics).
The hand held "flock puffer" seems to be the
limiting factor. There was one
suggestion about using the air assisted flocking
device which is apparently
(and more expensive & need compressor).
Two pieces of information about the best method
caused me to rethink taking
time to test the durability. An experienced
decoy carver states his Rustoleum
double coat method is superior and sells
many decoys using this method.
That was good enough for me. Another double
coat Rustoleum user hunts
way more than I do every year and has
studied the various effects of weather
and wear & tear during actual use. That was
strike two for me. And lastly, my
own work on comparing the three application
techniques has the Rustoleum
(double coat method) producing a much
better looking flocked decoy.
Note: this is using the "hand puffer"....Donjer Mini-Flocker.
Rustoleum double flocked coot
Finished double Rustoleum coats of black flocking the back of eight drake
bluebills......heads and breast areas are next. The four bluebill hens will
the same areas covered with brown flocking.
Had some issues making the first coat of Rustoleum stick when the flocking
was applied. The air seemed to push the flock aside as it absorbed the
This left a few small areas not covered (no paint or flock). Touching up
areas worked, but it was a time consuming "cobble job". The second set of
four drake bluebills were first given a primer coat of Rustoleum which was
allowed to dry. With this "primer coat", the two coat process went extremely
well with no blemishes on either the first or second coat. The paint adhered
well and the double flocking looks "super".
note: the bluebills are Cabela's Real Image OS bluebills while the coots
and other decoys are Avery (different manufacturer ??), have
decided to give extra prime coat to all decoys before flocking
2 Rustoleum double black flocked bluebills
The four female bluebills have the tail area double coated with brown
head and breast areas have the "primer" coat of black Rustoleum applied.
black "paint" does not seem to create any issues with the brown flock.
note: the simple pedestal setup for flocking is very stable and effective
note: Rustoleum has a new product - flat brown (ordered, but not in)
Drove to Donjer and bought more nylon flocking.....black, bright red, cardinal
red, cream and brown (not as dark as feather brown).
I finished the Rustoleum primer coat on 6 Avery OS goldeneyes decoys.
After they were dry, six were given another coat of Rustoleum on the back
area and black flocking was applied immediately. It takes too much time to
paint the heads and the back area since the surface starts to skim over. It
has to be very "wet" for the proper effect. The heads will be done after all
the backs have had their third coat of Rustoleum with the second layer of
black flock. It is a good thing it's cold with snow on the
much else to do. 30 decoys almost finished with another 12 left to do.
| Update: 03/9/2010
The goldeneyes are finished. The redheads and canvasbacks are almost. My
very old set of G & H Super Magnum Canvasbacks (out of the shed) became a
project. The flocking makes them really "pop" (3 drakes & 3 hens).
"blending flocking colors produced this redhead"
Mar 10th made "practice board" to try and
learn a way to blend in the black shading on a "can" head
note: put two layers of "can" flocking on a flat piece of plywood and
the G & H Super Magnums now have their first coat of flocking
(left click on thumbnails)
"G&H Super Magnum"
Painting tip: When I first started
the Rustoleum process, my painting techniques required some
practice and patience. The tight areas on some of the decoys were
difficult to "stay
in the lines". The decoy eyes and edges were particularly difficult for
me. It improved
with practice. However, I was kind of dreading the second coat of
Rustoleum over the
first layer of flock. I was thinking that keeping clean edges
(especially around the
beak and eyes) was not going to be pleasant. I was wrong.
If paint is "loaded" on the brush, not only does the first coat of flock
absorb much of
the paint, but by layering paint within an eighth-of-an-inch to any
edge, flock "wicks"
paint right up to the border and "soaks" it. Done properly (enough
paint close to the
edge), the flock "pulls paint" and there was hardly any reason to
never had to use a fine brush around the eyes and the flock
along the edges was
always plenty "wet enough" to take on the second coat of flock. By
those areas first (before painting the large areas), there was time for
the "fill in" to
On a side note, I found the expensive paint brushes (1") did not work as
well as the
cheapest $0.89 brushes Menards had (especially when applying the second
The course fibered "cheapies" hold more paint and flock can "suck it up"
Mini-Flocker tip: When using the "Donjer" mini-flocker
(cylinder pumping device), the best
results were obtained by first of all holding it perpendicular the the
surface (during the application. The best practice is to pump fast
enough so that
all the flocking in the cylinder becomes suspended as if it were a dense
dust. In addition, moisture content and electrostatic factors cause the
clump. Too dry is worse. By rapping the cylinder on the palm of my hands
"clump clogging" of the small holes from which the flocking is release
With practice, compensating for the above factors makes the process move
much easier. There is a brief learning curve.
Update: 3/16/2010: The first two heads of the Avery OS and G&H
Super Magnum Canvasbacks
have been shaded black. I used the cheap brush & "unloaded" it on
This brush shaded the black areas on the heads. The final decoy was
continually working the shading and spreading in the desired areas with
color toward the borders. The second decoy seemed to be better than the
Avery OS and G&H Super Magnum Canvasbacks
Blending Donjer nylon flock
colors to make "redhead" and "can" head colors:
bought brown (not the feather brown), bright red and cardinal red nylon
"color" ended up being a 4:1 mixture of brown to bright red. The
4:1:1 of brown to bright red to cardinal red. If you use 14 grams for
each of the
ratios (1) then 42 grams would be the (3). 454 grams equals 16 ounces
comparing the decoy Can heads to the "real thing", I would change to a
bit more of
brown and cardinal red to approach more of a a darker burnt orange
to this as kind of a burnt umber. However, on the water I like the way
approximate testing using level tablespoons. Mixing tablespoons of
writing it down as I went) produced the right color. Then I scaled it up
volume/weight necessary for the number of decoys to be flocked. Three
ounces of flock
long way on decoy heads if you are doing recovery.
I had a
small platform scale from puppy whelping. Weighing in grams was easier
because an ounce of flock is about 28 grams (more divisions). The
were placed in a very large zip lock food back. When the opposite
corners of the bag
held and then rotated 180 degrees, the flock mixture tumbles and mixes
it's already in the bag for use and storage. Identify the bag with a
magic marker and
the info somewhere else.
easiest way to "mix" and blend flocking colors is to place the portions
in a large
zip-lock bag. Rotating the corners while holding the bag vertically
tumbles the flocking
resulting in a very thorough mixing (with no mess). Don't forget to
label and keep a
of the mixture composition. It was difficult to visually tell the
two blends were bagged.
Update: 3/21/2010 The recent
cold weather and snow fall provided some downtime from dog
training. Therefore, the hen Canvasbacks have been flocked and a picture
page was constructed. After providing plenty of time for the decoy
flocking to "cure",
approximately three dozen will be rigged on three permanent long lines
forty-eight will be stored in their slot bags. Four dozen decoys will be
all my Carsten
Bluebill can handle when factoring in the other hunting gear and a dog.
long lines and "anchors" are ready. In the above photo, a couple
of the anchors
visible. Eyebolts ((with two nuts and a washer) were suspended in
the center of
and 16 oz aluminum soda cans. The tops of the cans were trimmed off with
Melted lead was poured into the anchor mold. After cooling, the
"peeled" and each anchor was "painted" with several coats of red liquid
used for dipping metal tools). The long line anchors weigh four and
should be more than enough for the Mississippi.
March 31, 2010 - the divers are ready to be
bagged and stored