Bleaching herl

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Mike62
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:50 pm

Bleaching herl

Post by Mike62 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:27 am

Hopefully I've posted this in the right place. I'm looking to use bleached peacock herl as a body material but I need a little help in understanding the process of bleaching the herl without burning it off the quill. Thanks!
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tie2fish
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Location: Harford County, MD

Re: Bleaching herl

Post by tie2fish » Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:02 am

Mike ~ This topic would fit well in the "Soft Hackle Materials" section.

To answer your question, here's a post from s fontinalis on the flyfishingforum in May 2013:

Re: bleaching herl instructions ?
use 5% bleach solution - 5ml household bleach in 95ml water.

dip the herl in the bleach, gently agitating it until the color changes, then transfer to a 10% vinegar solution to neutralize the bleach.

then transfer to water

let dry

if the herl is stripped (no fibers left) decrease the bleach concentration, or decrease the time in the bleach solution, or both.

These chemicals at the concentrations listed (5% bleach and 10% vinegar) are safe to use, there is no risk of chemical reaction affecting you. But do be careful with pure bleach when you're making the diluted solution.
Some of the same morons who throw their trash around in National parks also vote. That alone would explain the state of American politics. ~ John Gierach, "Still Life with Brook Trout"
Mike62
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:50 pm

Re: Bleaching herl

Post by Mike62 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:15 pm

Thank you, you made that very understandable. I need to be more careful measuring out my bleach apparently.
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tie2fish
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Location: Harford County, MD

Re: Bleaching herl

Post by tie2fish » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:11 am

Hope it was helpful, Mike. I would suggest that careful attention to what is happening while the herl is in the bleach solution is as important as is the bleach concentration.

You need to have your neutralizing materials (vinegar solution) all ready and in close proximity. I would also suggest that you use a shallow container to do the bleaching and that your work area is well lit so you can see color changes.
Some of the same morons who throw their trash around in National parks also vote. That alone would explain the state of American politics. ~ John Gierach, "Still Life with Brook Trout"
Mike62
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:50 pm

Re: Bleaching herl

Post by Mike62 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:00 am

tie2fish wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:11 am
Hope it was helpful, Mike. I would suggest that careful attention to what is happening while the herl is in the bleach solution is as important as is the bleach concentration.

You need to have your neutralizing materials (vinegar solution) all ready and in close proximity. I would also suggest that you use a shallow container to do the bleaching and that your work area is well lit so you can see color changes.
The procedure to burn the quills off is almost secondary by now and I thought I had it down; as yo suggest, shallow pans, neutralizing liquid handy etc. I think I simply got lazy with my bleach measurement. I'm a farmer and finding the delicate balances with the smaller things can be trying. Thank you for the help; it's the defining characteristic of this site.
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