Stripping barbules from a partridge feather

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raven4ns
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Stripping barbules from a partridge feather

Post by raven4ns » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:14 am

Hello,
Is there a trick to stripping barbules from a partridge feather? I prefer the look of using only one side of the feather for a soft hackle. However, when I try to strip one side off it breaks the feather and I have to start over. Every now and then I can get the barbules off without breaking the quill. I thought perhaps one of you had a neat way of getting the barbules off without destroying the feather. Thank you for any and all help.
All the best,

Tim
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The measure of a man is not how many times he gets knocked down, but how many times he gets back up.
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chase creek
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Re: Stripping barbules from a partridge feather

Post by chase creek » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:31 am

I probably do it like everyone else here. I hold the feather (with the curve down) in my right hand (I'm right-handed) between my thumb and forefinger, near the tip, and use my other thumb and forefinger to strip the feathers from the top of the feather, going right to left ,Toward the base of the feathert. This will almost always take part of the stem with it, but have not broken a feather yet. Hope that helps. I find that just using just one side of the feather looks better, and is a bit easier to wind. Hope that helps.
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driftless
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Re: Stripping barbules from a partridge feather

Post by driftless » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:20 am

I've had the same irritating problem as raven4ns. Gave up attempting to strip off the barbs. Now I just carefully trim them off with scissors.

Paul
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Old Hat
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Re: Stripping barbules from a partridge feather

Post by Old Hat » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:51 pm

Use the force.

Seriously though, grab the top of the stem and feather in one hand, the barbs in the other, and peel the stem away from the barbs (as opposed to pulling the barbs from the stem). Often, just that change in physics can make a difference.
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raven4ns
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Re: Stripping barbules from a partridge feather

Post by raven4ns » Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:16 pm

Thank you for the feedback to my question. I will try the suggestions and see how I make out.
All the best,

Tim
https://www.flickr.com/photos/44673530@N04/
The measure of a man is not how many times he gets knocked down, but how many times he gets back up.
raven4ns
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Re: Stripping barbules from a partridge feather

Post by raven4ns » Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:23 am

Thank you chase creek and Carl, I tried doing as you suggested and it worked like a charm. Frustration returning to normal level... :) .
All the best,

Tim
https://www.flickr.com/photos/44673530@N04/
The measure of a man is not how many times he gets knocked down, but how many times he gets back up.
driftless
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Re: Stripping barbules from a partridge feather

Post by driftless » Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:52 pm

I tried it, too. Worked like a charm!!

Thank you!!
DOUGSDEN
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Re: Stripping barbules from a partridge feather

Post by DOUGSDEN » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:52 am

I'm with Driftless on this one! My Anvil brand small, curved scissors seem to do the trick especially on some of those all too rare, small, well- speckled, and slightly darkish partridge feathers! I have never been too successful in pealing the barbs away from one side of the stem! This is a great thread! Keep them coming!
Dougsden
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Trevis
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Re: Stripping barbules from a partridge feather

Post by Trevis » Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:35 pm

Not a thing I suspected any one would have trouble with. All the flies I started with called for barbs for tails or wing or beards, all required pulling the barbs off and it was never a big deal, took a while before I discovered that the naked stems of small hackles make excellent tails for nymphs, naturally tapered, very strong, the curve of the feather makes the spay and the grizzly stems are mottled or barred as plus. Some feathers it may be better to strip a few barbs at a time starting near the butt of the feather and then a few more- those few would be about enough to make a wing on an 18, so that's how I did it. As Old hat says pull the stem. Prep a half dozen or dozen before starting to tie and save the barbs in clumps for tails, wings and legs (or not if you don't tie wets), the tying will go faster. When the stem does split or break during this, I always think that it would have split during or after the tying anyhow and thus I've avoided a problem. Some stems are brittle.
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