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Old 04-13-2009, 04:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Casting deer hair - How to Question ????

I just had a request to commission a story pen, based on a bullet/cartridge pen construction. The person insterested in commissioning me is a self-proclaimed "good" hunter, whereas his hunting buddy supposedly lacks those same aiming skills. The good hunter wants this pen to tell a story about his buddy taking several shots at a deer and missing the kill, but knocking off a tuft of hair here, a bone chip there, a spot of blood over there, etc., and ending with the good hunter finally tracking and making the kill.

I have the design for this story pen worked out, but need to learn how to cast deer hair. Without getting into the serious casting skills at this time (I am interested, but I don't have the pressure pot, etc. in my near future budget), what is a good simple economical method to cast some deer hair that I can use to turn a 1/4" plug to fit into a 1/4" hole in the pen body, and keep it looking like deer hair and not a cat hairball? The hair that I have available is still attached to the hide, so I can cast with the hide in place, or trim the hair and cast it loose.

I already have an air compressor and vacuum pump, and can put together a makeshift vacuum/pressure chamber from PVC pipe or black iron pipe if necessary -- I expect vacuum or pressure may be necessary to make sure no air bubles are trapped between the hairs when casting?? Will the clear casting resin available from my local Michaels store provide a good starting point to try this?

Thanks for your casting expertise help!!
John U - Charlotte, NC
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Old 04-13-2009, 04:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have no idea how to help you but this sure sounds like an interesting pen, I'd like to see the final product.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. - Winston Churchill
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Old 04-13-2009, 05:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Deer body hair is hollow with air trapped inside. this makes it excellent for insulation and for fishing flies but may cause you some interesting times when casting it. The tail on the other hand is not as bouyant and may be easier to cast. I have not attempted either. Please let us know how your experiment progresses.
Old Orchard Beach, Maine

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Old 04-14-2009, 07:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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the resin from the hobby stores..."Castin' Craft" is what many people on here you. sounds like the smallest container will give enough to cast about 500 of these things. plenty of time to perfect it. check all the hobby stores around you, someone might even carry a 1/4in dome mold tray. using pressure would be very handy in atleast sugnificantly reducing the size of the bubbles, but I would put my ball valve on a hundred feet of air line, and stand way the heck back before I aired up any McGuyver inspired aparatis. you seriously might have to do a dozen of these things to find the right look. sprinkle in the hair, pack it on, whatever. I think hair will look like hair. for casting how to's there are many in the threads.
BTW really want to see final product.
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Old 04-14-2009, 08:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Dont know if deer hair is long enough but you may be able to tie it to a sleeve like I have seen done with feathers. Just my head hurts....
Rick Roberts FCC(SW) USN Retired
Jacksonville, FL
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Old 04-14-2009, 08:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mostangrypirate View Post
using pressure would be very handy in atleast sugnificantly reducing the size of the bubbles, but I would put my ball valve on a hundred feet of air line, and stand way the heck back before I aired up any McGuyver inspired aparatis.

Thanks for the advice. I had planned on using 2" black iron pipe with threaded fittings for holding pressure or vacuum, or 2" PVC SCH 40 for holding vacuum only. Since pressure seems to be the recommended method to reduce the size of the air bubbles, I'll assemble with iron pipe and a pressure regulator. I'll make a plug mold to fit the inside diameter of the pipe, and a pipe support to keep it upright.

I'll wait until the next Michael's sales flyer comes out for the 40% coupon, then let the experimenting begin.
John U - Charlotte, NC
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Old 04-14-2009, 08:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Ok..... just thinking of how I might try this and here's what I've come up with.

1) find something cylindrical in shape that is slightly oversized. I'm thinking maybe a large diameter drinking straw. Cut it into about 3/4" - 1" lengths for molds that will easily turn away.

2) seal one end (wax?) and fill with casting resin (eyedropper?).

3) pack bundles of deer hair (trimmed from hide) into the molds (oriented parallel with the molds).

4) Apply pressure and allow to cure.

5) check out results and cuss your miserable failure (don't forget to be angry about the .02 you wasted on the drinking straw).
Pat & Lynn
Centerville, IA USA

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Old 04-14-2009, 09:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If you are doing only a small amount -- think about epoxy --- maximum flexibility and smaller quantities. Still a significant cost, but special pens are priceless.

and the key question -- can you handle the amber colored epoxy with the hair. Next key question is the orientation -- are you going to want the hair end on -- think of the hair as a bunch looking down from the pointed tips looking at the hide laying on the table. or do you want the side view - or a mix.

Easy is to put a tuft of hair into a glob of epoxy as if it were a brush tip and then stick it into the hole. As you cut the hairs off, the hollow ends will need to be covered/sealed. the closer to the tips, the finer and smaller the hollows. The base of hairs is what fly tyers use for heads on hopper and the like.

Bone needs to be cleaned carefully. I like hydrogen peroixide after washing well and soaking in trisodiumphosphate (think spick and span cleaner) to reduce oil/fat in the marrow from staining the bone. The peroxide will whiten the bone some. Chlorine Bleach is not a good thing to use. Need some clean bone -- head to the pet store and find the dog chew bones.

Need blood -- tint some epoxy red -- amber epoxy with red will give you the dark colors. Want to get blood splatters -- think small holes or carved divots in the blank with the colored epoxy.

I have had good success with System 3 epoxy with turning. Plan to CA seal and shear scrape a smooth surface --

Above all have fun with this and share pictures.
Ken Vaughan
Old Apprentice Machinist - learning a new knee in Tucson
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:17 AM   #9 (permalink)
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just to be a dweeb here..torturing & terrorizing an animal should not be made into a pen..The poor hunter needs to start practicing his shooting, and ask the deer gods for their absolution
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Actually, a pen may be the embarrassing reminder he needs to get more range time in.
Don - In a Mickey Mouse town

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