Decoy Carving Videos, Decoy Cork, Glass Eyes, Carving, Painting & Airbrush Supplies, Waterfowl Photo Reference

Willy, Diane,
Murphy McDonald

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Tail Boards and Bottom Boards for Cork Decoys

This method utilizes the top and side view method of pattern layout and bandsaw cutting. Matching the bottom board to the cork block is easy and helps to gain more height to the cork block. I normally use standard 3/4 inch pine or cedar boards but any size could be used. I like to use any good waterproof glue for attaching the board.

Next I layout the top and side view of my pattern on the block. Notice that the area for the tail board has been drawn in.

Cutting out a slot for the tail board is easy while the block is till square.

Now you are ready to insert and glue your tail board into the slot. I use my tail board stock to establish how thick the tail board slot will be prior to cutting out and when laying out the side view pattern. Notice I use a clamp to hold in place until in the glue is dry.

Once the glue is dry you can cut out the blank as usual utilizing the two view method for cutting out. The tail and bottom boards are now easily integrated into the decoy body and ready for guidelines and carving.

Hollowing a Cork Decoy Block

When I hollow cork bodies I still attach the bottom board before I cut out the blank. I use small drops of hot glue to temporarily attach the board to the cork. That way I can pop off the board to do the hollowing process and then re-attach later and have it fit very close. It only takes a couple of very small drops of the glue to hold the BB in place for cutting and I usually put the drops in the middle area where I will be hollowing. I use a screw driver as a pry bar to pop off the board. You will have to repair that small pry spot but it is no big deal.

If you do not want to use a bottom board you can you can simple cut the decoy in half length ways at or just above the water line. I do this after the decoy is close to final shape. Now this can be a problem running through the bandsaw as you do not have a flat surface to place against the saw table. To solve this problem I make sure that I save the sides from the top view cutouts and use that sides as a cradle. They should be the same shape as your decoy. Absolute care and caution should be exercised when doing this procedure. Once this is finished you are ready to hollow.

Wall thickness will depend on use vs. durability. My guess would be that you do not want to go less than 3/4 inch or in that neighborhood. I attach the head by drilling a pilot hole down from the top after hollowing and then I can run a screw up from the bottom into the head. I use a large fender washer to seat the screw and reinforce.

I like to coat the inside with either Jansen Cork Sealer or spar varnish after hollowing as a precautionary step against water migrating into the inside. Two or more coats to the entire inside surface should work. The next step is optional if you feel you need to bulk up the hollowed area. I will sometimes fill the cavity with expanding insulation foam and after it has cured I I cut it off flush with the decoy body. This will not add any weight but will make for a solid body.

Finally I glue the bottom board or cork bottom on using poly glue for the foaming aspects and then I double/triple seal the seam with spar or Jansen Cork Sealer. I personally like to glue on the keels to avoid putting a screw into the bottom but if you do use screw make double sure that you have the screw holes sealed properly to prevent wicking of water into the cavity.


Questions? ...e-Mail Willy



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