Feather inlays [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Feather inlays

05-06-2004, 03:02 PM
I was wondering if anyone could explain how to do a feather inlay on a rod. I have been building rods on and off for about 15 years now so I know the basics. However, I have not seen this process explained in any books or articles. Iím fairly good at figuring things out, but I think a brief description would help me save some time and feathers.

Thanks Charlie.

05-06-2004, 06:20 PM
Contact Bob, he does this on all of his rods. All of which are 'works of art.'

He's a board member so if he doesn't see your post, just PM him.

Robert Meiser
05-06-2004, 10:53 PM
Charlie...No worries.

Nearly any longer webbed feather can be used.

A good feather to learn with would be any from a game bird cape, like those used for soft hackles from a Partridge, or Pheasant.

Assemble the following:

A table spoon
A soft bristle 1/2" wide water color brush
Any CP.....I like GudeRod because it's clear in the bottle
A jug of Isopropyl Alcohol

In the table spoon pour in a bit of Iso and mix in a bit of CP ~ Say 60 /40 with Iso being 40.

Stir it till the Iso mixes well with the CP.

Dress the feather just as you would as if you were to tie with it.

Dip the brush in the spoon mixture, and lay the feather on the flat of the dampened brush.

With the feather laying on the brush, imerse it in the spoon mixture.

Lay the saturated feather on the blank.

You may have to flood the feather a bit with additional mixture to "Arrange" the feather.

Once you have it where you want it, just leave it be, and let dry for a few hours.

The alcohol will evaporate, and leave the feather adhered to the blank with CP.....Which is actually a water based acrylic.

You can also use "Elmers" regular white glue for CP, same thing.

Once dry, you can epoxy right over the feather inlay.

It will often take a few thin coats to do this.....As many as 4 with very large inlays.

You can place the feather/feathers right on the blank, or over opaque thread as a background to complement the feather.

If over thread, I prefer to single epoxy coat the thread first. Let dry 24 hours, then do the inlay over this.

Also a very good idea to have a denatured alcohol "Bubble Popper" to blast out drapped gasses escaping from within the feather's fibers. These will stay trapped within the epoxy, and become very unsightly if left.

Simple as that.....Once you've got it dialed in with a few feathers, your only limited by your own creativity !!!

If you wish you can check my site gallery for ideas:


Or go to www.rodbuilding.org and go to their collection of pictures from various builders from all over the world.....Great site !!!

Good Luck....Drop a line if you wish.


05-07-2004, 07:45 AM
Thanks for the info! I will give it shot.


09-10-2004, 07:41 PM
thanks for the step by step
i did it on my 4 wt and it looks great