Topics: Feathers, Straightening

Q.
I've been making feather earrings but find the feathers I am buying are curled or twisted and don't lay straight when worn. Is there a special type feather I need or is there some way to straighten the feathers out?
- Joann
A.
Heat can be used to straighten the feather quill. Heat a standard household iron to the cotton setting, do not use steam. Lay a cotton cloth on a firm ironing surface and lay the feather on the cloth with the underside of the feather up. Run the pre-heated iron over the length of the feather several times, taking care not to stop on the feather surface. After three or four passes with the iron, flip the feather over and continue to iron the feather moving slower over the thickest part of the quill while pulling up on the feather against the natural front to back curve. Continue this process until the feather lies flat. After allowing the feather to cool for 2 to 3 seconds, bend it again, opposite to its right or left natural curve until the feather is straight. Be careful to not use too much pressure as this can fracture the quill. Once you have the feather quill straightened, store the feather under a flat weight overnight. Storing the feather between two smooth boards will usually do the trick.

Note: As individual irons heat differently, you may need to experiment with your iron to test which heat setting works best and how many passes with the iron is necessary.

- Michelle Wood, Jewelry-Making Expert

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