Oh Boy, more fun with feathers!
First, do read my FIRST post about using feathers as picks and noters-- CLICK HERE FOR Fun With Feathers part 1.
Recently on my online community website, Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer, Ken Rice of Bucks County, Pennsylvania posted some excellent photos and instructions for making traditional feather picks and noters from goose quills. I felt his information would be very useful to folks wanting to experiment on their own with making feather picks and noters, and Ken graciously gave his permission to post his photos and insructions here on my blog...
Ken gets his feathers from his three lovely geese- Maudie, Olive, and Fig:
Here are Ken's instructions and photos for making NOTERS out of goose quills. Ken writes:
I have been using a noter made from an adult goose flight feather. I like it, but I am new to dulcimer playing so don't have much of a basis for comparison.
It's about 15 cm (6 in) long, and it weighs about 1/2 gram. The feather shaft has a gentle bow, and you hold the convex face of the bow against your palm, using the large end of the shaft to fret the string.
I have better luck when I use a hot knife to cut these. The shafts tend to splinter and split otherwise. Alternatively, you could saw them very gently with a jeweler's saw and burn the end back on a hot surface.
When pulling the barbs off the shaft, try not to pick up a long curly "shaving" from the shaft itself. This weakens the shaft.
I touch it up gently with fine sandpaper, and it's done.
It's holding up well, though I've only been using it a month.
And here is how Ken makes his PICKS from goose quills...picks such as these are particularly suited to the traditional Galax, Virginia dulcimer playing style:
Picks made from flight feathers from our geese Maudie, Fig and Olive. These range from 8 1/2 to 10 inches.
Peel the barbs off gently and gradually or debarb them with a single-edge razor blade, singe them over a flame, cut to length with dog nail clippers and then sand off any remain barbs on the large end so they feel smooth when you hold them.
Thank you Ken Rice for these great quill crafting tips and photos!