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TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards

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TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards
Since I always enjoy getting old gear back in shape for use, I could not help but pick up 16 old (1950s or 60s) L. L. Bean Coastal Black Duck decoys from one duckboats.net member - and fixing them up for another member. Here are a bunch of photos of the process - boiled down from the full, step-by-step account that can be found on my site: http://stevenjaysanford.com/...blacks-and-mallards/

I started with 16 - and kept the 2 best in original paint to keep me company in the shop.



Note how the dowel is pinned with brass.



I filled the major body voids with epoxy and microballoons - then sanded.



I tightened some heads with deck screws - and replaced one set of eyes - then on to the varnish - to seal the thirsty cork.



Hanging the varnish-soaked birds let all the varnish drip and drain to a single low point - on the tip f the tail.


Bottoms and heads were primed with a Grey oil primer.



I painted the Black Ducks first. Ten would remain as Blacks and four would become Mallards. I had a can of Black Duck Body in FME (Flat Marine Enamel) from Lou Tisch at Lock, Stock & Barrell. It served as both the primer and the topcoat on the bodies. (I added some White to prime the Hen Mallard you can see in the background. I always like to prime my birds in tones close to the final colors - so they still look OK when worn a bit.)



The face is Behr Mocha Accent - in a sample-size jar.



The crown and eye-stripe are almost Black - Behr's Black Suede.



The bill is Yellow Ochre acrylic from a tube. The Black Line of Demarcation separates the face from the bill - and has a little black triangle at the hinge.



The streaks are Behr Fedora -a medium brown. I suggest the edge of the cheek as distinct from the neck.



On some birds, I over-painted the dark flecking with paler (Behr Ashwood) streaks - to get that "wormy" effect. I also used the Ashwood on the lower eyelid to give it a bit more depth.



I think the pale tertials are important identifiers for other Black Ducks from above.



Here is a close-up in natural light.



Here is the whole bird - done.



And here is the Big Ten - ready to hunt.



Mallards are the toughest species to paint, in my opinion. Hens need to look streaked - and to reflect the subtle color differences from stern to bow. I usually paint decoys starting at the aft end to suggest the natural overlap of the feathers. A Hen Mallard is pale at the stern and a bit ruddier up forward. So, the undertail area is lightly streaked with White.



The speculum usually shows more often on Hens than Drakes. I put a fair amount of detail in these - just because I enjoy it. I used two shades of Ultramarine to suggest iridescence.



The back started dark but needs bold, lighter streaks of tan - Behr's "Collectible".



The sides need bold, dark streaks that sweep upward as they flow aft.



And the chest suggests the reddish cast that the Drake has.



The face has a "mustache" in addition to the eye stripe - and the orange bill has a dark "saddle".



Here's the full effect on the face.



The Drake needs some blending on his back - especially the tertials and scapulars.



The cape feathers show as more distinct points or triangles against the warm Grey (Behr Elephant Skin).



The flanks fade to White at their after edge.



The cheeks and sides of the neck are Green while the crown and back of the head are almost Black. The chest is Black Duck Body lightly over-painted with a "barn red".



Here are the Final Four.



And here's the whole rig - ready for the vigorous life on Great South Bay in winter.....



I hope that George Soule would approve.

All the best,

SJS
Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Steve, your work is truly amazing ...I love the detail on the black duck heads
Capt.Mike Sanzone. F/V LAURA S.
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Steve you do some amazing work I love looking at your decoy work you have such a gift for making them look so real ,good job.
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
This was one very enjoyable thread. Thanks for your hard work in putting it all together, Steve. A new meaning for resurrection!

I wish the new owner nothing but luck during the upcoming season.
Al
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Steve, I really enjoy your posts. Thanks for sharing.... mark
"Ninety percent is doing the work."
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Beautiful work Steve!....thanks for posting, helps me out a lot to see the process unfold.
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
I love LL Bean decoys and I've rehabbed a few myself so I found your thread very educational and enjoyable.


Thanks for sharing
______________________________________________
It's all about the doin'


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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Amazing.....

Thanks for putting in the time to do this for the rest of us.

If not too much to ask, do you have enough info to expand on the hen mallard tutorial?

This post needs to be "stickied" for us with two left hands and ten thumbs.

Jim
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Jim~

re expanding the Hen tutorial - have you looked at my website? http://stevenjaysanford.com/...blacks-and-mallards/

It has more detail than the duckboats post.

Also, I'd be happy to answer any additional questions for you.

All the best,

SJS
Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Steve,
I like the voids of the black cork so I usually skip the balloons and epoxy and just put the varnish on extra heavy.
What varnish do you prefer or is any marine varnish adequate ?
I noticed you also varnished the heads ?
______________________________________________
It's all about the doin'


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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Steve,
Great job, i love gunner painted decoys hen mallards give me fits. Thanks for all the info.
Bill
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Bill~

I agree regarding the voids - I only backfilled the major excavations/canyons.

The heads on these birds might be White Birch (like some Wildfowlers had been). They sure seemed that they would soak up water if not sealed well - I wanted something other than water to soak in. So, I could either thin the primer or seal it with the varnish. Straight Spar Varnish (oil-based) followed by an oil primer is my standard base for gunners - cork or wood.

All the best,

SJS
Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


Last edited by:

Steve Sanford: Oct 9, 2014, 7:42 AM
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Steve - I've been waiting to see your progress on those old blocks. I'm sure that Mr. Soule would be very happy, ya did good, after some use and a coat of marsh mud they will even look better. The book that I reached for when you first began this project was, High Tide and a East Wind The Story of the Black Duck by Bruce S. Wright. I'm sure it's in your library, it had been a while since I enjoyed it.
Thank you for your post, good work, and keepin' the Decoy Tradition going strong. Black Ducks are my favorite big puddle duck, and Bean Coastals have place in my duck huntin' heart...











"Art does not reproduce what is visible - but makes things visible." ~ Paul Klee, artist, 1920
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Limited internet out here in ND so I can't post much but Dang!!! Amazing work Steve. Thank you for posting it and taking the time to put it all together.

"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Steve, great work as always. Now I wish I'd been lazy and waited until now to repaint my pair of Bean's blacks. Your tutorial would surely have improved my work.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
They look great Steve, thank you for sharing it. In your sixth picture (where you show the birds primed) the primer is covering the glass eye. Do you scrape the paint off of the eye when done? Or do you coat the eye with something else first that is easier to peel off?
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Beauties Steve, nice work.

Bill

https://www.facebook.com/...e=1&l=9abd3a64df
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Steve, Thanks for the post. I have 12 LL Bean cork blacks and I'll be following to directions. Great help
"When those birds stool".....takem!
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
John~

I used to try to mask the eyes - tape, rubber cement, etc - but recently - following the lead of some of the carvers on this site - I just cover the eye with both the varnish and the primer - then scrape them off when the primer is fully dry. My trusty X-acto # 22 and a stiff brush do the job. (It's SANDPAPER anywhere near the eye that is the bane of my existence....)



All the best,

SJS
Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Steve, They look great!! I am glad to know they went to a good home, and will be back on the water this fall/winter.
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Hank~

I was hoping you would approve!

Also, I got one question about why I opted for the Yellow Ochre bill color over Bean's original olive - I meant to discuss it in my narrative.

H
ere are my thoughts: In essence, my personal preference is to paint most of my stool as full plumage adults. I think growing up on Long Island - a wintering ground where most of the gunning is done in December and January - has pushed me in this direction. I certainly see young-of-the-year "river rats" with their darker olive bills - but I always look for the grownups when shooting. And, having banded thousands of Black Ducks both pre-season and post - I just love those breeding season birds!

On a mantelpiece bird, the Yellow Ochre fades toward a cooler Yellow (hint of Chrome Yellow) near the margins and behind the nail.

Also, the books I grew up on both depicted "colored up" adults - and also taught me the biology. The Audubon Waterbird Guide - with paintings by Don Eckleberry - was one of the books I learned to read from. (BTW - Note how Eckleberry shows the reddish-purple speculum - a feature I fear is being lost through genetic swamping with Mallards.)



I bought this when I was 10 or 11, I think.



I concede that I did not paint the Hen's "saddles" on any of the Bean's - but I doubt it will turn away any birds.



Here's a bird I shot on Christmas Eve a couple of years ago - right here on the farm.



And here's a reference picture I downloaded from Google Images - lots of nice feather details.



All the best,

SJS
Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com

Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Beautiful Steve! They never looked better! Thank you very much for sharing and including the paint details.

Tom
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Before hopping into your truck and heading to Home Depot for the sample size jars of paint, DON'T

According to the HD website, available via internet only

go to the search box and type in Behr Ultra paint samples, followed by the colors in the tutorial

OK.... in case you haven't written them down yet, Mocha Accent, Black Suede, Fedora, Ashwood

AND the best part, $1.94 per jar until 10/19. Are you kidding me? Including shipping. Are you kidding me? Delivered to your door.
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Great post Steve. Beans are some of my favorite decoys. At one point I had about 75 or so. I thinned them down to about 2 dozen now.
It seems like my decoy rigs go through overhauls every couple of years.

Zane
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Steve, for the novice carver/painter matching brush type and size to the paintwork would likely be quite instructive and appreciated.

I don't think George Soule would approve, I think he would be quite jealous of what you have achieved on one of his patterns...!