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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...!
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Have my paint samples on order. I wonder if the person who mixes/ships the samples will catch on to the large amount of paint samples of the same four colors shipping around the country....

Steve, have you used the Behr paint over Jansens or Golden paint, or GAC700 or Jansens Cork Sealer?
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Jim~

I use it over oils, other acrylics, and gessoes (white and black). From my experience, acrylic almost always works well as a topcoat - but will never be as tough as oils.

All the best,

SS
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, what a great reference . I wanted to try my hand at painting 2 of my Al McCormick Humpbacks as hen mallards. I have them primed and ready for 2 years now. I wanted to put more then bayman style detail into them and paint individual feathers. Problem is I have no experience with that level of detail so I've been a little gunshy about starting. These decoys would still be used for gunning and I know they would see some rough duty and I also know that from any distance at all most detail is lost. Steve your repaints have wonderfully captured a nice compromise and I'm amazed not only how beautiful they are up close but how well they represent the live birds. Outstanding work and you've inspired me to take on the task with your methods and I hope the results for me are half as good. Pete
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
beautiful! someday when i settle down and plant some roots I'd love to carve my own cork decoys.
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Ditto on the brush instructions - the birds look great!
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
RT, RL et al~

I am glad you are finding this post helpful. The brushes are one more thing I had meant to include....

Here are the brushes I used on these birds:



There is nothing fancy here. The "flats" below - square-tipped brushes with fairly stiff bristles do the bulk of the work. They allow me to both pull and push paint around (unlike the finer-bristled brushes I use on mantel-piece birds that I finish in tube oils). Also, one "rule" is to use the largest brush whenever you can.



I use the "throw-away/chip" brush for sealing (spar varnish), priming (flat oils) and large areas of color. They are also good for stippling (which I only did a little bit on this rig - like the rump on the Hen Mallard). Especially for certain effects, these brushes can get more useful as they get worn and frayed.



The pointed "rounds" were used for the flecking/streaking on the heads of the Blacks and Hen Mallards. Here using the largest brush that will hold a point allows me to complete a head with just a couple of brush loads of paint. The smaller one was used only for the lower eyelids.



This filbert - with its finer bristles - was used only for the bills. These were topcoated with tube acrylics and have a low lustre. (I use many different filberts on my fancier birds.)



This older round has stiff and beat-up bristles - handy for stippling. I used it to add the highlights to the speculum on the Hen Mallards.



Gotta go! Our season opens in an hour-and-a-half.

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
Thanks - and good luck with the birds on the opener!
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Hi Steve - great post and very helpful, especially to those of us with little knowledge or experience refinishing decoys. I am looking forward to rehabbing some coastal magnums.

I just took a moment to view your website and now have it bookmarked. Love the story of the gunning box and I may try to get one at some point because it would provide a great hide when I can't gun the top of the tide for any reason.
Your website does a great job of showing the many ways you have been involved in many aspects of waterfowling and a great source of information and inspiration.

Well doe !
Dick
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Really neat tutorial. Thanks for sharing!

Tinkham Decoys & Folk Art
Norfolk,VA

http://www.TinkhamDecoysAndFolkArt.com

http://www.facebook.com/TinkhamDecoysAndFolkArt
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Steve, you need you own cable TV show.....I would be glued to it
Capt.Mike Sanzone. F/V LAURA S.
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Steve, nice refurbish, BUT, why no hen blacks in the bunch?
george@runamuckdecoys.com
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Mr. Sanford I was wondering what size the pointed round brushes are? Very helpful post. Thanks for taking the time to share your skill and knowledge. Jeff
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Jeffery~

Sorry - I neglected to use the photo that showed the sizes - #4 and #6. Even larger rounds are handy - as long as they hold a nice point, they can hold more paint.

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
George~

Short answer: Laziness. I MAY add the saddles on the bills to make half of them Hens - but most of my time is on building pilothouse right now. Both the decoys and the 'house should be delivered in less than 2 weeks. And, our Duck Season just opened on Saturday (with an exceptional hunt yesterday morning!).

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, LOVE this thread. Doesn't look you have to fix any tails. Good thing, I have replaced many and it gets old...Love the paint job on the hens. A quick question on painting over the dried varnish, do you rough the varnish up with sandpaper first?


John
Duckboats, decoys and double barrels!
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
John~

I probably did - certainly if there were any sizable shiny patches of varnish. I usually hit it with 60 or 80 grit - because there's usually a few rough spots and "crumbs" - but it's just a few seconds per bird.

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,
Why do you add bondo rather that glue and cork dust?
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Bill~

I do not use Bondo, per se - which is a polyester product. I use the epoxy and microballoons because it sticks really well AND - just as important - it sands very easily. The cork mixed with epoxy is a bit tougher to sand. Either approach is serviceable.

You coming to the Duckboat Show?

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
as always, great job.
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Thank You for sharing that pictorial. Fantastic!
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
As one who has carved a lot of birds in the past, I enjoyed this tutorial. The only question I have is on the mallard drakes flank, where you faded to white. If you look at a real greenhead, or a photo of one, you'll see that the white that separates the gray sides from the black rump is a distinct demarcation....a narrow white stripe that goes straight around the rump. A photo will illustrate what I mean.
Other than that one detail, you've done a fine job.
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Hi, Larry~

I just ran across your note from early April. I am glad you enjoyed my post.

I understand your point about the white on the drake's flanks - my pattern on the Bean's decoy is simply my compromise to accommodate the shape of the body - which is both a bit too large for the head and certainly too wide aft. As you can see from my other birds, I try to get that encircling aspect when the shape allows.

I carved these tip-ups circa 1980.




Note how the E. Allen and Herter's have a more life-life shape:









And some of my own:






Here are some other Bean's I re-painted last summer - tried to stretch the white a bit more astern.





Finally - I hope you're still carving!

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 particularly like the reddish breasts on your hens in the last picture. A large number of suzies in my neck of the woods exhibit this coloration, but I seldom see it on decoys. Good eye, there!!!!!!
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Steve,

I know you get lots of questions on this forum, so I apologize for adding one more, and did make a good faith search before posting this question, but, despite that, it seemed wise to ask is the list below still the recommended paint schedule for black duck decoys? If so, is one of those colors the choice for the body color, or is Lou's oil base FME the only way to go for that part of the bird? Thanks for any help.

JimG wrote:
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.

Last edited by:

Steve O: Dec 5, 2018, 11:30 AM
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Steve, you may check his website, there maybe some updates, but I have this from my files that Steve compiled at some point:

Dave Diefenderfer
Manassas, VA

"Once you set out to build a boat, throw away your square. And if you work on her after she's launched, throw away your level." author unknown

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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Thanks Dave. Any chance you have a document like this for black duck decoys?
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Steve, I do not, but know the colors are called out in one of the tutorials Steve has done, and if not he will see this, and you will have your answers tomorrow early I expect!

Dave Diefenderfer
Manassas, VA

"Once you set out to build a boat, throw away your square. And if you work on her after she's launched, throw away your level." author unknown

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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Thanks
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Re: TUTORIAL - Re-painting Bean's Coastal Blacks & Mallards In reply to
Great Job As Usual, your posts are always well done . everyone can always learn something from your posts weather it be painting or carving.keep up the fine work. your very much respected & appreciated to this website & more. Paul