Whittier Spear Fishing Decoys
Lidgerwood, North Dakota
THE SHOP
It's not pretty and it's not neat, but this is where Rick makes all his decoys.  This series of pictures shows a decoy being made from start to finish.  There are several steps in between, but this gives you a general idea of the extensive work that goes into hand making just one decoy !
The main work area.
Just a small sampling of some of the patterns Rick has made.
Starting with a piece of white pine, the decoy is traced on from one of the many, many patterns Rick has made.
Rick cuts the basic shape out on the scroll saw.
Still cutting the basic shape.
After the basic shape is cut on the scroll saw, he then sands some of the excess wood off on a large belt sander, then to this step where he carves it to the proper shape with a dremel tool.
One of many, many rounds of hand sanding.  All of the decoys are hand sanded after each of the many steps of carving, i.e., the basic shape, each of the two and three sets of gills, the mouth cuts, the eye and nostril cuts, the fin rays etc.
Connie, woodburning scales on decoys, ONE scale at a time.
Carving the fin rays.
Cutting the nostrils.
Drilling eye holes.  After this the belly is drilled out and weight added to the belly.  Then the weight area is covered with auto body bondo and sanded.  Scales are either burned on one at a time or rolled on (depending on what species it is).  Scalers were also made by Rick.  Fins are then inserted (after he cuts them out on the scroll saw).  And decoy is primered with three coats of primer.
After drying time all decoys are swim tested in his homemade four foot by four foot swim tank.  If need be this is where he adjusts the weight for excellent balance and swim ability.
Decoys are then painted white.  After more drying time they are painted to look real.  Notice in the background the GREAT variety of spray paints (rattle cans).  Rick doesn't use and airbrush, he does all "old school" painting.  Later the spots, dots and stripes he paints on by hand.
Here you can see, Rick hand stripes each and every fin with a steady hand.
Here's a whole school of extra large whitefish all painted and drying in the paint room.
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