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hnd-fan-cnst-art - 11/15/07


"Constructing an Ostrich Feather Fan" by Lady Drueta de la Rosa.


NOTE: See also the files: hnd-fan-hist-art, fans-msg, feathers-msg, umbrellas-msg, gloves-msg, p-espionage-msg, flirting-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



[These is a copy of one of the handouts that Lady Drueta had for her class at Pennsic in 2007]


Constructing an Ostrich Feather Fan

by Lady Drueta de la Rosa




Equipment list:


Handle (precut and drilled)



Stain applicator

Ostrich drabs (note of caution – the feathers we are using today have been fumigated to prevent feather mites)

Peacock eyes




When making a fan, the most important step is designing your handle.  You want something that is going to stand up to use.  Many fans I have found that people are selling wouldn’t last one season of use.  Some wouldn’t make it through one event!


A fan is definitely a useful accessory.  Thus the handle design I am using is one that will last, is comfortable in the hand, and easy to produce.


1.  After the handle is cut out it will need to be drilled.  This handle design is drilled with a double row of alternating holes for the feathers.


2.  With everything cut out and drilled you will now need to sand the handle until smooth.  Remember this is going to be in your hand.


3.  Once the sanding is done the handle needs to be stained or painted.  For today’s exercise we will be staining.  With staining the object is merely to change the color of wood and offer the wood a bit of protection.  The more stain you put on the handle the longer it will take to dry.  It is not painting, and is not necessary saturate the wood.


4.  While the stain is drying we will need to trim the quill of the feathers.  The feathers we are using today are Ostrich Drabs. This is not a personal statement about the appearance or color, but the name of the feathers that come from the body of the ostrich.  Upon observation you will be able to see a slight swelling on the end of the quill.  That is what keeps the feathers within the skin of the bird.  We will need to trim those down so that the feathers will fit into the predrilled handles.


We want to trim that swelling but not take too much of the quill off so that there is something to anchor the feathers into the handle. Also we want the feathers to be basically all the same length.


5.  Once the stain is dry enough to handle we will glue the feathers in place.  This is best achieved by placing a small amount of glue in each hole then placing the feather into the handle.  Do not over fill the holes with glue so as not to get the glue onto the “fluffs” of the feather. You will have a short time window to arrange the feathers to your best liking before the glue dries.


6.  Now that you have your feathers set it is time to attached the lanyard.  This small loop of cord will allow you to hang the fan from your belt.  I like to use a mug strap to hang my fan from so that I do not have to constantly tie and untie my belt.


You can embellish your fan as you wish with small wood accents, gems, mirrors, and even carvings.


Once you are comfortable with this fan form you may want to try others.

A good website with other fan types and construction ideas can be found at:



Care and feeding of your new fan


It is important to remember that your fan is made with real feathers and subject to the problems of real feathers such as feather mites.  A simple and period solution to this problem is to include a sachet of lavender in the container.


Feathers will also wilt in high humidity conditions.  The little packets of desiccant that are thrown into shoe boxes or in purses at the store would great for combating the humidity in storage boxes.


Feather Sources:

http://www.smileyme.com  A great source for smaller quantities of feathers


http://www.ostrich.com  If you join their mailing list you will get notices on sales.  They usually have a 50% sale for their yearly anniversary in July.


http://www.sturgisfeathers.com  Best price I have found for ordering a pound of feathers at a time.


Copyright 2007 by Beth M. Stewart, 402 West Ave., Pitman, NJ 08071. <Drueta at comcast.net>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org