Want to make your own elegant quill pen? There is a detailed how-to on cutting a quill pen from feather. It looks pretty damn cool to have one on your desk and use this to write on your moleskine notebook. The section of the how-to describes from cutting, to preparation, cutting and re-cutting:
… First, a bit about feathers. How many people have actually held out the wing of a very large dead bird, measured the three or four longest feathers and pulled them out? Any takers? I know I have never seen a dead goose or turkey wing with feathers still on it. So the old adage about taking the longest three feathers off the wing is all very good when you’re Thomas Jefferson and can raise your own geese simply for their quills; but for us modern types there is a much simpler way to gather feathers.
I buy my feathers from local Hobby Lobby, Ben Franklin, or even Michael’s; and whatever hobby shop that’s filled with odd baskets, dried flowers, leather lacing, candles galore, and beads is the place to hunt down feathers. I’ve seen these kinds of shops all over the Seattle area, the San Diego area and the Denver area, so I’m assuming that they’re accessible from all over the U.S.. I have no clue what international equivalents are, but would be glad to list them here if someone tells me.
Usually they have bags of ‘Indian Feathers’ (made in China or Taiwan or whatever) with about six feathers for about a buck and a quarter, so they’re about a quarter apiece for usable quill feathers. The usable ones don’t have a crushed tube and do have a significant portion of nearly transparent tubing underneath the plume of the feather. I’ve actually had some bad luck finding a majority of usable feathers in the packets at Michael’s, so try the others if you can, first…