We recently received a large order of Natural Grey Goose shoulder feathers. These feathers looked amazing when burned. The natural grey color matched the color of heron much better than a dyed grey feather. But.....that stem. If I could only find a way to reduce the rachis to a manageable size, it would be a perfect heron sub.
I started thinking of other non-user friendly feathers I've had to wrap as hackle, such as Macaw body feathers, and Jay. There was a technique for splitting them to make them easier to use. Then, I remembered an illustration in Kelson's "Salmon Fly" which shows how to split a jay feather.