How to use Threaded Inserts

Autumn Wings replacement duck decoy heads are easy to install on many brands of decoy bodies by using a threaded insert. You can purchase threaded inserts from Autumn Wings.  Our good friend Brian Wilkey has put together some simple instructions for you to follow.

Materials Needed:

  • Drill
  • ¼” drill bit
  • 5/16” drill bit
  • Long Pencil
  • Masking Tape
  • 6” ¼-20 eye bolt
  • ¼” x 1” fender washer
  • Threaded (cabinet) insert (1/4”-20 inside thread, 1” long)
  • Hex Key to fit insert
  • Shoe Goo (or other adhesive)
  • Coarse tooth saw blade

This is the threaded insert. Outside is coarse thread, inside is 1/4"-20 thread to accept a standard " eye bolt. These can be found in the cabinet hardware section of Lowe's, Home Depot, Ace, or just about any hardware store.

Note, this is a tutorial how I install my heads on to Herter's Model 72 decoys. A similar method should work for all kinds of decoys, but you may have to slightly modify the method to account for various size decoys. Here, I am using a Herter's Ultimate Model 72 Mallard and a 6" eye bolt. If using a Model 63 you will probably need to modify your procedure. I have used the same method on Herter's Decoys that I have burlapped. If burlapping, I complete through step 3, then burlap, paint, and then attach the head.

Head Instructions Step 1

Step 1: Using the coarse tooth saw, cut the keel just in front of the keel weight. Make cut at 90 degrees to the keel and stop when you get the body.


Head Instructions Step 2

Step 2: Using the coarse tooth saw and starting from the front of the decoy, make a cut even with the body removing the piece of the keel in front of the weight.


Head Instructions Step 3

Step 3: Using the coarse tooth saw, round the corners of the keel where you made the cut in step 1 and 2.


Finished Keel

This is a picture of the finished keel, if burlapping, you would burlap now, then continue with step 4 after burlapping.

Head Instructions Step 4

Step 4: With the eye bolt pushed through the decoy where the washer is flush with the bottom of the decoy, use masking tape to mark the drill bit to indicate the amount of the eye bolt sticking out of the body. (this is to keep you from drilling through the top of the head!!!)

Head Instructions Step 5

Step 5: Similar to step 4, mark the 5/16" drill bit to indicate the depth of the threaded insert using masking tape.


Head Instructions Step 6

Step 6: Align the head on the decoy where you want it, using a long pencil, mark the center of the hole where you will attach the insert.


Head Instructions Step 7

Step 7: Using your pencil, you will want to more clearly indicate where your pencil mark is from Step 6.

Head Instructions Step 8

Step 8: Using the marked drill bit, drill a hole in the head, going only as deep as the masking tape you gauged in Step 4. This will allow clearance for the eye bolt that sticks out of the top of the decoy. Use care to insure that you keep the hole straight and square or your head will not sit square on your decoy.


Head Instructions Step 9

Step 9: Using the 5/16" drill bit, drill the hole for the insert. Again, only go as deep as the masking tape you gauged in Step 5.


Head Instructions Step 10

Step 10: Place a small amount of adhesive on the insert. It doesn't take much adhesive and most will squeeze out when you screw in the insert.


Head Instructions Step 11

Step 11: Using the hex key, screw insert into head until the insert is flush with the base of the head. Clean off any excess adhesive that squeezes out.


Head Insert Installed

This is what the insert will look like once it is in the head, you are now ready to attach the decoy.


Head Instructions Step 12

Step 12: Line up eye bolt and head and screw eye bolt into head. Tighten until washer begins to indent foam on bottom of decoy. Make sure you hold the head stationary and turn the eye bolt. DO NOT turn the head as you will scratch the paint on the decoy.


Final Result

This shows the eye bolt tightened and what it looks like with the front section of the keel removed.