• Using Imitation Porky Guard Hair Tips - Craft Article from Crazy Crow Trading Post

Using Imitation Porky Guard Hair Tips

Imitation Porky guard hair has recently been “invented” to respond to the dwindling supply and high cost of the real porcupine guard hair, especially the longer, most desired hair. This substiture is made of a synthetic fiber, colored and tapered at the tip and bottom end like real porky hair.
Using Imitation Porky Guard Hair Tips - Craft Article from Crazy Crow Trading Post

Besides cost, there are other advantages to using imitation porcupine hair:

  • It all comes 9-3/4 inches long
  • It doesn’t have to be cleaned or sorted
  • To get the shorter lengths for the back of the roach, you simply trim it to the desired length.

Porky Roach Making Process

In general, the roach making process is still the same as described in our “The Making of a Porky Roach”, DVD. The change is that you now can always size the front of the roach’s hair length to 9 inches.

There are some differences in working with this material compared to genuine porky hair. The tips below address changes you may want to make in using this imitation porky guard hair vs. genuine hair for roach making.

1. Tying up the Hair Bundles

  • Unlike real hair where you soak the base of the hair to soften it before tying it, these fibers stay stiff while using them. To compensate for this you need to tie bundles of only 10 to 12 hair strands rather than 15 to 20 used in real hair.
  • Using Imitation Porky Guard Hair Tips - Craft Article from Crazy Crow Trading Post

  • To increase tying strength, we suggest you use single strand sinew for tying. Before bending the bottom of each group around the base cord, at 1/2 inch from the fiber’s bottom, spread the them along the cord. Now bend the bundle at that point over the base cord, holding them tightly downward with your left hand and thumb. Crimp the fibers at the cord tightly with your right fingernails.
  • A pair of roundnose jewelry pliers can also be used to crimp the fibers sharply at this spot. Wrap the cord around this bundle pulling the bundle at the cord together with a strong pull and tie the same knot as used with real hair.
  • As you tie this knot, hold the full bundle straight down so it doesn’t bend sideways and keep tapping the top of the bundle down onto the cord.

2. Sizing Hair Lengths

  • Instead of sorting for the varying lengths needed, with this material you will cut them in the lengths needed. Remember that you need to cut them in lengths 1/2 inch longer then how they will end up in the roach to account for the part to be folded over the base cord.
  • Always trim the imitation hair from the bottom up, as you need to preserve the tip color and tapered points. Because the longer hair for the front is now guaranteed, you can plan a wider full length measurement in the front of the roach than we have available in most real hair bundle sources.
  • We suggest that the bundles used in the tail lengths not be shorter than 5 inches plus the 1/2 inch fold over. That will allow the dark brown color to show over the top of the deer hair row.

Using Imitation Porky Guard Hair Tips - Craft Article from Crazy Crow Trading Post

3. Shaping and storing your Porky Roach.

  • The best way to shape and store this roach using imitation hair is the same as for the real hair except that wetting the hair won’t help form it as it does with genuine guard hair.
  • Rather than wetting, warm it with a hot hair dryer after you have it wrapped over the stick and before covering the tail area with the cloth.
  • You may need to adjust your roach spreader front diameter to shape the front as desired when you wear it (adjust the ‘flare’).
  • See our article, Porcupine Roach Care & Storage Article for more information.

4. How much hair is needed?

  • Twice what you would allow for a porky roach made with genuine guard hair. This is because imitation porky hair fibers are heavier than genuine hair, it appears that you will need at least twice the weight of imitation hair than what you used in real hair.
  • As more roach makers work with this material, we will get a better idea of what is needed for optimum results, but we would suggest buying an ounce more than twice the real hair weight. Having slightly more will allow you to plan a wider front half row than you would have before this much less expensive material became available.

Materials used in Making a Hair Roach with Imitation Porky Hair

Deluxe Imitation Porky Hair - 10" Long

Deluxe Imitation Porky Hair - 10" Long

Product No. 6516-100-800

(Per Ounce)


This fine product is the perfect substitute for genuine porcupine guard hair, and it makes tying roaches much faster and less expensive. It is uniform in color, with a tapered tip and base just like real hair and since extra long porky hair is hard to find, as well as expensive, this hair allows you to make a roach with up to 9-1/2” long hair in front without breaking the bank. It is approximately 10" long so the laborious tasks of cleaning and sorting hair are now eliminated, and you can simply trim the hair to the graduated lengths required and start tying! Due to the extra weight of our synthetic hair, almost double the amount is required compared to genuine porky hair. So, for a 15" roach you should order 2-1/2 ounces and for an 18" base, order 3 ounces of Imitation Porky. The low price of this hair makes it an ideal option for new or young craftworkers as well. We've had this tested by experienced roach makers with excellent results, so order yours today and give it a try! Sold by the ounce.

Dyed Deer Tails

Dyed Deer Tails

Product No. 1820-100


Long haired northern bucktails - select color desired.

You may find other craft ideas for these, but primarily used for the inner and outer rows of the porky roach and tassles for gourd rattles & peyote staffs.

Fly Tying Materials

Besides their use in Native American crafts, bucktails, as well as fox (and other tails), natural and dyed saddle hackles and marabou are popular for use in fly tying. Crazy Crow's natural association with these products for their use in American Indian crafts makes us a great source for folks who make fishing lures as well!

See Dyed Saddle Hackles, Dyed Marabou, Natural Saddle Hackles, Fox & other tails.
Simulated Sinew - Natural  (4 oz Spool)

Simulated Sinew - Natural (4 oz Spool)

Product No. 5034-024-005


Priced per 4 ounce spool; approx. 500 ft

An excellent substitute for the real thing; extremely strong, authentic in color and splits just like genuine sinew! Perfect for sewing on moccasin soles, stringing chokers and necklaces, wrapping feathers, and a multitude of other projects. This is the handiest material we've found for craftwork!! New colors: white & black. See related products below.

Simulated Sinew - Thin - 4 oz Spool

Simulated Sinew - Thin - 4 oz Spool

Product No. 5034-022-005


Priced per 4 ounce spool; approx. 1500 ft

This lighter weight simulated sinew is much thinner than our regular weight and is designed for use on finer, more delicate projects. It also saves time, since you no longer have to split the heavier sinew down. Still extremely strong and the same, authentic color as genuine sinew. Ready to use.

The Making Of A Porky Roach DVD

The Making Of A Porky Roach DVD

Product No. 4085-001-017


An exceptional source for the authentic construction of the porcupine roach. Areas covered: the building of a tying board, sorting of porky hair, preparation of hair, attachment of hair to base, construction of handwoven base, plus the care and storage of the finished roach. Slow motion and instant replay enable the viewer to construct a fine porky roach. 30 minutes.

Needle Nose Pliers

Needle Nose Pliers

Product No. 4900-002-001


For bending, gripping, and pulling wire and other jewelry findings. Smooth jaws prevent marring of work surfaces and side cutters allow for snipping wire and pins.
Elastic Bandages - 3" x 60"

Elastic Bandages - 3" x 60"

Product No. 4540-950-001


Perfect for wrapping roaches. 3" wide x 60" long.

The very best material for wrapping your new roach is an "elastic (Ace-type) bandage" that is 3" wide. In order to make wrapping easier, always roll the bandage up before beginning.

See Crazy Crow's Porcupine Roach Care & Storage article for complete Porky Roach Care instructions and wrapping stick suggestions.

Roach Sticks

Roach Sticks

Product No. 4540-900


Keep Your Porky Roach Looking Great!

Available in 2 lengths, this roach stick is invaluable when it comes to preserving the look of your prize roach. Comes with free roach care & storage instructions.