I haven't had an opportunity to take a class on making quills. So before trying it myself, I scoured the web in search of instructions. Most of what I found seems to agree on the basic steps, but the specifics vary.
- Prepare the feather — Cut off the tip, clean the membrane from the surface and inside of the barrel, trim it to length, and trim off the barbs to make holding it more comfortable.
- Cure the barrel of the feather (also referred to as tempering or dutching) — Fresh feathers are too soft and flexible to be cut and used as a pen. The barrel is hardened through aging or heat treating so it can hold its shape and last longer. The methods for this process vary quite a bit: from baking the feathers in an oven, immersing them in hot sand or boiling water, to rolling them against a heated metal surface.
- Cut the quill — The cutting of the writing tip. The steps vary in order, but the shape of the end result is the same.