Everyone who has built their own Whizbang chicken plucker knows that the plucker fingers are difficult to pull into place. In fact, for some folks, pulling the fingers into the featherplate is the hardest, most discouraging part of the project. Even though the plucker fingers are durable and flexible, the rubber is hard and recalcitrant.
Solutions to the “pulling problem” abound. Some people just grab the finger and muscle it through. Teenage boys with an abundance of testosterone are useful for this particular task. Flexing the finger back & forth while pulling helps to “walk” it into place. Many people have come up with ideas to help make the process of pulling easier. Here are a few:
1. Lubricate the base of the finger with vegetable oil or liquid detergent.
2. Soak the fingers in warm soapy water for some time before installation.
3. Use big Channellock pliers to grab and lever the fingers into place (the bigger the better)
4. Grasp the base of the fingers with ViseGrip pliers (held parallel to the featherplate) and lever the pliers over a piece of wood to pull them through.
Every one of those ideas will help but none of them are as easy as pulling fingers into place with the simple, scrap wood pulling device that Jim Stachoviak of Wausau, Wisconsin has invented.
Jim e-mailed me some pictures of his plucker finger puller, along with an explanation. He told me his 11-year-old grandson can easily pull fingers into a featherplate with his finger puller invention. All you do is set it over a finger and lift the handle. He told me “you should hear/feel a pop when it seats.”
So I made one of Jim’s plucker finger pullers. And I tried it. And it worked just like Jim Stachoviak said it would. And I thought to myself...
Beyond that, he’s a nice guy because he has given me permission to show you his puller and, best of all, tell you how to make one of your own. If you can build a chicken plucker, you can surely build one of these handy plucker finger pullers which, I have decided to officially name...
The Stachoviak Plucker Finger Puller
Here’s a picture of Jim's amazing finger puller being placed over a finger that needs to be pulled up through the 3/4" hole in the feather plate.
As you can see, it’s not a fancy tool. It is a just plain simple tool. Here (below) is a picture of the puller in place over the finger. The finger is about to get pinched by the handle and lifted up into place.
Now here is a picture showing the handle being lifted and the finger being pulled.
Once the handle is lifted, the whole contraption acts like a big lever, with the pivot point being the front of the puller. Here’s a picture of the finger pulled all the way into place. You can see the notch in the base of the finger has pulled through. And, yes, you can hear/feel a pop when the flared base of the finger emerges out of the hole.
The Stachoviak Plucker Finger Puller really stretches those hard rubber fingers right out. I wondered if the finger might break if I stretched it too far?
Well, that answers that question. As you can see it the above picture, the finger will not break, even when stretched as far at the Stachoviak Plucker Finger Puller will take it.
By the way, that’s a Kent C-25 plucker finger (medium durometer hardness) in the picture. Kent fingers are the most well-respected plucker fingers in the world (which is why I sell them) and that demonstration of “pullability” showcases the Kent finger’s premium natural-rubber formulation. I don’t know if other brands of plucker fingers can take that sort of abuse or not.
In the final analysis, the Stachoviak Plucker Finger Puller not only pulls fingers into place very easily, it also does the job without causing surface damage to the rubber finger, as is so often done when using pliers or vise grips.
If you can make a Whizbang chicken plucker, you can certainly make your own Stachoviak Plucker Finger Puller. The tool consists of only four pieces of wood, as you can see in this next picture.
The handle is 2-1/4” by 12”. The two sides of the front end are both 3” x 5”. The center piece of the front measures 3-1/2” by 3-1/2”.
Here’s a picture of the three pieces as they are supposed to go together.
Join the three front-section pieces with screws. The handle can be attached with one screw but I just drilled a hole and inserted a nail. This single nail (or screw) allows the handle to pivot up and pinch the top of the plucker finger.
There you have it. That’s the Stachoviak Plucker Finger Puller for you.
Thank you Jim Stachoviak!