When I was a kid and fished a lot, we didn't have plastic floats, we often made our own from balsa wood or other natural items, the king of which were porcupine quills. Due to a lack of porcupines in Ireland we, instead, used quill floats from geese, swans or other large birds. I haven't made these for 40 years, so recently having had the opportunity to use what a goose can provide I decided to make some.
these are from a greylag, take some large feather with stable quills
trim the vanes off close to the rachis
burn off any loose filaments and then sand the quill carefully till its smooth
wrap with thread and varnish ( I think we used cellulose dope or shellac years ago)
Paint the tips with a bright paint, we used to use moms nail varnish !
All set and ready to go, a little nostalgia that brings back great memories of fishing on reedy river banks catching small perch, roach, rudd and gudgeon, they were halcyon days.