Inverting wings and skinning with a hook

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Inverting wings and skinning with a hook

Postby duxrus » Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:54 pm

Since some people have been asking how to invert wings or how to use hooks to skin I took some pictures of a pintail today. As with anything dealing with “how to” with taxidermy, this is just how I do it. I know many other methods exist and have tried others but this works best for me.

The first few pictures are to show how the hook and nooses work. I let gravity help keep everything out of my way as I go.


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Here is the wing at the first (elbow) joint. You need to carefully cut a small ligament loose along with starting to work the skin below the joint
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Once you are below the joint, I just use my thumb nail to break each feather butt free from the bone. You normally can break an inch or two at a time and then pulling the wing downward to expose the bone as you go. Once you reach the wrist joint you stop. On very large birds like Canada geese, a butter knife may need to be used if your thumb nail isn't strong enough to break them free.
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Re: Inverting wings and skinning with a hook

Postby The Waterfowler » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:01 pm

Nice tutorial. Don't you just love shot up wings!!
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Re: Inverting wings and skinning with a hook

Postby duxrus » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:12 pm

Pat, you beat me before finishing :lol3: and yes these take some finess so you don't rip everything apart :fingerhead:

Here is the wing after it has been inverted. It literally takes seconds to do once you start a wing....unless it is shot to heck to where you go VERY SLOW :sad:

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Here is after I easily remove the meat with a scalpal while it is still hanging

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The neck is done in a similar fashion where little actual cutting is needed. You can work the skin loose with your hand.

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Finally you will have a totally inverted and skinned bird ready for the fleshing wheel :thumbsup:
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I hope this helps and if someone has additional methods or tips please feel free to add them to this post. :smile:
I know others do not use a hook or noose and have great results by skinning on a bench. I have tried that way but the hanging method gets things done faster for me. I did what you see in the pictures in about 15 minutes....when not trying to take pictures and keeping my phone from getting goo on it :grooving:
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Re: Inverting wings and skinning with a hook

Postby The Waterfowler » Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:08 pm

And the fun part is when a wing bone or broken piece of bone penetrates under your thumb nail as you strip it down. All the more reason to carefully use a scalpel.
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Re: Inverting wings and skinning with a hook

Postby duxrus » Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:17 pm

After once you learn to proceed with caution :thumbsup: but yes your eyes will water as profanity fills the air :grooving:
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Re: Inverting wings and skinning with a hook

Postby sprigpig1 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:03 am

Very nice Brian...great tutorial.
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Re: Inverting wings and skinning with a hook

Postby Frank Lopez » Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:57 am

duxrus wrote:The neck is done in a similar fashion where little actual cutting is needed. You can work the skin loose with your hand.

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Not sure if this is the proper place to ask this, so if not, mods, pleas feel free to delete this. anyway, here goes.

Brian, Like you, I pretty much use the real skull and bill in my mounts. In this tutorial, I noticed that you use the hook and noose method to skin the neck and head as well. My question is, how do you manage to get the skin over the head? I've not used the noose on the head and neck, so most times I make a secondary cut on the back of the head. It presents some problems with sewing the cut, but it is doable if you go slow and careful. On some birds, I can get the skin right over the head, no problem.

Again, thanks for any help.

Frank
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Re: Inverting wings and skinning with a hook

Postby Pete-pec » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:36 am

Frank, I'll answer for Brian, knowing his method to some degree. He will only invert the head on those that allow, otherwise he cuts his relief (most often) at the back of the head, where the longer crown feathers cover the stitching.

Brian uses just the top skull plate and fills the head with some type of poly fill. Pretty interesting method.

Of course he will invert those birds that allow you to do so, such as sea ducks, mergansers, wood duck, ruddy etc. His noose method does not allow him to invert heads that plain don't have the room to, but simply uses gravity to help him use two hands and simplify that particular part of skinning. Using an artificial head, once you invert the skin iver the head, you can pull the neck right through where the head was once attached.
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Re: Inverting wings and skinning with a hook

Postby hillbilly.. » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:37 am

im gona try that skinning next time I always go from butt first and work my way up. and for the feathers on wings I use the back of my scaple to push on them and they pop right off a little easier for me atlest. and to answer that last question you skin around the bill and pop the head out that way.
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Re: Inverting wings and skinning with a hook

Postby Pete-pec » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:46 am

I use my scalpel handle or my thumb to pop feather butts, but I only use a hook or noose to get to the elbow. Once there, armpit in one hand and thumb popping feather butts with the other normally.

Also hillbilly, Frank and Brian are using the real skull (or portion) and bill. I like the subject of real versus artificial, because I like both methods....and a couple others. Also, new guys typically start off using the real head, and this subject certainly applies to them. I'm not here to debate what method is best. Pro's and con's to both....and I still use both because of it.
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Re: Inverting wings and skinning with a hook

Postby hillbilly.. » Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:00 pm

im not gona debate real or fake im no were near the league these guys are at. hopefully one day..
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Re: Inverting wings and skinning with a hook

Postby duxrus » Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:49 pm

Pete-pec wrote:Frank, I'll answer for Brian, knowing his method to some degree. He will only invert the head on those that allow, otherwise he cuts his relief (most often) at the back of the head, where the longer crown feathers cover the stitching.

Brian uses just the top skull plate and fills the head with some type of poly fill. Pretty interesting method.

Of course he will invert those birds that allow you to do so, such as sea ducks, mergansers, wood duck, ruddy etc. His noose method does not allow him to invert heads that plain don't have the room to, but simply uses gravity to help him use two hands and simplify that particular part of skinning. Using an artificial head, once you invert the skin iver the head, you can pull the neck right through where the head was once attached.


Pete knows me way to well :thumbsup:

I do my head cut on the top, starting at the base of the back of the skull and running it about 2" back toward the body. Like Pete said the feathers are the longest there so you can easily hide your stiches. When stitching it closed...do NOT pull the stitch tight. If you do you will never get those feathers to lay correctly and will end up with a "Mohawk" where some of them get bound in the stitching. I leave plenty of slack between stitches where you can still see the necking material through the cut. This will allow for some "wiggle" room as you preen the head and neck after positioning.

You can invert woodies but I have long sense stopped and just cut them. If there are any shot holes you will rip it plus it takes some time to slowly strech that skin over the skull where as just cutting it only takes a few minutes anyway. Now sea ducks are another story since you could fit a baseball through their neck skin :lol3:
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