Got any tips of the trade ?

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Taxidermy tips and tutorials

Postby duxrus » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:27 pm

Wel l since I have been in picture taking mode I thought some people would find these tips and methods useful… I also thought this could be a great way to learn from each other :thumbsup:

Many times we all have seen pictures of mounts where there is no smooth transition between the head/neck/breast junction. People always say that the skin needed to be “taxied” forward. Odds are many people are thinking “what the heck does “taxi-ing” mean.

Here is a bird where you can see a head with a thin neck ending abruptly into a wide breast…
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All I did was pull the breast skin forward toward the head to thicken the neck up and to give it a smoother transition for a more pleasing look. This literally takes less than a minute to pull the skin forward and to work the feathers back into place. This is what is ment by “taxi’ing the skin forward”. Now you can pull too much forward for the no neck appearance so it is always a judgement call as to how much do you adjust. I did some modification to this hen after the picture but thought you would get the idea.
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Another easy fix is the mud or rust stain found on many birds breast and neck areas. On this pintail you can see it has quite a bit of stain…
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All I did was applied some Whink’s to the stained areas with the feathers being wet. Within a few seconds you will see the stain simply disappear. A second application may be needed if you miss a spot. After the stains are gone I just rinse the skin in water and proceed. There are numerous products that do the same thing so this is just what I use.
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I use latex gloves because of certain chemicals so I wanted to share a great brand of them I have used for the past few years. They are super strong and can be taken off and re-used multiple times. I originally bought a box for 14$ from a supplier but have since found that you can buy them for 7$ a box straight from the company. You can hardly by the cheap, rip if you look at them wrong brands for that.
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I really want to get other’s input on this topic since we are never too old to learn new tricks. Some of us take for granted that we use this or that because it has just been how we learned way back when even though some better method or product has existed. If you have any tip about this or that please post it up.
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wire and wall mount

Postby Pete-pec » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:56 pm

I'll add this.

wiring to a base that will hang on a wall. I know it sounds silly, but without recessing for the wire and a hanger, your base will not sit flat against the wall, and the bird will wobble.

I drill three holes for the 30 cent hanger. The holes are drilled with a flat wood bit in 3/4 inch. The two lower holes are drilled deep enough to account for the screws that hold the hanger, and the top hole is deeper to allow for the screw that is on the wall that will hold the mount. I just put the hanger on the back, and mark the screw holes and the top of the hanger.

I drill a hole the size of my wire that holds the bird. I also take an electric wood carver and make a channel that the wire will sit in. I typically use 6 gauge wire for most of my mounts for added stability. I will also pre-drill a couple holes and will take a couple fence staples and hammer them in place across the 6 gauge wire. This wire will go nowhere. If you ever wanted to add that bird to a different base, a bend of the wire and it comes right out.

I like the idea of this, and I will share other things, because I certainly have my way of doing things. :wink: I'm sure we all do!
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Re: Got any tips of the trade ?

Postby Pete-pec » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:49 pm

Eye ring made of epoxie sculpt.

One of an old squaw before paint.

Another painted for a ross.

I have posted my technique in the past, and basically plug the eye in to wet apoxie sculpt when I do my eyes. Basically wrap the eye, allow to dry an hour or two, and shave the rim to make a thin ring. This method was made by me out of necessity as I do struggle with setting the eyes. You must use a smaller eye normally. I prefer 8mm most of the time.
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Re: Got any tips of the trade ?

Postby sprigpig1 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:37 pm

Good stuff as usuall Pete and Brian.. Well this one isn't as technical as Pete and brians but here is what I like to do while skinning. I will take pictures of drum sticks before I remove the meat.(takes 2 seconds)
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This allows me to rebuild the anatomy very close in the legs. If you use to much filler on the legs it will take up too much room and possibly make your bird to tight around the form( we all know that's trouble ) Too little will make for a "hungry" looking bird. I use cotton batting for re -building the legs. Like Brian said there are many ways to do things this just works for me.. Especially when your to the leg and wing building stage and forget how much tissue and tendons you removed. Kinda helps me be more detail oriented..especially on bigger birds like geese where there is a lot more of it. I used to just trace it out, but I would always lose the whatever I traced it on. Obviously the pic is just reference and does not have any measurements like you would have on the neck.. Or body somewhat. But none the less, legs and wing musculature are also crucial anatomy that need to be somewhat on the money IMO.

Brandon
"suppose you were an idiot; and suppose you were a member of congress, But I repeat myself".- Mark Twain

"Go to heaven for the climate , go to hell for the company".- Mark Twain
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Re: Got any tips of the trade ?

Postby fowlweatherfowler » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:05 pm

This was finished today. Really like he outcome. I used poplar wood and then took a wire wheel on a grinder and removed some of the softer material inbetween the grain. From there did 2 coats of minwax classic grey stain making the sunk in parts dark. Then used a light coat of minwax white wash pickling stain to lighten up the surface. It does not need to be perfect or everywhere. Last I used another coat of the classic grey

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Re: Got any tips of the trade ?

Postby Tryingtaxi » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:48 pm

fowlweatherfowler wrote:This was finished today. Really like he outcome. I used poplar wood and then took a wire wheel on a grinder and removed some of the softer material inbetween the grain. From there did 2 coats of minwax classic grey stain making the sunk in parts dark. Then used a light coat of minwax white wash pickling stain to lighten up the surface. It does not need to be perfect or everywhere. Last I used another coat of the classic grey

Image

I like it would look good for a dead mount
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Re: Got any tips of the trade ?

Postby Pete-pec » Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:05 pm

I took some puctures today while skinning a bird, turning the wings, and skinning the head. I took some pictures of that process in Brian's wing tutorial later. I wanted to show you what I do when measuring a body. I know many people take measurements, but I use a slightly smaller body. I do take sketches both top and side so I can adjust my mannikins accordingly. I also sketch the neck in its natural curvature and have length, girth and shape.

Yes, the outlines will be bloody, but they dry. I normally save them for later references. If someone needs a measurement, I normally have it. I also write down length and girth measurement using a seamstress tape.
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Re: drying a bird and sewing shut

Postby chesapeaketaxi » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:41 pm

Thanks Pete!!!!!! I have never used any modern fillers IE: caulk or wallpaper paste or any other kind of soft material, ever. I am looking forward to learning how to use those techniques . Please keep posting everyone! Pete, what material do I need to get for wall paper as well as the needles you use. Thanks so much, B
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Re: drying a bird and sewing shut

Postby Pete-pec » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:51 pm

I use a 60 mil syringe and a giant needle. I believe the Cajun injector would be a good alternative. I paid like 50 bucks for my needle that is used commercially to mix chemicals from one syringe to another. I cut the end off one, because the needle had two female fittings. After cutting it off, I sharpened it to a sharp point. It is stainless, and will of course last forever. Ted Weyenberg (taxidermist from Wisconsin) sells a curved plastic tipped syringe. The past I use is Roman's Brand. I basically fill a freezer bag with a few handfulls, and cut the corner off the bag, and fill my syringe like a cake frosting decorator.

I have several needles and syringes depending on the desired detail or application.
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Re: drying a bird and sewing shut

Postby Pete-pec » Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:05 pm

Here's some pictures.

You said no injectables? Do you inject your feet? Same principle.
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I've found it much cheaper. I bought 4 gallons five years ago. 5 bucks a gallon, but like everything, prices have gone up.
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For filling cheeks or anything like the head I use 14 Guage intravenous needles
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Large needle for filling areas that need plumping
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Re: drying a bird and sewing shut

Postby duxrus » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:49 am

Bruce,

On ducks I don't wrap or fill the leg but do add fiberfil where the thigh would be on both flying and standing birds. Since I just run a wire out through each leg you can simply slide the leg up and down until you get the desired look and walk away. Now on geese and swans I do push fiberfil into the void against the bone . Since it is easy to shape you can maneuver it as needed one your bird is mounted. It will hold it's shape once dry. If you are worried about added strength then you could just add caulk or paste after the fiberfil. (You better make dang sure all holes are sewn or glued closed)

There was a big discussion about this topic on the other site and sounded like most didn't bother rebuilding the legs for customer work (ducks) but for fear of judges, competition birds would have it.

On wings that have been treated with caulk or paste(I assume) the added strength is there. I just had a guy bring a bird by that had been knocked off the wall, hit a couch, then a coffee table before finally sliding across the floor. The neck split but the wings and rest of the body were just fine. The neck is the only place it didn't have caulk added.
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Re: drying a bird and sewing shut

Postby Pete-pec » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:05 am

Yuuuup!
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Re: Wing bones (fixing and repairing)

Postby duxrus » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:33 pm

beretta24 wrote:Brian,
What advantage do you see to opening the wing bone? I have no background from which to judge, but it seemed interesting to try getting it out when its sealed off. I just assume the borax or other preservative was the main defense against critters. Any insight would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Brian


I have "read" that eventually it might leak out....since it only takes about a minute to be on the safe side, I started doing it to all large birds. I could see in many instances where a small crack could go un-noticed while mounting and later cause issues. Basically for the same reason I degrease birds in a heavy duty degreaser after washing and fleshing.....better to be safer than sorry :thumbsup:
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Re: Wing bones (fixing and repairing)

Postby beretta24 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:23 pm

Thanks for the reply.
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Re: Wing bones (fixing and repairing)

Postby chesapeaketaxi » Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:59 pm

Such a great forum! no BS, just sharing. Brian, I degrease with Kemsol. 100% and a stiff utility brush on the first scrub and let sit for an hour. rinse completely with warm water. then with the skin still inverted, a warm water bath, usually 2 -3 times letting it soak a half hour or so in each soak. I then invert the skin feather side out and repeat until the water is clear and grease free. The last step is a short soak in water and Downey. This helps remove any residual degreaser and really helps in fluffing the feathers. I then towel dry and into Coleman Fuel. Half hour and hand dry in a tub of corn cob grit and puffed borax. I then blow the corn cob grit from the inside of the skin with my compressor, then use a hair dryer on the feather side. Sew or hot glue any holes, then mist the skin on the inside with Stop Rot, insert the body and bag over night. Here is the Hoodie being roughed in that I posted previously on how I re build the wings. Keep it coming guys!
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Re: Wing bones (fixing and repairing)

Postby Pete-pec » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:32 pm

Pretty little hoodie!
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Re: Got any tips of the trade ?

Postby chesapeaketaxi » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:30 pm

Med Vet, is a great place to buy all sorts of stuff that can be used in bird mounting. Great service and cheap!
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Re: Got any tips of the trade ?

Postby Pete-pec » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:34 pm

I have bought from there Bruce.
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Re: Got any tips of the trade ?

Postby chesapeaketaxi » Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:09 pm

Pete, they can sure save you bucks! I buy boxes of Monoject syringes from them, as well as a bunch of other stuff. I use the conforming stretch gauze bandage rolls for over-wrapping necks, and it is great for holding feathers in place while birds are drying
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Re: Got any tips of the trade ?

Postby Pete-pec » Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:17 pm

Lol, I have a source for needles and syringes. My price is right, but my source remains private. All my stuff is used. Never seen any possibility of blood born pathogens, because these needles are used solely in IV lines, or for saline, so they are flushed.
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Re: Got any tips of the trade ?

Postby Pete-pec » Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:25 pm

Some of the needles are up to 14 gauge to 24 gauge. The needles are very long. Awesome for running masters blend all the way up the toes, and the larger gauge for injecting the head and cheeks.
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14 gauge for cheeks
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2 ounce (60 mil) for injecting everywhere else
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Re: Got any tips of the trade ?

Postby duxrus » Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:43 pm

You can order syringes for places like Walgreens and Publix for about 20$ per box of 100 for 3cc sizes. If you buy them from an open box they will charge you more.

Pete, I am the opposite on needle length. The longer ones tend to bend too much for my likings. I normally use 1/2" to 3/4".
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Re: Got any tips of the trade ?

Postby Pete-pec » Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:33 pm

Free! Lol

I like their flexibility. I can ride them right along the bone all the way to the heal. 101 ways buddy! ;-)
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Re: Got any tips of the trade ?

Postby duxrus » Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:47 pm

Or in my case right through the birds toe and into my hand :eek: :censored: :eek:
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Re: Got any tips of the trade ?

Postby Pete-pec » Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:42 pm

I'm pretty "hand"y myself!
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