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Taxidermy.Net Forum  |  Taxidermy Discussion Categories  |  Bird Taxidermy  |  Topic: Freeze drying vs. conventional mounting in Competition « previous next »
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Author Topic: Freeze drying vs. conventional mounting in Competition  (Read 3491 times)
waterfowl-artist
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« on: February 01, 2010, 09:35:43 AM »

   First off, let me say that I am by no means an expert on freeze drying animals ! Recently, a state assn. changed their rules on freeze drying specimens.  All freeze dried specimens will be put in the same category as a coventionally mounted specimen  " This will eliminate any possible prejustices some judges have concerning freeze dried specimens". There will no longer be a freeze dried catagory in their competitions!
  I have a few questions and opinions on freeze drying. I do know with freeze drying,(I am going to use birds as an example, as birds are all I mount) you would not have to invert the wings and clean away the tissue. You would not have to inject the feet for shrinkage. I do know that most of the fat would need to be removed, and a manikin would be used for the body, and wired as as usual. Shrinkage is all but eliminated in a freeze dryer, what you put in the machine you take out ! No feather adjustment needs to be made, as an air dried bird would need . It seems to me that alot of shortcuts can be bought by freeze drying a bird. leaving the real work up to the person air drying their specimen. I do not own a freeze drier,(way to expensive) and if I did, I dont believe I would use it for a competition ! Ive have been told its only a drying tool, and I would totally disagree. In my opinion(and I am far from an expert on this subject) freeze drying has to many advatages over conventionally mounted birds, and they should remain in their own catagory for competitions! I beleive this is a bad rule , and needs to be changed back to the way it was ! I am just curious on other taxidermists opinions on this matter !
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Paul C
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2010, 10:20:24 AM »

You have a LOT of misconceptions about freeze drying---especially with birds.
First of all a freeze dried bird is NEVER going to look as good as a conventionally mounted one and I don't care who is doing the freeze drying.

IF someone were foolish enough to try to compete with a freeze dried bird the feet would definitely need to be injected.  Not removing tissue in the case of waterfowl would result in grease stains on everything.  Not removing ALL of the fat on the skin would result in the same grease issues.  You can't freeze dry fat!
Posing a bird for freeze dry presents its own set of problems.  With a conventionally mounted skin you have plenty of room to work and have a skin that is pliable and easily moved.  With a specimen for freeze dry you have none of that.  What you DO have is a dead carcass that resists everything you're trying to do.  A dead carcass cannot be made to look like a live one without a LOT of work.  If you think there are a "lot of shortcuts that can be bought by freeze drying a bird" I suggest you take some lessions in freeze dry prep and try one yourself.
I have judged a lot of competitions all over the country and have had the opportunity to judge a few freeze dried specimens.  I have never seen one that even came close to beating a well done conventional mount.

I own a big Northstar Freeze dryer and I would never freeze dry a bird for competition---or a client.  And that includes the tiny song birds.  Conventional mounts are simply much easier to do right.

For what its worth....if you're that worried about a freeze dried bird beating you in a competition you're probably going to get beat by a lot more conventionally mounted birds as well.  Very few freeze dried birds ever see a competition room for the reasons I've just stated above.

See me at the convention if you want to talk more about freeze drying vs. conventionally mounting birds.
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waterfowl-artist
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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2010, 10:50:48 AM »

 I made this post not as an axpert on freeze drying, but mostly about the assn. rule change ! I am just trying to figure out why this rule change was made, after all of these years.   I am sure politics played a part . Can a bird be freeze dried without the wings being cleaned ? Of course they can, not alot of fat to be removed there ! Even if the bird was mounted conventionally, why would anyone use the freeze dryer if it had no advantage ?  Shrinkage of course ! I have always done well controlling shrinkage in a bird, but you always have some, no matter what. I have entered many competitiuons and have done well, and yes I have learned alot from them. Do you know anyone who has won a competition freeze drying a bird (even in part )?
 I am sure I could learn alot more about freeze drying, but in my book as well as many others there is a difference using a freeze dryer !  Why do people use freeze dried turkey heads, virtually no shrinkage and they look great !I have the greatest respect for my state assn, but I feel the need to speak up about this rule. Alot of other members I have talked to feel the same way, even some judges ! I am not trying to make trouble , just expressing my views and opinions on this subject .   
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Paul C
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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2010, 11:20:47 AM »

Just so you're aware of the "politics" behind that rule---I was on the Board that made the original rule where a separate Freeze dry Division was established.  It was done because of mammals and the fact that some people enjoyed entering freeze dried specimens into the conventional categories in an effort to deliberately embarrass a judge.  It was also implemented because the critique for a freeze dried specimen is totally different from a conventionally mounted specimen----I don't freeze dry squirrels the same way I conventionally mount them so how could my critique be the same?

What you are talking about (I think) is the use of a freeze dryer as a drying tool whereby a conventionally mounted specimen is put into the dryer just to dry.  That is NOT freeze drying.  That is a creative use of resources.  You can accomplish the same thing by putting your mounted duck into a frost free freezer for several months---I know---I do it.

Let me put it another way.....You and I are competing with open mouth deer.  You choose to cast all your mouth parts using the very best materials and technology available.  Your parts come out flawless (as expected).  I, however, do not have access to degassing machines and can't afford to spend thousands on molding and casting products so I build my parts from scratch using epoxy and clay.  I will have to do a lot of work to get my mouth parts to look like yours---but that is my choice.   
Following your line of thought again should we prohibit anyone from casting their own bird heads, bird feet and/or bodies because that is not fair?  Should cast parts have their own division?
If someone chooses to use a freeze drier to dry a conventionally mounted bird it is just as acceptable as using it for a conventionally mounted fish or using cast parts on a deer---its a smart use of resources.

If you're worried that use of a freeze dryer on a conventionally mounted bird gives an unfair advantage to someone smart enough to use it you should see me at the convention.  I can help you with your shrinkage problems and you don't need a freeze dryer to do it.

See ya there.
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waterfowl-artist
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2010, 12:12:58 PM »

   OK,  You more or less said it " freeze dry and coventionally mounted squirrels are mounted totally different, so how could the critique be the same". With the new rule everything is judged the same way, right? How can that be?  Interesting ! As far as your drying tool goes, why would you even use it if there was no advantage ? The big one being shinkage is eliminated ! Ask this again, do you know anyone who has used a freeze dryer on a competition piece and won ??? If so, was the entire bird mounted conventionally, or just part of it ?
  Lets take a Wood duck for example, one we will air dry, the other in the freeze dryer(Take a few pictures of both). We have a nice puffy looking crest on both birds. Leave them both alone till totally dry. On the air dried bird, the feathers went flat down on the head ruining your nice puffy look . On your freeze dried bird,ti looks exactly like the picture you took, no shrinkage, no skin movement ! So, which bird would take more time and talent to acheive this nice puffy look ! Of course the air dried bird, and why shouldnt that person be given credit where credit is due? 
   Like I said, I do pretty well controlling shrinkage, but you always have some  ! This being my opinion, I will stick by it. Sure, I never stop learning, and most of my well remembered lessons come from competitions. There are alot of other people who feel the same way, and I wish some of them would speak up.
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Nancy C
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2010, 12:47:29 PM »

If a wood duck is properly fleshed and if caulking is used in the head then the crest is going to stay exactly where you put it. If it goes flat or distorted when it dries then something was wrong on the inside, underneath the feathers.
The same goes for other parts of the body.
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byrdman
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2010, 01:11:52 PM »

Paul C...you have just never seen a properlly mounted freeze dried bird.....and freeze drying can also distort birds if you dont know what you are doing....try putting a pc of closed cell foam"neck material" in a freeze dryer...and put some critter clay in one......using freeze dry is just a tool and you have to know how to use it RIGHT.....its not allways a time saver...sometimes its more work to get good results.....as modern taxidermists our goal should be to produce the most accurate life-like specimen we can.....whatever the method.....freeze dry bans in competitions are done by those that are simply unimformed,same goes for using such things as fake bills,cast feet/noses...plastic teeth......the list goes on....any competition should be "open" to any technique the artist chooses to use ...period
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Paul C
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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2010, 01:28:56 PM »

Nancy already answered part of your question so I will answer the rest.
Yes I have judged birds in competition that were freeze dried.  I have also judged birds that were conventionally mounted and then dried in a dryer.  Birds that are freeze dried in their entirety, in MY opinion, will never beat a properly mounted conventionally mounted bird because of the reasons I already mentioned earlier.  I will say it again, if a person chooses to dry his conventionally mounted bird, fish or mammal in a freeze dryer I see it only as a wise use of a tool---and almost every competition in the country sees it the same way.  It is still conventionally mounted.

Why don't you come right out and name names and point out actual situations you keep referring to instead of beating around the bush with your "questions".  It would save us both a lot of time and everyone else a lot of reading and decifering....
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Paul C
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« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2010, 01:31:32 PM »

Paul C...you have just never seen a properlly mounted freeze dried bird.....and freeze drying can also distort birds if you dont know what you are doing....try putting a pc of closed cell foam"neck material" in a freeze dryer...and put some critter clay in one......using freeze dry is just a tool and you have to know how to use it RIGHT.....its not allways a time saver...sometimes its more work to get good results.....as modern taxidermists our goal should be to produce the most accurate life-like specimen we can.....whatever the method.....freeze dry bans in competitions are done by those that are simply unimformed,same goes for using such things as fake bills,cast feet/noses...plastic teeth......the list goes on....any competition should be "open" to any technique the artist chooses to use ...period

Byrdman... I have seen properly mounted freeze dried birds (even done a few) but, as I said, IN MY OPINION a freeze dried bird will have a very tough time beating a well mounted conventionally done bird.  I think you and I are saying the same thing here as I agree with everything you said---in fact, I think I already said it.
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byrdman
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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2010, 01:52:06 PM »

So I still do not understand the prejuduce against freeze dry in competitions? you might as well ban fake bills,feet,plastic teeth/tongues......how about urethane forms that you "bought"......to me a competition is only fair if you allow any method...it is the skill being judged ..not the products used...that is why you do not see the very best taxidermists competing......
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RDA
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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2010, 01:58:23 PM »

this debate has been going on FOREVER..... :D  I seem to remember a certain brown trout at a certain natls  long ago,,,  being dissed on for freeze dried fins  ,,,,,,,by the same guys who were using cast heads on their birds!!     :D   Ive bought freeze dried turkey heads which have varied greatly in the amount of shrinkage...  Ive seen freeze dried pets which resembled mummies more than mounts.......I COMMONLY   keep sets of bird feet posed,  in a freezer for a year or two to use on comp pieces...This is in essence freeze drying.....    personnally  I think conventional mounting is alot less of a hassle.  I too had thought that freeze drying should have its own catagory,  and some states do   some dont.  But the fact is  that it doesnt seem to skew the results as  those who mount something well,  no matter the technique  will get  the best ofs.....
« Last Edit: February 01, 2010, 02:13:09 PM by RDA » Logged

NEVADA WILDLIFE STUDIO

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waterfowl-artist
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2010, 02:48:25 PM »

  I was simply pointing out things with this new rule I didnt agree with, and I do not get personal. I never even mentioned the state this happened in , and I wont ! If I see something wrong, and goes against my beleifs, I speak my peace. I may not always be right, but at least I have the balls to speak my peace ! Thats alot more than many members can say. Paul, the only reason I asked if you judged a freeze dreid mount, was to see if you really knew anything about it. I dont know you, but I have heard your name many times ! Well you have a freeze drier , so  I guess you are knowledable. But I seem to hit sore spot, and didnt mean to piss people off. I had asimple concern over a rule change, not meaning to open a can of worms. I still have my opinion, and I will stick by it ! I simply stated my case, ans wanted other taxidermists opinions. Seems you get alot of opinionated people who dont open their mouths. Thanks everyone for the input!
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Paul C
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2010, 03:03:35 PM »

Thanks Ron---very eloquently put.

Byrdman, the "prejudice against freeze dry" you mention is rather common among judges.  I have judged more than a few competitions and you would be amazed at the number of judges who brutally dislike freeze dry.  I'm mainly referring to mammals and I think that prejudice comes from the fact that a judge that has never done freeze dry but is forced to judge and critique it is somewhat at a loss.  If you don't understand the method used to put something together how can you give that person a competent critique?  That said, the PTA established a "Freeze Dry" Category to address the critique problem I just mentioned and other issues which had become prevalent at the time---(some competitors deliberately trying to embarrass judges).  I don't know the reasoning the current PTA Board used to eliminate the Freeze Dry division as I'm no longer on the Board but I do know that the FD division had been poorly supported in recent years and the necessity of paying an actual "Freeze dry judge" certainly outweighed the few pieces he was paid to judge.  However, as a past Competiton Chairman, I can see several problems on the horizon with this new rule (this thread for example) but that is something the Board will have to deal with.
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Paul C
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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2010, 03:09:14 PM »

  I was simply pointing out things with this new rule I didnt agree with, and I do not get personal. I never even mentioned the state this happened in , and I wont ! If I see something wrong, and goes against my beleifs, I speak my peace. I may not always be right, but at least I have the balls to speak my peace ! Thats alot more than many members can say. Paul, the only reason I asked if you judged a freeze dreid mount, was to see if you really knew anything about it. I dont know you, but I have heard your name many times ! Well you have a freeze drier , so  I guess you are knowledable. But I seem to hit sore spot, and didnt mean to piss people off. I had asimple concern over a rule change, not meaning to open a can of worms. I still have my opinion, and I will stick by it ! I simply stated my case, ans wanted other taxidermists opinions. Seems you get alot of opinionated people who dont open their mouths. Thanks everyone for the input!

By your own admission Waterfowl Artist, you were referencing something that "happened" at a prior show which means you had some knowledge of the can of worms you were opening.  You didn't "piss" me off---I love debating stuff and its been a long time since I've engaged in a good debate on here----George always seems to agree with me now so he's no help..LOL

I hope Ron, Nancy and myself have alleviated some of your "concerns" about this new rule change.  From a Bird or Waterfowl Category perspective it means absolutely nothing.  From a small mammal standpoint----that's another issue.

See ya at the show
Paul
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mwtax
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« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2010, 04:21:09 PM »

Quite frankly I can't see why the "critique" would be much different in either case. Either things are mounted or freeze dried correctly or they are not. As for judges being "embarrassed" by freeze dried specimens,seems pretty humorous actually, so maybe a better explanation would be that a "lack of knowledge' has been exposed??
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