A few days ago I posted a thread about how my deer came back from the taxidermist with a very skinny neck, not close to what it actually was. Many of you responded with suggestions and comments, and I appreciate it. It measured 7x17.5 after mounting, and he said his measurments were 7x19. Anyhow on the phone, he told me to bring it back and he'd fix it. So I did, yesterday. I also brought all my pictures of the deer for him to see, for what it was worth.
So I showed up, and we began to talk about it. I showed him the pictures and he said WHOA...now I understand why you are not happy. He said that he thinks the main reason it didn't end up correct is because he didn't have a swell measurment for it on his ppwk. ? I said why not? He said, when you brought it in, was it still on the neck meat? I said I skun it down as far as I could, not sure how much neck meat was there. I asked him why did it matter? He told me if the necks not there, he can't really measure the swell. I said you don't measure it off the meat? He said no, he can't really because he doesn't cut them down the back all the way, so it's hard to get an accurate measurement off the meat. He likes to do it on the meat and that is usually close enough.
Then he said he'll take care of it for me, but it's gonna cost me $75 for him to fix it to cover the materials. WTF? I said why? I didn't mess up. He said since the neck meat wasn't there, I should have given him the measurements. AM I THE PROFESSIONAL TAXIDERMIST, OR IS HE? Good lord, what if I brought him a fully skun out hide...then what would he have done?
It still didn't explain why the deer was mounted on a form 2" to small. He said it must have been a mixup in the forms. No kidding. Anyhow I told him I wasn't really interested in paying the $75 because it was not my fault it was wrong. Honestly, if it was just mounted on a 19" form, even not a full rut form, I'd probably have just kept it. But it was much smaller, and no rut swell at all.
I asked him if he could reuse the cape as some of you had suggested before, he said he doubted it because the smaller form was smaller over all, and he didn't think he had enough hide to cover the form(in the back)...and wasn't sure how well he could get it unstapled off the form and not tear it up too much. I can understand that. He said he wouldn't charge me for a new cape if it needed one. LOL
It gets better. He asked me if I was ok with paying for the materials. I said I wasn't, it wasn't my fault. He kept trying to convince me that if I would have given him the measurements when I brought it in, we wouldn't be in this situation. WOW, my respect was flying out the door rapidly. He said, well if you'll just pay for the form, I'll redo it. and I quote..."that is a good deal, you'll be saving about $275, beacause I won't charge you for the labor". I told him to just fix it and call me when it was done, and I left.
I guess I'll take my lumps and pony up the $50 for the form or whatever it will be. But that will be the last he sees of me or anyone I know.
Am I in the wrong here?
Sorry for the long thread, I'm just a little frustrated. Thanks.
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If he said the neck measurements were 7x19 then he screwed up by mounting it on a smaller form, period. I can understand trying to get more inches out of a cape by stretching it to fit a larger form, but to put a cape on a smaller form than necessary is suspect. Did you pick out a form or did he just use what he had laying around?
Sounds like he should be remounting free of charge... You're already out more time, not to mention the frustration involved with this mess. Best of luck to you, I know your trophy means a lot to you.
The guy is a crook. He lied to you. Measurements are taken from the cape after it is removed from the neck/skull. I measure the inside of the neck circumference at the smallest spot behind the ears. I then take a tip of nose to the corner of eye measurement. That's all you need for ordering the correct form from most outlets. I let my customers choose the pose and style, and order the form based on thier desire and the mesurements. With the tanning process I use I get lots of streach and unless there's lots of damage I can usually mount a cape to a rut style form with lots of swell. I usually make recomendations though to customers based on the time of year they harvest the deer as to whether the neck should have a rut swell.
I understand your gripe. I have capes brought to me every year that are already caped out. I have no problem getting the measurements I need. As for the taxidermist, I dont know, I think if you offer a customer a product and he/she is not satisfied, then you should do whatever you can to keep that customer. I probably would have remounted it for free. For the taxidermist, he loses the cost of the form plus shipping and a extra hide, which he probably has some he didn't have to pay for anyway. Then theres his time invested. I think thats a pretty small cost to keep a good customer satisfied.
When I dropped it off, I said I wanted a semi-sneak, left turn. That was it. I actually dropped of 3 at the same time, and told him make them all the same. Didn't even look in the book at forms. It ended up that the form he ordered was a McKenzie 6500 if I remember right. Obviously he just screwed up and put it on the wrong size form. Why not just admit it, and suck up the cost of the new form? Heck he'll still have the other form that will probably fit something he will get in someday. I guess he'd rather lose a customer, and everyone that I could bring him. I've sent him plenty of folks over the last 3 years, and hooked him up with my good friend that does processing. He has sent him a pile of folks as well. I can't wait to make that call to my buddy. He won't send him another thing...I can guarantee that.
When we initially talked on the phone after I got the mount home, he said bring it back and I'll take care of it. Didn't mention any money. I don't believe he is a crook, more like he's just being a little greedy. Feels he should get paid for the time he's gonna have to dump into fixing it. Or maybe he honestly feels that it is my fault, and he's just doing me a favor. :( Who knows.
The biggest thing that has me baffled...why in the world would he expect me to give him the measurements? He is the expert, not me. If Heck I could have said it measures 25" at the neck and 30" at the swell. He's supposed to take my word for it? The weird thing is, he mounted another buck for me 3 years ago. I caped it the exact same way. Left lots of hide behind the shoulders, and skun it down as far as I could. It turned out fine....big neck. Looks great. I said something about that...he said "maybe we just got lucky on that one". I asked him how he can get an accurate measurement measuring outside the skin, on the meat. He pulled out his tape and wrapped it around the deer he was working on and said he just pulls it tight. It's usually close enough.
I just think it takes alot of balls to blame it on me. He'd have been much better off, and probably still had my respect if he'd have just left that whole "you should have done..." part out.
Like several other taxidermists on here I get lots of deer in each year that are skinned to the atlas joint and a lot of them are completely caped off the head. I order a form I THINK will fit and after I get it shaved I try it on. If it doesn't fit I order a bigger or smaller form--whichever is needed. Your taxidermist KNEW the cape was too big for the form the minute he slipped it on. That is, if it was your cape in the first place. I never go out of my way to bash poor taxidermists. Its against my nature and my principles and besides, the bad taxidermists do a good enough of making themselves look bad WITHOUT my help.
Take your loss as a lession. If you're happy enough with his work the extra money shouldn't matter. Personally, at the price you paid that is the kind of thing you'll run into occasionally.
You get what you pay for.
Do you read what some of these guys in here write sometimes? Theres some measuring formulas that, while the guy says "works for him", scare me! I know it wouldnt work for me! We always measure the neck meat after caping, as its what we are replacing with a form. If not, we use the cape as a pattern, and measure it. Ever look at a shirt, and check the size on the tag? What do you do next? Yep, hold the shirt out and look it over for size. That shirt fits a size person much the same as a persons size dictates what size the shirt should be. No different with taxidermy. As for you the customer providing the measurements? NO WAY! I dont even use them if the guys DO offer them to me. I need to see for myself.
I dont think that taxidermist is cheating you or is a crook. I think from what I can see (and Im not there) that hes doing his best to cover his butt. Dont pay the money to mount it twice. IF, and I say if, you decide to redo it or pay additional money, it should be with a better taxidermist. Unfortunately, a lesson learned. There are good guys out there, so dont loose faith!
Yes, it was my cape. It had split in the ear, and a small scar on the chest(fighting I would guess). I agree that he had to know something wasn't right.
I've always been happy with his work. Actually he does very nice work. And he charges for it as well, he's not cheap. He charges $350 this year for deer heads. That is about the going rate where I live for the "good" taxidermists. There are a few cheap ones around($200-$250), but I steer clear of them. I agree, you get what you pay for...it's just that in my case, I didn't.
Like I said, I'll take my lumps and move on. Lesson learned.
I ordered the Breakthrough Deer Manual and Sallie's video just a short while ago. The next head I mount will be either done right or screwed up by me. It's something I've wanted to learn for about 15yrs, just haven't made the time to. This whole thing may turn out to be for the best...it was just what I needed to push me over the edge. So you folks may see me around some, asking newbie questions now and then. Hopefully you won't mind.
I was typing when you posted I guess.
I agree with what you said. He is covering his butt. Why not be a man and admit you messed up? I would, but that's me. If he would have, I would still have some respect for him, and would probably still recommend him. But for him to basically blame the whole thing on me....bye bye.
i was also spurred to learn taxidermy as a result of being frustrated with another taxidermists screw-ups and incredibly slow turn around time.
I wonder how common that is? I'll admit it isn't easy, but it's not rocket science either
I think everyone has a customer problem from time to time. But the thing as Bill mentioned this so called formulas are B.S.
A 19 inch neck is not all that big, even for the poor starved deer where I now live.
Its pretty easy to measure the deer, square up the cape and using a ruler, insert into the skin, times it by 2. 10 inches and since you have two sides to the skin would equal 20 inches.
Another thing these taxidermist could do, would be to have a 19, a 21 and a 23 inch form on hand and test fit the cape. its then easy to figure out which size form is correct even if they are not math wizzzzzes.
I think you are already having miss givings with that taxidermist maybe you should shop around a bit before doing anything else.
That theres a great many guys out there doing taxidermy as a result of a poor exchange with another taxidermist. Im sure my slower turn around times have started some taxidermy careers! Thats just the way it goes, and theres plenty of work to go around, to be sure.
I guess ultimately, maybe it was not the best choice. However, all I had to go on was past experiences with him. I had never had any problems with the animals he has done for me before. I guess you just have to go on faith, and it didn't work out for me this time.
I guess the biggest problem I have with this whole situation is the simple fact that he wouldn't own up to making the mistake, and offer to correct it no questions asked. It has always amazed me how EGO can drive people to do things way outside of what is right. Like I said earlier, he does good work, and if he would have just admitted that he screwed up and offered to make it right...I would still have respect for him, and probably still refer folks to him. Even the best of us makes mistakes, character comes from admitting that and handling it the right way. Nobody on earth is perfect.
As far as career's being sparked out of frustration....that's too funny in this case. A few years ago when I killed my first ever wall hanger....I was shopping around for a taxidermist. While visting his shop, he told me his taxidermy career started as a result of a bad experience with another taxidermist.
LOL, it's funny how quickly we forget. :)
Thanks to all for the support, and I look forward to learning more about taxidermy from you nice folks :)
If anyone has some good suggestions for a (soon to be) newbie, I would appreciate anything you have to offer. I included my email address above. Thanks again!
and i think that you may wish you hadnt let him "repair" it. im not to sure how pulling the staples from the back would "tear up" the cape so that he couldnt reuse it. i dont know how he could reuse it even if he did get it off the form. i cant see how he could get the whole thing rehydrated and all the glue off of it to get it back to a workable state. but pulling the staples would surely be the easiest part.
if it were me, i would get it back from him before he screws it up even more. if you are going to get into taxidermy, start on that one. buy a cape in the for sale category and go from there. and if you decide to leave it there and let him fix it..... if he trys to charge you $50 for the form kick him in the balls and grab the mount and run. $40 tops and thats if he charges YOU for shipping.
next he will probably tell you he cant reuse the glass eyes because they dissolve when you remove the antlers. so you will have to pay another $25 for them.
The whole did you bring in the neck meat thing. If he measures deer by the neck meat he probably has a lot of complaints. As a deer that is hung by the head/horns for the cleaning process the body weight of the deer stretches down the circumference of the neck, thus giving a false measurement.