First Blacktail/Eye problems

Submitted by Brad on 5/23/99. ( )

I went through a class on Taxidermy but, I didn't have a game head to mount so I stayed with the ducks. Now I have 2 black tails in my freezer already tanned, and I'm having trouble with the eye's on the manikin, actually the clay around the eyes! I have the eyes set right but can't seem to get the clay right for the upper & lower lids????

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Blacktail Eyes

This response submitted by George Roof on 5/23/99. ( )

The real key to any deer's eye is to use good reference material. It took me years for that simple lesson to stick. Use reference EVERY time, not just occasionally. You'd be surprised at what you forget.
As for clay, I roll out a piece of clay about the size of a pencil, like Dennis Behn explains in the McKenzie tape on mounting. Cut it in 3 pieces. Take the first piece and lay it under the eye and press it in. Then with a sculpting tool shave off any excess that is exposed outside the normal contour of the manniken. Avoid a "fat" eye. Lay a piece across the top of the eye so that the tail end of it cuts down across the back edge of the eye. Press this piece into postion as the lower edge of the upper eyelid. Take the 3rd piece and lay it on top of the second. Then mold it so as to conform with the top of the eyebrow on the manniken.
The process is a lot like pinochle. You'll never learn to play by watching. You'll have to do it to get your own feel. Practice on your manniken until you come up with a method you like. If you learn a better way later, change. Just keep at it till you are satisfisfied.

Blacktail Help

This response submitted by Rich G. on 5/26/99. ( )

Brad, on most blacktail forms I end up drilling the eye sockets
a little bit deeper with a spade bit. This gives me a bit more
lee-way in my setting. The eye itself should protrude beyond
the lower socket rim about 1/8" or so. Make sure the upper lid
overhangs the eye enough so that no glass is visible when viewed
from directly above. If using reference photos, use only
blacktail pictures. A good eye cast is handy to have as well.
Have fun. Rich

Thanks guys!

This response submitted by Brad on 5/30/99. ( )

Thanks for the advice. Larry thanks for the phone call I will definately
take you up on the offer after the baby arrives!

I have run into another problem with the cape I think it shrunk!
I am using the smallest available manikin and come up short at the top of the manikin, I have plenty at the brisket but have about a 3" gap at the top any ideas????

Gap Help

This response submitted by Rich G. on 6/1/99. ( )

Hi Brad,
As you sew up your cape, scoot the seam up towards the head
as you go. Sew a few inches, apply some form paste under that
portion of the seam, and slide the cape forward a bit. You
will end up doing more of this on an upright pose than a sneak.
By the time you get to the top of the shoulders the seam should
come together perfectly. Am curious about the type of tan you
used and the make and size of your mannekin. May be able to
help further. Rich


This response submitted by Brad on 6/1/99. ( )

I had another taxidermist tan the cape and he used Lutan F from Research and the form was from mike Frazier also from Research.

I don't know if this is the case but I took some additional measurments and I think the problem may be that the form is to small!
I actually have enough cape to OVERLAP on the neck .

If I put the brisket in place there is enough cape to go around but then it's bunched up through out the neck.


Mannekin Sizing

This response submitted by Rich G. on 6/2/99. ( )

If the face and shoulders fit the form o.k. then you may have
a slight to moderate swell to the neck. The form may need to be
built out some. Mike Frazier's standard forms have a nice
neck for an early fall buck (generally speaking) but lack the
"heaft" of a later season neck. If your form is indeed too small
then go with something a bit bigger according to your measurments.

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