How To: Use a Sewing Palm

Sometimes, sewing up the seams on a taxidermy mount can be difficult.  From time to time, all taxidermists come across a tanned hide, that for various reasons, can be extra thick and/or extremely tough, almost impossible to push a needle through.  A sharp, 3-cornered needle helps, but in addition if you have never tried a Sewing Palm, you need to give one a try!

However,  having said that, I have found that for me, one quick adaptation makes this rig really work.  It’s all about the location of the Palm on your hand. Let me explain this by first showing how the Sewing Palm is “supposed” to be used:

This photo shows the Sewing Palm slipped over the thumb, as advised by all manufacturers.  Below is another view of the intended location on ones hand…

So far so good.  But the huge problem for me was how the needle is held to make it work.  See below:

This is how all directions and videos show to grip the needle using a Sewing Palm.  If you can make this work sewing up a deer mount, then life is good.  But it was WAY to clumsy for me and I just could not get it to work.  I guess though, where there is a will, there can be a way!  I changed the location of the Palm on my hand by slipping the thumb hole over my index finger instead of my thumb:

The Palm does not, of course, fit perfectly in this position. So you might want to do a bit of trimming purely for comfort’s sake.

But behold!  At least now I could get, what’s was for me, the right grip on the needle.  See below how I can now hold the needle naturally between my thumb and index finger, and sew away!

So if you’ve never tried one, give it a try and I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how painless it is to push a needle through the toughest of hides.  And if you’ve tried one, and didn’t like it, hopefully you will find this grip re-location to be of help.

Mule Deer – Face Studies

Here are a few Mule Deer study photos to help with eyes, nose, and ear positions on a mount…

Read the rest of this entry »

Mule Deer – More Wrinkles

More wrinkle possibilities on this deer…

Mule Deer – Sharp Turn

Another sharp turned deer, this time a mule deer, to help in understanding wrinkles:

Whitetail Deer – Sharp turn

I have decided to add a new category to this blog and that is “Study Photos”.  My goal is to post pictures of live animals that I believe will aid in your taxidermy.  So if you’ve ever wondered what the wrinkle side of a sharp turned deer (like an 8900 wall pedestal) might, or even could look like,  this is it!  It definitely shows the possibilities.

How To: Add Turn To a Form-Part 2

A while back I wrote about adding more turn to a form.  In that specific case we wanted my wife’s Mule Deer looking our way as we came into the room where it was to hang in a particular “spot”. The idea was to customize the form for the situation. Perhaps you might have a customer with a similar problem.  Only one place on his trophy room wall to put a certain head, except he wants it looking at him when he sits on his couch…  could be any kind of scenario, but to accommodate this you would need to alter the form.  For our particular deer I decided to lean the neck from the shoulders rather than alter further up the neck.  You can go back and see the entire process by going to “Categories”, then “Taxidermy” on the side bar and scroll down to “How To: Add Turn To A  Form – Part 1”.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Zealand 2019 – Part 1

At Safari Club in 2018 my wife Connie and I bid on an auction hunt for 2 Sika deer for two hunters, with Shane Quinn of Alpine Hunting in New Zealand . We were fortunate enough to obtain the hunt and the first thing we did was to add a Fallow deer for Connie and a Sambar for me, as I wanted to sculpture a new form.  We set the date for the summer of 2019 and little did I know just how great this hunt would turn out to be!

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Prepare Pronghorn Horns

The Pronghorn Antelope is known as the only horned animal to actually shed its horns.  While this may be an interesting fact, it can be problematic for the taxidermist.  With other horned game, since they never shed, their horns fit more snugly to the inner bone core of the skull.  Once you remove the horns from the skull for preservation, they can generally be re-fitted for the mounting process, without too much difficulty.

But the Pronghorn, because it does shed, the inner bone core is covered with a thick, heavy gristle. If the gristle is not removed, you could be asking for possible odor problems and even bug infestation.  So to properly mount a Pronghorn antelope, you must remove the horns and replace the gristle with Bondo.

Read the rest of this entry »

How To: Adjust For a Missing Skullplate

In a recent blog I added more turn to a mule deer form.  As you might have noticed the antlers were attached to the form as I did the alteration.  I felt this would be best in order to better observe how the finished mount might look.  But as I attempted to set the antlers a whole new problem arose.  So I thought it might be good to step backwards and show what I encountered and the fairly easy fix, should you ever come up with a similar situation.

Read the rest of this entry »


I shot this Bushbuck a whole bunch of years ago when it showed up quite unexpectedly at a waterhole in South Africa.  He was ultimately too jumpy to actually drink but I was able to get an arrow out a small side window in the blind as he ducked back into the brush from which he had come.  When I told my PH what had happened, his first reaction was to ask “are you sure it was a Bushbuck”, since no Bushbuck had ever been seen in this location in the past.  It was, and here is the mount on McKenzie form BU-1442.



Older posts «