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Real Skull Question

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Mikexnxike01, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. Mikexnxike01

    Mikexnxike01 Guest

    Hey, I have done about 8 birds so far and i use the real skull. I guess i have 2 questions.....(1) How should i clean the skull so they are free of meat and (2) What material do yuou use to fill it back in. Ive used clay b4 but it wont stick due to the mineral spirits being wet. THANKS FOR ANY HELP!!!!!
  2. Pat-M

    Pat-M New Member

    Mike, I'm not an expert but I have done quite a few ducks. You "real experts" please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm constantly learning from your postings.

    Using the real scull is the only way I do my ducks anymore.

    1. How to clean it? : I remove the enitre scull by cutting around the bill and peeling the hide back over the head, unless it's a merganzer. I'm assuming your doing it the same was. I open the back of the head and remove all brain matter. As far as the rest of the meat & eyes I just keep picking away with my knife and tweezers untill it's all gone. Be sure and reach down in the nasal passages and get all that stuff out of there. Wire wheel what you can and then I soak it in true tan bird tan. I don't remove the lower mandible, but I'll leave the tendants in tact. I like doing the head first so it has time to dry out. Over night if possible. If your pressed for time use a hair blower.

    2. I use the clay that hardens to rebuild the eye sockets, sides of head, and the transition from the scull to the artificial neck. I use bondo on the bottom of the lower mandible and around the bill so my glue has a hard surface to adhere to when placing the hide back to the head. I fill the brain cavity with hot glue to set the wire from the neck. Use a slower setting glue for around the eyes so you have time to work it.

    I don't use mineral spirits.

    Hope this helps


  3. Matt

    Matt Active Member

    I don't use the real skull, it's my easier in my oppinion to use an artificial head. You can skin your birds and prep them, put back in the freezer ready to mount. Then you can prep and paint your bills and have the head completely ready to mount ahead of time. I order alot of heads and prep and paint them. Then you have the heads on hand and ready to go when the birds come in. No shrinkage or rebuilding skulls, just nice full looking bills everytime.
  4. Becky P

    Becky P One must believe the glass is half full.

    Try artificial heads. I will never go back to using real heads. With the artificial heads you do not have to worry about shrinkage and all of your painting will be completed before mounting so no need to worry about overspray on the feathers. Try just one, they are well worth the money (which isn't much anyway). You won't regret it.
    I prefer Cory Coruthers', but any of them are better than trying to get the real thing to look decent. Good luck.:)
  5. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    Mike...after you have rebuilt the head to your liking, why not make a mold of it and cast your own heads. You pretty much have a cast head by the time you finish working on your real one anyhow.With the cast head you won't see any bill- shrinkage to re-build later. After a while you'll have a collection of head molds that will save you time and money. Good luck....JL