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Copper Wire for bird work

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Ptrrorem, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. Ptrrorem

    Ptrrorem New Member

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    Anyone have exerience with copper wire in bird mounts? A buddy gave me what looks to be about 12-14ga copper wire he stripped from some conduit and I'm wondering if copper will react to any bird tans or borax or discolor wings and such. Looks perfect for wings and handles like annealed wire. I know copper has antibacterial properties but not sure if it will react adversely to other chemicals or compounds. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. jmgriggs

    jmgriggs Distinguished Wildlife Creations, LLC

    I use copper wire in the wings and neck. It is a whole lot easier to work with and I get more fluid bends when shaping the neck than with annealed wire. Copper is sturdy enough for those applications but not for support. Been using copper for years on all of my birds and have never had a problem. Hope this helps. ;)
     

  3. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Copper was the standard of years gone by, but the change in bird taxidermy came long before copper became such a valuable commodity. Copper reacts violently to acids, first producing a patina that later corrodes the wire. The copper oxide it produces CAN leech out into the feathers and turn your mount green, especially if you run the neck wire out though the skull. Additionally, copper lacks the strength of good annealed wire. Though it bends easily in certain applications, it also bends easily from the weight of the mount. Unless you're hooking the wire as even most electricians are now salvaging their waste to recycle and sell, the cost is only getting higher for copper.
     
  4. might be better off using 24 ct gold wire. As George stated copper is a hot commodity anymore. Give me a list of your customers that you used copper for wiring and I will go ravage their birds of the copper and be able to retire early. :)
     
  5. Ok which is it?? Some guys say copper ok used it for years, others say acids turn mounts green after time. Can we get a true reading on this. I have been using copper here lately but don't want anybody coming back to me complaining about green mounts.
     
  6. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Look, the rules of elements and chemisty is uneffected by their applications to situations. Taxidermy is no different than using copper plumbing in your home. At one TIME, it was thought to be the best. In the house that I bought, it ended up costing me nearly $2000 to get ripped out and replaced by PVC when acid in the water formed pinholes and the pipes self destructed. Acid in any amounts effects copper. Why do you think they use acid with copper for plating? Copper domes on government buildings and churches turn green from exposure to air and moisture. Copper bottomed "Revere Wear" cooking utensils have to be cleaned religiously often as the heat and humidity tarnish them. Now why would a duck or goose be different? I recall when suppliers sold copper wire, but that practice ended LONG before copper became such a valuable commodity. If you are BUYING copper wire to mount birds, you can cut your costs in half by converting to annealed wire.
     
  7. Ptrrorem

    Ptrrorem New Member

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    Thanks for the responses you guys. I appreciate the input all around. George, good comments and logical, as usual. It makes sense that chemicals will affect copper over time and I suppose given enough time simple oxidation will affect it as well. Mooser, a buddy was stripping a huge roll of plastic coated wire to take to the recycler for $$$ so I gave him a few bucks for the whole lot. I wouldn't buy it for taxidermy unless it had a known specific application. Just thought I might have found a windfall with a good supply of wire. I was also thinking it might be nice to flatten out and use in a habitat for swamp grass or somthing...if I can find out how to get that green patina without waiting 20 yrs for it to color. Any ideas there, George? Its about 10ga and soft enough to roll out with a stone rolling pin. might work but open to suggestions. thanks again everyone.
     
  8. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Paint it with vinegar or some pickle acid. Won't take long for it to turn green.
     
  9. jmgriggs

    jmgriggs Distinguished Wildlife Creations, LLC

    X2
     
  10. BIGE

    BIGE New Member

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    The copper is great for getting a nice looking shape in your birds neck!!!!!
     
  11. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    It's not the composition of the wire, it's the talent of the taxidermist. Annealed wire wrapped properly or with foam neck material works just as well as copper.
     
  12. Ptrrorem

    Ptrrorem New Member

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    Thanks guys
     
  13. Ptrrorem

    Ptrrorem New Member

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    I found a great source for annealed wire at a local fence company. I like the black annealed stuff from Research but shipping can get a little pricey in qty. If yu have a fence company in your area they mght be able to hook you up. Factor in the price of fuel against the shipping though. some may get a better deal using UPS's gas&propane.