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Lifesize bear

Discussion in 'Lifesize Mammals' started by WilliamHansen, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. OK, bear guys, how do you do it? I just spent three days test fitting, adjusting, test fitting, adjusting. Then two 16 hour days mounting this lifesize @#%. Am I doing something wrong? The shoulders on the forms are always to wide, the legs are always too short and the necks are always to wide and short. Should I be shaving my tanned hides when I get them back from the tannery to get more stretch? The pads always seem way smaller also. I've only done three lifesize, but do lots of 1/2 mounts and have the same problems. Should I try a wet tan? This bear measures 74" nose to tail, 60" at the belly, and 50" at the chest. Any guess as to how much this one weighed? Feel free to slam me ;) I need the input. Thanks, guys
     

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  2. hoytman

    hoytman UTA Member

    Need more close ups of the face and a few different angles of the body to give a accurate critique.. From what I see the ear position is wrong, giving it the appearance of having antennas on its head.. Change the angle and have them layed back a bit might reduce the height.. I dremel out way inside where the ear but goes on the form.. More recessed and clayed in. I attached a pic of a recent black bears head I just did.. Eye shape looks off too, but cant tell clearly in the pic

    The relief cuts need to go WAY up in the armpits, and with the neck skin pulled down, and armpit skin pulled up in, it should go together nicely.. I think thats the problem you are having with the legs seeming to be too long and it not fitting around the chest.. The chest area is tricky.. their seems like lots of skin, and once n the form it doesnt want to come togeather. I find wiht making a deeper relief cut, it goes smoother.. Pic of chest area attached also.

    I am doing one right now on the same form as I have pictured.. Personnal bear from last spring .. and has bigger measurments then the skin that went on the one pictured.. but for the life of me, I cant get it lined up either..Spring bear.. so its slighly skinnier in the belly chest.. but it should still fit.. I am puzzled myself on this one.. So I put the hide back in the freezer until another week..
     

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  3. Go with wet tan next time , way more stretch
     
  4. LordRusty

    LordRusty If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    5,548
    52
    Ohio
    That advice is so wrong on so many levels, but the biggest one is the headache you're gonna have trying to clean the damned thing! When you soak up the skin, use one cup of salt for every five gallons of water, and to that add a commercial relaxer to the mix. Supply companies sell them.

    Let the head and paws soak for an hour or two. Squeeze them out, then lay the skin leather side up on a table or floor ... whichever you feel most comfortable with.

    Sponge the same solution onto the leather until the water puddles, and let the skin sit for about 45-minutes to one hour.

    Fold the hide lengthwise - leather side to leather side - lay the head and feet in the center, then roll it it up - head first - plastic bag it, and refrigerate it for a day or two. When you unroll it, begin your stretching session.

    To get stretch on the legs the best tool you can use is a ⅛-inch thick by one-inch wide steel plate. Grind on end to a rounded shape, with the top side ground to an angle. Be sure it is ground smooth to remove any burrs.

    To use it - as seen in these images - apply the steel to the skin at a slight angle, with the rounded end, flat side of the steel, against the skin. Repeatedly push the steel forward from the center of the skin out to the edges, holding the opposite side of the skin with the palm of your other hand. This is done on each side of the head, neck, forelegs, body skin, hind legs, and tail-skin .... from "head to tail". It is amazing how much stretch you will get using this method. Yes it is slow ... but the results are more than well worth it! ;) Using a flat, steel "skin-pusher" is a much safer way of stretching a skin, as opposed to pulling with the hands that can slip and/or pull out fur.

    Here I point to the area to be stretched:
    [​IMG]
    The steel "Skin-Pusher" in use, and with arrows indicating the direction of the "push".
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Pointing to the same area as the first image, showing a marked difference in the edge of the now stretched skin! ;)
    [​IMG]

    John.
     
  5. Listen to John he knows what he's talking about, And always stretch for width not length, Then you can get a much better measurement from which to order your form, You will still have to alter most for a good fit, but your bears will look much more proportionate
     
  6. nitt

    nitt Member

    I agree with john. U need to do a real good job of stretching a dry tan skin out. I use wet tan for almost everything I mount except for rugs of course. and of course they need to be stretched some to obviously If possible i like to take measurements of the actual carcass of every lifesize animal I do if possible. if not I agree with trying to get the most width out of a hide instead of length and relief cuts are there for a reason but don't rely on tucking allot of skin if that is the case I would say you probally could have altered the form to fit properly.
     
  7. Thanks guys. I do stretch a lot but it's always been by pulling the hide by hand. I'll give the "scraping" method a try on my next one.
     
  8. LordRusty

    LordRusty If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    5,548
    52
    Ohio
    William,

    Glad to hear that. It is truly amazing what using the skin steel can do to a skin in regards to adding inches to the animals parts. They go together so much more pleasantly! Sometimes a little extra elbow grease, and some ingenuity go a long way to reducing the number of "problems" encountered on most lifesize mounts. I "steel" all my mounts ... lifesize, head mounts - North American, African, and every other mammal that crosses my work bench! It's an old, old, but reliable method of skin relaxation ... aka: stretching. It's larger equivalent is called "staking". Same principle, just a little different approach! ;) Good luck!

    John.
     
  9. hoytman

    hoytman UTA Member

    I used Johns technique last night on a LS bear and it let WAY out.. I bet I got 4-5 inches in width in the belly and about 1 in the legs.. I used a plastic puddy knife though and pressed and pulled real hard and slow towards me.. I thought it worked very well.. Thanks John,