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Corn field habitat base

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by breeves, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. breeves

    breeves New Member

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    I am getting ready to start my first corn field habitat base for a blue goose. I have looked through the tutorials and got some good ideas and searched the archives but still have a few questions. The first one is on the poly foam that I plan to use. I bought some dry tempera paint and read on it that you can mix it with the foam. In all my searching, I have not found anyone that has done this. Good idea or not?

    The second question has to do with the corn stalks. The farmers in my area are just starting to harvest the corn and I would like to dig up a few cut stalks for this base. I have read a lot of different opinions about how to go about this and they all seem to be different. Some say that all you have to do is dry them. Oven? Naturally? Others say they spray them with some kind of pesticide. Still others say just to spray them with a sealer or matte finish clear spray. Is there a preferred method that will last for a long time? I have only done bird taxidermy for 2 years and everyone that I have done birds for seems very happy with my work so far. I am concerned that I will damage my reputation if I do not make sure I do this properly. Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Natural habitat will degrade over the years, all of it is short term,, and replaceable each year,,thank God. Any kind of preservation will help, but over time, grass, corn stalks, moss, it will all go it's natural way, some day. Then the next taxidermist will upgrade it with new corn stalks. So fretting over your reputation on some habitat that will bow out on you down the road anyway, is over reacting. Short of molding and casting corn stalks and making plastic ones, the best you can do is to dry them and seal them. imo.
    Competition natural habitat that blues at the show one year, will not look as good the next. Go imitation for the long haul, or plan on redoing it a few years later. Chances are, one out of fifty customers would bring a mount back for habitat rejuvenation.
     

  3. breeves

    breeves New Member

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    I get your point about worrying too much about it. I don't really expect that it will last forever. I really don't know how long is reasonable with these methods and I do not know what the customer's expectation is either. He did not give me specific information other than he wanted it on an octogon base with "corn field habitat". I just want to give him something that exceeds his expectations.
     
  4. hodx

    hodx Herman Darr

    by poly foam...you mean solid foam....most foam without a skin on it will be porus....i would seal it first...with a 2 part pourable foam you just add the tempra with the foam resin before mixing....with plants like corn stalks i would color them with a wash close to there colors...then spray them with a sealer...in the open they are dust collecters and will be hard to clean...best if in a glass case
     
  5. Wildside

    Wildside Active Member

    I would disagree with you Paul. If you take care of it, it will last many years. Natural is hard to beat for realism if it is done correctly.
     
  6. breeves

    breeves New Member

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    I guess it is the "done correctly" part that I was unsure of. I dug up some stalks from a field near my house and put them in the freezer for a few days. I plan to start the project soon. Just looking for as much information as I can get from others that have done this type of habitat before.
     
  7. Matt

    Matt Active Member

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    I have done several corn stubble scenes, and some of them are over 15 years old without any change. I agree with Wildside, if done correctly and taken care of, they should last a long time. There are ways to take care of the stocks before using them. I have some that have been sitting around for 6-7 years that I have not used in scenes yet.
     
  8. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Corn stalks will hold up for a long time without sealing them with anything, but if you feel that you need, to pick up a rattle can of matte clear and seal them. I think the biggest part of longevity of the stalks is that they be attached to the base securely. Make sure that any leaves that you use are also attached well. Doing that makes it easy to clean, with a little forced air.
     
  9. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I forgot to state that make sure they are completely dry before sealing them.
     
  10. NEduckhunter

    NEduckhunter New Member

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    I live in Nebraska, you know the corn land, and live on a farm. So I can tell you corn stalks will go through a tire three years after they are combined. They will last much longer than you think, if they are dry.
     
  11. Rick Carter

    Rick Carter Administrator

    Make the corn stalks. Go collect the dried corn stalks, break them up and put them in a large container filled with water. Keep a few good specimens for reference. You can leave them in the water for days. They will rehydrate and you can remove the "leaves" that circle around the stalks without them being so brittle. Get some 3/4" wooden dowel rods. Paint and stain the dowels to a color close to the stalks. Gently dry off the wet leaves between two towels. Place the leaves around the dowels and glue them in place using any glue that will hold them. Allow the leaves to dry. Mix Elmers glue or Mod Podge or Ultra seal with water, thin enough to be spritzed from a spray bottle. Spritz the leaves and they will not be so brittle. The solution will dry flat and clear. Now you have stable stalks that won't get bug infested or rot.
     
  12. wross083

    wross083 New Member

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    I just tried the wood dowel method and it works great going to go get more stalks tomorrow and get more of the "leaves" off of them and stow them away!