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bobcat claws

Discussion in 'Lifesize Mammals' started by Sashakittythegreat, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. Sashakittythegreat

    Sashakittythegreat Beginner Taxidermist(2 mounts down)

    Hey I am mounting a bobcat in a relaxed position and its claws are out, should I cut them out and sow the sheath? I dont want to screw her up
  2. no claws showing on relaxed cat

  3. Sashakittythegreat

    Sashakittythegreat Beginner Taxidermist(2 mounts down)

    I know I mean on the pelt they are out and I want them in.
  4. If they were skinned correctly they should slide back into the sheath and tuck into the clay.
  5. Sashakittythegreat

    Sashakittythegreat Beginner Taxidermist(2 mounts down)

    I tried rehydrating a paw and I couldnt get the claw to go back in, should I carefully cut it out?
  6. No. What training have you had? Any videos? Sounds like you don't really have a clue what you are doing. Buy mounting a bobcat a to z with Jan Van Hoesen. Put the skin back in the freezer. The skin should be rehydrated completely
  7. Sashakittythegreat

    Sashakittythegreat Beginner Taxidermist(2 mounts down)

    No videos. I'll look into that video
  8. rustedshut

    rustedshut New Member

    The claw rotates back into the sheath in a circular motion. I use one or both of these techniques. Before I tuck the claw back, I use a rounded stylus to plush back each side of claw/sheath to get it in position. I will take a empty ink pen (or fly tying knot tool) and stick the tip of the claw into the tip of the pen. then, in an arching motion, I push the claw back into the sheath. The other technique, I use a small stylus to push the underneith side claw in an arching motion back and down. The under side of the claw has a groove that you can place the stylus tip into. Then push the clay up and around the claw to form the toe. fluff w a tooth brush.
    Im sure there are many different ways to do it. Until some one shares a better way, this works for me.
  9. Cathy

    Cathy N.E.A.T President

    You can cut them out if you want to, it's a matter of opinion. I have had 2-3 judges over the years tell me to do it to cats. Mine didn't even show, but you could feel them. I haven't tried it yet, but if I compete with a cat in a relaxed pose again someday, I will. I believe it was Roger Maritin who cuts them off, them pushes the base in. I also know you can cut them right out and sew up the hole.
  10. LordRusty

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

    I have to say, the judges who told you that were blatant idiots, and just too damned lazy to go about it the right way. I don't care who they are ... the judges be damned ... they are WRONG! Recommending declawing of a specimen? :eek: One of the top Cat-Men here did that in the past - even wrote of this techniques in Breakthrough - but then had to stop the practice when his clients found out, and were angered by this treatment of their trophy. It is just as bad as cutting off the nose and lips because it is "easier" than learning to use the actual parts.

    Leaving the claws in the feet entails first and foremost, clearing the toe skins of all extraneous tissue after getting the skin back form the Tannery. This is illustrated, in depth, in my Big Cat Manual. It will actually be easier for anyone ... and I mean ANYONE ... to understand Small Cat toes and foot work by seeing it done on the foot and toes of a Big Cat.

    By the way ... you can feel the claws in a live Cat, so I have no idea why a judge would say they could "feel the claws"! I can feel the claws inside the toes on my House Cats, just as I was able to feel the claws inside the toes of the Lions and Tigers I studied. They are there ... and you can feel them. ;)

    After tanning, there often times is a lot of fleshy material in the toe skins. This is also easier to remove after the tanning process breaks down the proteins in the skin, leatherizing them.

    After the toe skins are cleaned out, the individual toe pads need to be thinned ... again, a lot easier to do after tanning. This is also true for the main foot pad.

    With the toe skins cleaned out, reinserting the claws into their toe sheath is as easy as can be. Understanding the anatomy of the Feline toe is also an imperative. You want to succeed with a subject? Then you need to learn and understand it, and how its parts interact with each other.

    You can use any of the described methods for returning the claws within their sheaths, after cleaning up those toe skins. That is the imperative here.

    After the claw is returned to its sheath, clay is used to fill the toe out and blend the claw with the clay, and to also shape the toes and the foot proper. Studying your subject and references of your subject will lead you to successful outcomes. ;)

    Best of luck to you,
  11. Cathy

    Cathy N.E.A.T President

    It is still a matter of opinion. Everybody has one, and sometimes people like to hear both sides. I would never declaw a customer mount. And know what? I can SEE the claws on the hind feet of my pet cat, not just feel them. It doesn't mean there aren't pros out there that recommend taking them off.
  12. LordRusty

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

    The HUGE con against taking them out is this ... how does that make one a better Taxidermist? We have to learn to deal with the animal we are presented with. It is nothing more than a cheap shortcut, that more often than not, destroys the integrity of the toes of the foot. I have seen numerous Bobcat mounts done without the first understanding of anatomy, to where the animal was set upon the tips of its toes ... claws exposed! That is the absolute worst case scenario, and you can still see mounts like that today.

    It all boils down to: 1 - do you want to do the WORK, and 2 - do you care enough to reproduce the animal correctly?

    There is no one "opinion" or another. There is simply right or wrong here. You leave the animals parts intact ... you leave those claws in the toes. I have seen others ask - because they couldn't figure it out - if it was okay to cut off a male animals part to make the mounting easier? WTF? It is the same thing in this instance.

    Proper work on the skin, and LEARNING about ANATOMY, and the specimen one is working on should not be relegated to the "Oh, I can't bother" files.

    Yes ... the rear claws of Small Cats - House Cats, Bobcats, Lynx, African Wildcats, Caracal, Serval, in short ALL Small Cats - do show the tips of their claws to some extent. Notice too, the rear claws are thicker and wider in comparison to those of the forepaws. The rear claws are those that "dig in" to the ground and provide the gripping power for forward movement. The front claws are those that are sheathed, and protected until they are needed ... as weapons, and as prey catching tools. They are finer and more curved or hooked than those of the rear.

    There is no reason to not tuck the claws back in place ... none. And there is every reason to learn how to do it. Again ... that includes proper skin care and trimming, and full study of the anatomical makeup of the animals we are lucky enough to work on. Anyone who believes otherwise, should really go do something else where this kind of attitude is more accepted.

    Client mount, or personal mount ... leave the claws intact, and learn what you need, to work them properly. Starting with personal mounts will insure that your client mounts will be even better! And that's good for all Taxidermists! ;)

  13. John I was just reading your big cat manual! I like that you explained the reasons here to keep the claws in. . . My boss clips them out, and i felt it was the easy way out. But I don't know if I'll mention it. Hell, he'll probably see this post, though. :D :D

    Do you think, there is any benefit to using an artificial nose over using a real one?
  14. LordRusty

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

    Great to hear you were reading about the claw subject in my book! ;)

    LOL! Oh boy ... this one of my favorite pet peeves! There is no benefit at all to using a fake plastic nose over the real nose. I have said this time and time again, so here goes ...

    The noses are cast from dead specimens. Most here, don't seem to believe it makes a difference ... so be it! But they are wrong. Big time. I have the best closeups of Black Bear noses anywhere, and once you see the detail in one of those noses, and compare it to what is in a casting, or more correctly what is not in a casting, then you too will believe plastic noses are good for Teddy Bears - toys - and not Taxidermy specimens.

    Yes, I have used them under the skin on two occasions, and both times I thought: "Hey ... this looks pretty good!" Then I got the chance to rephotograph some Bears, and get some really super clear, detailed shots of their noses, and that "Hey ... this looks pretty good!" statement went right out the window.

    For those who don't really care, I say, use them if you like.

    For those who really do care about wanting to hone their skills and abilities to the highest they can get them, I say, just learn to do without them.

    Any who has read the last two articles in the current issues of Breakthrough - by Glenn Browning and Mozelle Funder burk - will notice a common theme. References! If you want to produce quality work, you need to acquire, and use, good solid references. Mind you, both these articles by the way, are unrelated! Glenn writes about Bird anatomy, and Mozelle writes about creating plants for habitat.

    But the single theme in both articles - as in the articles written by any conscientious professional - is the importance of the use of references.

    Once you can see a clear, still image ... especially a macro shot of a certain detail, then a whole other world opens up to you. This is what I feel many will come to realize when they compare a good, clear, macro photo of a specimens nose to a plastic casting.

    Much is lost after death, and many changes occur during the process of an animal dying. As blood pressure decreases, any and all plumpness to details - inside and outside the nose in this instance - begin to wane and change. It is no longer the organ of the vibrant, living creature.

    No matter what is used or where it is injected into these parts, it is missing the vital impression of life. That is best expressed through the hands of the Sculptor - the Taxidermist - recreating those details and features in the clay used beneath the skin to replicate the living animal.

    Plus, it develops the unhealthy habit of cutting off a part of a Hunter's hard won trophy! No one has that right!!! Of this, I am a firm believer!

    Now ... are there exceptions? Yes! If an animal has been shot in the nose, and the nose is gone or destroyed - and I have had to deal with that - then a reproduction nose is a good alternative.

    That being said, back in the days before all the extra "off the shelf" parts, if an animal came in with its' nose blasted up, we had to rebuild the nose by hand ... individually ... first with clay, then with a modeling compound. Early modeling compounds were made up from some time-tested formulas which gave way to the many epoxies later introduced.

    With all the references available today, and all the products available to re sculpt details such as noses, lips and such, there is no reason to not use the actual skin of these details.

    This has nothing to do with using earliners, glass eyes, or artificial jaws and tongues, so bringing these items into this discussion is just plain asinine and a waste of time. Earliners - in one form or another - have been in use for longer than anyone can remember, and replacements for eyes has the same history ... you cannot preserve eyeballs outside of a formalin or alcohol immersion solution.

    Tongues, in point of fact, have been skinned and that delicate skin mounted over and pasted onto a form. But this has mostly been in the realm of the competition arena, and mainly with Feline mounts ... to accurately reproduce the hooked barbs of the tongue. Rick Carter was the first I'd ever known to do that, with a Tiger mount. It was very cool! I have no idea if it has still held up all these years later.

    I have successfully sculpted tongues for mounts for years ... at least before the variety created by Harvey Mohr. And to this day, if I need a tongue that is unavailable, I can - and still - will create one.

    Okay, there you have it. You asked, and I replied. Hope I have muddied the waters some for you ;D ... or maybe cleared them up a bit? ;)

    References ... a Taxidermists best friend! Forepaws of a Sphynx Cat. The fine fur allows for good study of such parts. ;)

  15. John, you're just great! That perfectly clears things up for me.
    I was thinking on both the last fox, and bobcat that were finished, that the noses just look plain FLAT. . .
    Ans blending them is more of a pain than it's worth in the end.

    I can compare it to my experience with bondo ears. Sure you can make great bondo ears, but it takes a lot of time and effort, when you can achieve the same, and mostly better results with ear liners, so why use bondo?
    (not to say that's how everyone is, but for me, that's how it is)

    Thank you for the detailed response. There's just no way I could read your whole book without taking years out of my life! There's just so much detail, and so many photos. . . :)

    I would have never thought to look at sphynx cats for references. . . But that photo is perfect! Amazing reference!