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Oil Clay Used in Mounts?

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by Randy Miller, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. Randy Miller

    Randy Miller Active Member

    This was brought up in another forum catagory. Should oil clay ever be used in a mount? It does'nt ever harden, can this lead to probs down the road?
  2. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

    If it was stuck in a 150* room to bake then it could cause problems.... but in normal conditions it will not. Many taxidermists, especially on big game will use it because of it's density. even if it were to get soft, it will reharden in the same shape when brought back down to room temperature and the dry skin and glue will retain the eye shape. If somebody let mounts bake, they will have more than oil clay to worry about :)

    Randy, to answer your question honestly, it's right and it's wrong depending on who is using it. It's the exact same as the bondo/earliner debate. Some people can pull off blues in the masters division using bondo ears and the critics will still say it's wrong. Several huge award winners from both the World and National shows have oil clay in the eyes..... but the opposition will still say it's wrong...... but we all know a badly mounted specimen using critter clay is still very wrong ;)

  3. Randy Miller

    Randy Miller Active Member

    Yeah when I first read it I thought it was wrong for sure but after thinking about it I just knew some experts would be using it for some reason, thought this thread would make for good taxidermy reading! :)
  4. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    If you use regular clay it hardens and never moves. Oil clay or also called Plastiline Clay will surface harden or dry over time but will still remain somewhat pliable. Leatherized skin will sometimes want to move depending upon the moisture it absorbs from the atmosphere.The oil based clay will move a little with the skin while the dry clay wont and then the skin might crack as in eyelids and noses. Used in these areas it can be a plus......and I also use Bondo ears in case you should ask. JL
  5. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Personally, I don't know of anyone using oil based clay. Since it is OIL based, it is susceptible to solvents. Though Michael's example of 150 degrees sounds good, oil based clay starts migratiing and leeching put at MUCH lower temperatures. As JL implies, oil leeched skin prevents a hide from drying. That merging can also disbond hide pastes. Around the eyes it will not secure the lids and can cause paint to flake and Apoxie to dishonest.disbond . Regardless how you cut it, it's not a very smart choice. Oil based clays PRIMARY use in taxidermy is in sculpting and molding.
  6. Rick Carter

    Rick Carter Administrator

    I agree with George. I've used thousands of pounds of Roma Plastalina #2 on sculptures. it will weep oil if the sculpture sits too long before molding.
  7. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    I guess I just dont see any reason to use oil clay in a mount to begin with, unless its a beginner that had limited supplies, that is, no water clay, or critter clay.
  8. Old Fart

    Old Fart Active Member

    As a kid in the 60's, I used it, because it was all I could get. Not on game heads, but on birds. Would I use or recommend it for that now...... ABSOLUTELY NOT!
  9. RDA

    RDA Active Member

    ive used oil based clay for my bird eye sets for 42 years,,without a problem one. and for VERY GOOD REASON!
  10. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    I guess I would have to see these examples of problems. I have used it for competition mounts and it works awesome. No shrinkage at all and very easy to adjust as the mount dries. When the skin dries, it is hard enough you can't move it if you want to without re-hydrating, even with the plastalina not hard underneath.
  11. mislynx

    mislynx Member

    Oil based clay NEVER. What sticks to oil?
  12. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    I'm a bit confused. Have never used it myself, but two people I have seen use it are Joe Meder and Ray Hatfield. Hum

    Must not be all bad.

    Harry left some here for me to play with. I rehydrated a set of bobcat eyes that a student did that used it in Ray's class and the skin rehydrated very easily and dried back very well also. After two months I was able to reshape the eyes and everything went well. Guess I don't see the problem with it.
  13. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    For the record, I am not saying not to, or its wont work. I am saying critter clay works, Ive used it since I knew what it was, so in my eyes, the need for oil clay on mammals just never occurs to me.

    I seldom see a mount SO accurate that its time to split hairs on the dos and donts, anyway.
  14. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    I have an eye set on a mannikin head that Joe did for me in 1994. I just checked and yes, I actually can still move it a tiny bit as in a thumb nail mark. So maybe it doesn't ever set hard, but a skin over it sure would.
  15. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    Roma oil clay does firm up, if thats hard enough to call hard, as we all know that we need to heat it prior to sculpting with it.
  16. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    I did not know that it needed heated. Like I said, I've never used it.
  17. Randy Miller

    Randy Miller Active Member

    And what is that vvery good reason?
  18. I have used klean klay and chavant, both work really well. If you are using a good tan with minimal shrinkage to begin with, and babysit your mount for the next week or so by bagging the face before you go home for the evening there is virtually no shrinkage, and next to nothing to do as far as putty work, your eyes stay nice and full, just like they do when you first mount up something with critter clay. But unlike the critter clay they will not dry up and shrink. Even very careful babysitting with the critter clay you will have shrinkage, it maybe minimal, but you will have it. There are different types of firmness to chose from with most sculpting clay. Use either a soft or medium consistency, I perfer the medium. They do not make klean klay any more but there is a clay out there called JMAC, sculpture depot sells it. It is very easy to work with and at room temp is a nice firm consistency, but softens up real easy and holds the heat for a little while, making it easy to move around. I have switched to this clay from the Chavant NSP. for my sculptures, it is just so user friendly. You can buy a 10 lb. block of it for about 40$ or a 50LB. block for 150$. Paul Cales sells a hide paste that holds very well to these clays, Buckeye works well to. I know that not everyone will agree on this one for sure, but it can be done and works really well IMO ;)
  19. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Animal nut, was that supposed to be an endorsement for oil based clay??? It sure sounded as a resonant proof that we should use Critter Clay (I take it you've never used it because if you did, you'd know it doesn't shrink and crack like potters clay). Critter Clay is $3 a pound (Plastilina is $4.40 a pound) and you can mount it and watch it for one day, perhaps two, and be finished. You could use Apoxie and be done with it in 8 hours but it's about $44 a pound.

    There are still those using outdated methods and outdated products simply because they're comfortable using something that worked for them and see no reason to try a new method. I choose not to fit in that group or I'd still be using red rosin paper forms and straight yellow dextrine.
  20. Randy Miller

    Randy Miller Active Member

    Outdated methods. This thread, along with another about DP vs tanning always brings out 2 comments; 1) "I've always done it this way with no problems", and 2) "My customers are always satisfied".

    1) How would you know there are no problems? How many customer mounts that were done 10+ years ago, for example, does one see (that they did)? With 1-2 exceptioons, I never see them again. My customers thake the mounts home, and I don't go there. Of the ones I have seen, including some of my own, I see things that I don't wish to repeat, and I HAVE seen the use of sub-par materials show me I don't want to use them again. Did things grossly fall apart? no, but they moved or cracked etc..

    2) Most customers don't know their butts from a hole in the ground. Before someone says these are your customers you are talking about and shouldn't, sorry, but it's the truth.