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First Beaver Mount

Discussion in 'Lifesize Mammals' started by stav1960, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. stav1960

    stav1960 Member

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    I will be mounting my first beaver and was wondering if there were any tricks or concerns on skinning one out.
    The back feet scare me with the webbing and is it better to use a artificial tail or can you skin it out. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. yelper

    yelper Do or Do Not.... There is no try

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    Beavers are tough. I skin using a leg to leg cut. Go ahead and cut through the heal pads on both feet and stop when you get to the webbing. You'll have to split it..the webbing, and it's tough to do but it can be done. Skin the toes all the way to the nail before you cut the toe bone out. Skin it out like a tube once you cut the back legs loose from the body. Be careful around the vent and where the sent glands are. They are easy to cut open and you likely will and it'll stink but you'll learn. Cut the tail off at the hair line and chunk it. Get an artificial one. Treat the front legs the same once you get to them. Skinning a beaver is like skinning a ziploc bag full of water with fish in it and trying to separate the water from the bag. The carcass is gonna move around all over the place as you work it. The mouth skin is deep inside the mouth just go slow and get it loose from the skull. I save the skull and usally use the real teeth.I hope you are charging enough. If you haven't I bet you do on the next one. Good Luck
     

  3. dc taxidermy

    dc taxidermy Me and My Baby's senior picture

    They are Fun. I use purple power to degrease the skin..before I salt....It helps get alot of the grease out......DC
     
  4. I'm curious, why dispose of the tails? Would it not make sense to tan them too or is it more complicated than that, that it calls for artificial tails to be used on beaver mounts?
     
  5. rbear

    rbear Well-Known Member

    You can use the tail but it is hard to skin and clean out IMO not worth the time. I cast the tail because the original tail usually has allot of caricature and it adds allot to the mount. I don't cut through the pads on the feet I cut in the fur to one side so the stitches are hidden and the pad does not have to be completely rebuilt.
    Ralph
     
  6. stav1960

    stav1960 Member

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    Thanks for the info, If I could cast the tail why couldn't I cast the hind legs ?
     
  7. rbear

    rbear Well-Known Member

    The legs / feet have allot of different hair patterns on them and it would be very, very difficult to skin around the hair to put a cast leg in. The tail does not have very much hair on it and most people would not know that it has any at all so you can get away with casting it and only deal with the junction of the tail to the hair on the body. If you would like to cast the legs to use under the skin so that the anatomy is accurate by all means do so. I did that on the last beaver that I did because it was for a show.
    Ralph
     
  8. stav1960

    stav1960 Member

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    Thanks Ralph, Now all I got to do is find the right casting and mold making materials.
    By the way I just had a customer bring me a mountain lion to do, go figure, done every other North American animal and this year I get the two I've never done.
     
  9. rbear

    rbear Well-Known Member

    Silicone for the tail and plaster for the legs. I pushed 3 wires up into the tail to hold it into the shape I wanted. Good luck on the lion. I have not done any cats yet.
    Ralph
     
  10. critterstuffr

    critterstuffr New Member

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    When you start to skin the beaver stop and look at the mouth. they have flaps that seal their throat off but allows them to chew under water. if you see them it gets easier to skin them out then rebuild them when mounting. Also leave a little part of the scaled portion of the tail on the skin, don't cut right at the hair line. I dorsal cut the ones I've done they sewed up just fine. The feet webbing will split easier than you think just take your time. Artificial tails are a must. Good luck. It will only be as bad as you let it, have fun.
     
  11. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I suppose I've done beavers any way they could be done and I've never thought they were that "tough". They're a PITA simply because of the grease, but a quality fleshing machine makes pretty short work of them. I've never had an issue with the feet. I cut through the pad down the center as suggested and then I pull the toes back to the nail. The webbing always seems to open by itself for me. I've used the real tail and I actually prefer it. It IS a bit tricky as Ralph states. I split mine underneath and with a scalpel, shave that chunk of greasy "plasic" cartilage out of it. I even use my fleshing machine to even the surface out when I'm done. You MUST make sure you get the edges of the tail. That's the toughest part. After I have my mount complete, I bend an 8 gauge wire in a "U" and insert it into the form where the tail is going to fit. I mix up a batch of Apoxie Sculpt and I fill the tail, and fold the underside flaps. This allows me to squeeze out or add in Apoxi to fill the tail. I put a ball of it over the "U" wire and then shape that tail butt as necessary. Worked well for me.

    The biggest problem I have is the FORM. They seldom fit and often need massive alteration to accommodate the sizes I get it. A 65 pound beaver form is hard to find. Then it's the feet on the form. Why must they always be bubbled? I rasp them flat so they'll set flat. I fill the toes and the top of the foot with potter's clay and shape it to fit whatever I'm putting it on.

    The nose is the thing that's most often screwed up. Look for GOOD references . The nose sits out front and not on top of the muzzle. Tuck the nostrils into clay so they don't look like blowholes.
     
  12. critterstuffr

    critterstuffr New Member

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    For the toes I've used real small 3/8 inch backer rod the stuff you use for duck/goose necks with a wire in it makes them all uniform and flexable the hide paste the webbing and card between the toes till dry. Just a thought I wanted to add.
     
  13. stav1960

    stav1960 Member

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    Thanks for all the tips, I'll post some pics when done.
    George, have you ever done a mountain lion?
     
  14. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    One or two.