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Help with big bear mount

Discussion in 'Lifesize Mammals' started by B2L, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. B2L

    B2L New Member

    I've done a dozen or so of these and have always had to modify but not to the extent I need to on this one.. Had a plan but after reading George's post about shrinking girth I figured I'd better ask.. As you can see in the pic with a little adjusting I can get the seam to closed mid way down but then I hit the belly and into the legs and I "think" /know I'm way off.. The form is LBR-171 C-61.5 D 72.5 This bear was killed in Pennsylvania in the fall and weighed just over 500lbs. I didn't get to skin it so I couldn't get carcass measurements but I measured the tanned hide 10 times and got basically the same measurements each time.. I know some will doubt as I've read archives but I'm getting C - 53 D - 89.. Yes, I got those 2 without affecting one another.. Some bears "dog bears" are long and skinny.. Leg wise.. I measured up from the back of the heel on the form and hide and then around/across each.. The difference was like 3in. So, what am I looking at here? Work until I hit measurements I took off hide but shaving down then lengthen the form? There is a decent "pouch" of hide hanging low.. like his butt needs to be lower... Sorry pic isn't the best deleted off my phone after I printed so it's a pic of a pic :D
  2. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Eric, this is the classic manikin issue I talked about. Did you measure the back legs? From what I see there, you also failed to make relief cuts under the front "arm pits". Once you do that, cut off both back legs and adjust the length of the lower and upper legs. When you get them back together, reattach the upper leg "hip" joint to where it belongs anatomically. I'd probably cut out a two inch slice right up the backbone before I reinstalled the legs. Thin down the thighs a bit but whatever you do, make sure the "ankle" and the "knee" fit the HIDE. That saggy butt will disappear when you get the hide taxiied FORWARD. Don't let the hide dictate the form in this case as you'll end up with a weenie bear. Did the face fit? If it did (it should fit snugly), then you may have to shave down a bit of neck but if those relief cuts are done, you're going to find you have more hide to work together.

    Lastly. If, during you test fitting after alterations you get that hide within one to two inches of closing. SATURATE the inside of the hide with warm water and capful of Downy. Then soak towels with the solution and set them under the skin at the seams. Wrap your bear overnight in plastic wrap. Next day sew it up. When the seam won't close, tie off your thread and make 3 inch stitches to where it will close. Tie that off and close the seam. Where the 3 inch stitches are, again, put the wet towels over the gap and wrap overnight in plastic. Next day, sew up what will and then make 2 inch stitches on the rest. Repeat the wet towel trick and by the next day, the hide will have stretched enough to close the gap completely.

  3. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member


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  4. Paul B

    Paul B Active Member

    Did you stretch out the hide with a bar, chisel or whatever will work, from center of hide to the seam. You will get a lot of girth back that way.
  5. B2L

    B2L New Member

    Thanks George.. Got the relief cuts in the pits maybe not deep enough and or I didn't have the skin up in them enough.. Ill check the next time I get him on the form. I didn't measure the length of the legs just the girth.. When you say cut the legs off.. Would that be a horizontal cut or cut as in you were quartering a carcass? Also, if I'm cutting the legs all the way off thus cutting through the rods.. Would I need to reinforce with a wooden dial rod when I reattach? Why the 2in cut up the backbone? The face and neck fit nicely. I learned all about taxing skin forward, compliments of this forum, many animals ago.. huge difference in appearance.. Ill definitely wet the hide down more to see if I can get a little more stretch that way.. Thanks for the sewing lesson.. major lesson learned as far as the long stitch and then sew between them.. Would getting the hide on/sewing work better if it were in a cradle instead of standing up?

    Paul, no never thought about rolling a little over a bar and getting an even stretch... thanks for the tip
    Thanks for your time
  6. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Cut the legs off just like you'd remove them at the hip from a real bear. When you get them both off, tear out those rods and throw them away. Buy new threadstock rods at Lowes or Tractor Supply. After the legs are removed and the rods pulled, just cut across the knee joint perpendicularly and have both "bones" the same length. Move that hip joint up to the backbone where it belongs and foam it and the leg back together. (I suggested removing 2 inches of backbone because the bear hide doesn't look as big as the form. Bears all have big butts, but this one looks a tad smaller. Measure the circumference of the hide at the butt and then measure the form after you have those legs foamed back on. If the hide is within an inch or two, don't cut the chunk out.) Once your legs are foamed in, drill a hole into the bear with a spade bit at the hip joint. Bend your thread stock at 90 degrees and set it in the hole. Trace the rod down the leg to the knee and bend it so that it goes down the leg. Now cut out a groove into the foam about half way through the form. I use a Victronox knife and a fish eye tool to dig out the channel. Bend the rod so that it lies down in the channel and foam over it. Remember, it's MUCH easier to bend that rodstock in a vice before it's foamed in than after you have it on your form. MAKE SURE it's positioned correctly before you foam it.