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Alteration Questions- Coydog

Discussion in 'Lifesize Mammals' started by Knuxtiger4, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. LOTS OF PICTURES BELOW

    I've been working on a coydog I got last year from a fellow member here as a personal project, one that I've been having fun with and learning as I go along. Been doing pretty good on prep work the last few days until this afternoon where I hit a road block so to speak with her.

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    Legs are giving me quite an issue. Her front legs need to be shaved down more and they should work. Actually surprised I have to shave so much on the legs, convinced that this gal didn't have a lot of muscle to her is my guess on why her legs are so thin. Biggest issue I'm having though is the back legs.

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    From what I can tell from the pelt her stifle and hock seems to be shorter than the average coyote and that her legs still need more shaving than what I did so far. Again very thin legs like the fronts also.

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    Also trying to figure out how to shave around her shoulder blades area since the skin just won't reach the back either. but fear if I shave too much that I lose that definition of the shoulder blade.

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    The tick marks are where the stifle, hock and the paw are roughly from what I figured out on the pelt. My questions is how should I tackle this alteration? I was going to cut out the 'extra' in the legs and resculpt what is removed (like the Achilles's muscles) in order to make the leg correct to her hide which I think is the correct way to approach it. I'm unsure though and wanted to get some advice on how to handle it. I'm trying very hard to make sure to make this mount as good as possible so rather ask questions before I do something that might mess everything up!

    If there's different ways to approach this I would love to hear it since not sure if the way I have in mind will work.

    Lastly I also have a quarter size slip spot on her leg.
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    Should I just wedge it and stitch? I know normally would be done when they happen on the neck or body but not sure if it can be done on the legs.
     
  2. juli

    juli Active Member

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    Looks to me that if you put the skin of the hock area right on the hock, the foot would fall correctly into place. This would mean the upper sections of the leg are too long. I would be more inclined to shorten there - maybe an inch at the thigh and an inch at the calf area.

    I always stretch for width as much as possible on all parts of a hide before test fitting.

    I think if you shorten your front legs by an inch, you will end up being able to keep them from looking like pencils from shaving down too much.

    I would simply cut out the bald spot and sew it together. lengthwise, rather than crosswise.
     

  3. Putting it that way, removing it in those area would probably get the skin to work on the form. I actually do stretch the skins before getting them on the form and even with that the pelt just wouldn't go any further.

    That said, Juli the areas you mentioned removing an inch around would be the following?

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    If I marked down the right areas, will give it a go tomorrow at working on those areas and see if that does the trick.
     
  4. juli

    juli Active Member

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    I would take out in the middle of the thigh and middle of the foreleg. I think if you take it off the shoulder it will look funky... After altering the legs I would test for again and see if the skin around the shoulder won't come up. You might just have to make deeper relief cuts in the armpits or take some of the chest down a little bit.
     
  5. Michelle_Nelson

    Michelle_Nelson Bring on the Bears!

    I agree I think your problem is the length of the legs on the form being to long.
     
  6. B.S.O'Hare

    B.S.O'Hare Member

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    I would also do some stretching on that hide...no pics, but probably enough in the description to help ya figure it out.

    http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,324553.msg2213619.html#msg2213619
     
  7. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Have to agree with Brandon. Did you rehydrate that skin at all doesn't appear like it?
     
  8. The skin was rehydrated correctly and have been making sure to keep it hydrated as I was doing test fits on it. The pictures might not making it seem that way, I know the room I've been working in doesn't have the best lighting in there.

    I know when I go to do another test fit after I do the alterations recommended here that I'll see if I can do additional stretching on it to see if that helps. Also thank you for the link to that thread! I remember reading it a while back and going to try some methods in that thread to see if I can get a bit more stretch out of it.
     
  9. juli

    juli Active Member

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    I think perhaps a warm water sponge with some dawn dish soap might help relax the hide. How old is the tan?
     
  10. Tan is a year old, she was tanned by Wildlife Gallery. Could try warm water and dawn to see if that helps. I know I was stretching the legs yesterday since I thought it wasn't stretched enough at first when the leg skins wouldn't match up.

    Aiming to try to do more work on her today so will be sure to update the thread here on the progress of the project!
     
  11. juli

    juli Active Member

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    I use wildlife gallery as well, the dawn should help.
     
  12. Alright! Did some additional work on the form today as well as trying to stretch the hide a little more.

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    Did my cuts where you guys recommended and then altered the legs down to shorten them. After an hour of messing with form to rebuild those as well as reinforcing them I got the form down to this now.

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    Besides that I might need to fix the rear right leg (rear leg closest to the printer and chairs), I got the rest of them correct I feel and was time to do another test. I did stretch the hide the best I can and continued to keep it wet as I did the test fit.

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    This time around looks like its working better than it did yesterday!

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    Neck area since to be good but the shoulder still are still not touching. I think if I making the groove in the legs a bit deeper that it should work out as it just need a bit more push to get it on the blades. Also couldn't push as much since the area of the legs I alter wasn't exactly smooth out. I can say I got that problem almost fixed out regarding shoulders.

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    The legs on the other hand, while it look like the skin is fall into into place on the legs which is great, but the skin around where the stifle just won't go around the form on the back legs. Where they land on the legs is the farthest the skin will go no matter what I do. Fronts are also having that issue as well but really think a bit of shaving will do the trick on them. I did my best to stretch the leg skins as much as I can without ripping them since one leg has a few tears but they just won't go further than .

    As of the back legs though I was thinking my solution would be to cut the Achilles' muscle and rebuild it with wire and epoxy clay so the skin will fit properly. But otherwise, how did I do? I think besides the one leg that I need to readjust I think I got the alteration down.
     
  13. cynpeterson

    cynpeterson Member

    It always seems like the legs shrink up. It's why we put halved coat hangers in the legs after it's been skinned until it's dry. Keeps the legs from shriveling up.

    Looking good though!
     
  14. oldboar

    oldboar Taxidermy...do the impossible:)

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    Wildlife gallery is notorious for not neutralizing enough… I would sponge those legs down with a solution of baking soda water and see how much they let out! Seriously…
     
  15. B.S.O'Hare

    B.S.O'Hare Member

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    Oldboar is right you can get a lot of extra stretch out of some hides with a little baking soda and water. I would advise you not to over do it though, because this can cause the hide to let out too much and start slipping! Also if you are having trouble getting the hide together over the shoulder area make sure your relief cuts under the front legs are deep enough. Its hard to tell by looking at pictures, but it looks to me like you could take 3/4 of an inch out of that neck as well...
     
  16. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Yes sir. X2
     
  17. Never knew that could happen with a hide! I'll give that a go and see how much it'll help the hide then! Really just need a bit more stretch and the legs should be fine since they are the biggest issue by far.

    I wanted to ask though on the ratio of baking soda to water since I'm afraid possibly overdoing it and what not. How much baking soda to what amount of water is what I want to ask before I go ahead and do that. I'm going to give that a shot tomorrow but in the mean time going to spend the next few days working on fixing up the form and getting those relief cuts deeper. Third time around and maybe everything will fall together and finally get this critter mounted.

    Thank you again for everyone the advice I've been getting on this, its been very helpful for me!
     
  18. oldboar

    oldboar Taxidermy...do the impossible:)

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    Please don't worry or overthink the neutralizing… By making up a solution of 1 teapoon to 1 quart water… You're basically sponging it on and letting it up take the solution. You're not soaking in it… I have never had one hair fall out from applying it in this matter.

    You will oftentimes notice the reaction on the hide quite impressively. It will bubble and fizz… Etc.

    Sponge it on, or use a paper towel and wet the skin side of the hide and work it in with your fingers… Within half an hour you should notice it relaxing like a wet dishtowel and the stretch let out, Dab a little bit more on if you need to… But I expect this will work for you.
     
  19. Sorry to jump in on this thread, but after sponging the baking soda solution on and letting it soak, do you then rinse it off in fresh water or just towel it off? Thanks.
     
  20. oldboar

    oldboar Taxidermy...do the impossible:)

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    No need to rinse off. The baking soda is basic=high pH........the hide requiring neutralizing=low pH.

    When you apply it to the hide....the acid is neutralized by topical application of the baking soda solution. The pH of the hide elevated some...which allows for "let out/stretch", but not so high as to result in a "basic" condition rendering slippage of hair.

    This is not a soak , nor done for an extended duration of time, and applied to leather side only.

    In reality, I have soaked capes in 10 minute increments, followed by a water rinse when obvious it was required throughout the hide. Its a judgment call, based on experience.

    Jim