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Are artificial bird heads needed?

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Primetines, Apr 13, 2015.

  1. Glass eye

    Glass eye Active Member

    For the most part I use real heads, even for ducks. Some very fleshy species I use artificial. But even very fleshy ones can be preserved with minimal shrinkage.
    I just prepared this Harlequin head. With an insulin syringe I injected masterblend into the fleshy corner of the mouth, the upper corners ( don't know the proper name ) and the nostrils. Tomorrow I will paint it and fill the eye sockets with clay and build up the glands above the eye sockets.

    Attached Files:

  2. TWinter

    TWinter Winter taxidermy

    Is that apoxie sculpt you used to build up the skull?, clay?

  3. Glass eye

    Glass eye Active Member

    Matt's Mache ...McKenzie's. Dries hard and light weight. Leftover mache is mixed with a few drops of paint and become small rocks for habitat scenes.
  4. Primetines

    Primetines New Member

    Turkey head

    Attached Files:

  5. I have always refrained from what I'm about to do. But some times things just need saying.

    Prime tine, man that's bad really bad. nothing is in the ballpark. Your best bet is cut it off and get an artificial and replace. Seriously It's that bad. Look at pictures on the net, books,and birds here. If you cant see the cluster [expletive deleted] you have going on. Maybe taxidermy isn't going to be your thing.

    Sorry !
  6. JerseyJays

    JerseyJays Well-Known Member

    Try freeze dried heads and you will be glad you did.
  7. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Prime Time, I'm sorry but that's pitiful. It resembles work I did in the 50's. I'm not a big fan of artificial TURKEY heads but they are a much better choice than that. Personally, I use the freeze dried heads on all my turkeys.
  8. duxrus

    duxrus Active Member

    Simple answer is no you don't need to use artificial heads if YOU know how to use the real ones correctly. It is funny how many folks saying that using the real head is going backwards yet many of those same people still wrap their bodies. Too many folks get it in their heads that their way is the ONLY way. Just because some can't get good results doing it other ways doesn't mean it isn't possible. On real heads the two main issues everyone seem to throw out there are bugs and shrinkage....well learn how to clean the dam thing and learn how to combat the shrinkage as Glasseye does. Problems solved.

    Are we also talking competition or commercial work ? 99% of our clients wouldn't know the difference one way or the other. I would much rather see a real one compared to an artificial bill with the nostrils not drilled out or the glue line with the skin/bill connection visible from across the room. It all falls back on what a taxidermist knows how to do. Some SUCK no matter what method they use or how long they have been in the business so many opinions shouldn't count anyway.

    Try both methods and see what YOU think. Results are what matter.
  9. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    You said you got away with spraying turkey heads preservative and painted them with "GOOD" results. You may have gotten away with it, but the results weren't good. I would urge you to go with freezedry or artificial heads on your turkeys. The minor shrinkage problems you'll have on real duck heads will pale many fold as compared to turkey heads.
  10. Nancy C

    Nancy C Well-Known Member

    OMG .... that's one of the worst-looking turkeys heads I've ever seen.
    I normally try to be tactful, but .... nope. Can't.
    The paint job isn't too bad but it can't begin to compensate for the total lack of texture and detail.

    Have you ever SEEN a live turkey's head???!!?

    Many years ago I used to skin-mount turkey heads and it was a royal pain. It required fleshing out ALL of the bumps and wrinkles until the head became almost 3 times its original size. A ball of clay was inserted in each bump from the inside and then the entire head/neck form was coated with soft clay so that the skin could be pressed into the wrinkles. Despite all of that time-consuming work, I STILL had to use epoxy to rebuild many of the caruncles. I used to mount the head separately from the rest of the bird, just because it was such a PITA.

    The end result was noticeably better than the cast heads which were available at the time (30 years ago), but once freeze-dried heads became readily available I switched to them and never looked back.

    You should do the same.
  11. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Dude is, just for a second, try to be objective. Why would you need to learn how to use an abacus, manual typewriter, or Morse code? Yet you say "many" people still wrap bodies. Really? How "many"? For years I've said "bird" guys were like surfer hotdogs and beach volleyball players. They always tend to look down on People who don't do things " their way". When I don't do anything better than a new method that produces a better product, I'm not about to pull out my slide rule to calculate how stupid that would be. Why "take time" to learn an old way when you can have a real burdensome right there in your shop working for you at the price of an artificial or freeze dried head? In time alone, I can mount a duck in what it takes you to clean, inject, mache, and EPOXY that real head.
  12. Glass eye

    Glass eye Active Member

    Call me stupid then......... ;).........I've been wrapping bodies for 40 years. Here's the Harlequin body to go with the head. I can buy a bale of excelsior for about $40 probably about $1,000 worth of foam bodies if I had to buy them. As for the head.....oh yeah, REAL TIME CONSUMING ! ::)

    Attached Files:

  13. Primetines

    Primetines New Member

    Well criticism is always helpful and even tho some was rather harsh I appreciate everyone's side. Truth be told this was my 1st turkey ever done. It was my own, not a customers. If there's one thing I've learned from this profession, its that repetition, criticism and trial & error are the best teachers. I wanted to see if a non freeze dried natural turkey head could be done and since it was my own I thought no better time to try it. I'm not going to "cut the head off" but I will get more for the showroom, and will go with freeze dried from here on. So now customers will have examples. I do like the idea of giving the customer the choice.
  14. duxrus

    duxrus Active Member

    George you are a perfect example of "my way is right"...You have no idea how I (or others )use or rebuild real heads or what little amount of time it takes me (us) to do so. You want to bet some $ that you can prep and complete a mount using an artificial head in less time than me using a real one and have the same quality ? I would beat you on all accounts. I have Multiple Artisan and WASCO awards along with plenty of other trophies and blue ribbons in Professional and Masters divisions all the while using the real heads. Am I the best at what I do, Not by a long shot, but to say that just because your way works for you it must be the best or only way is plain stupid . Sorry but anyone who has ever been to shows has seen less than banner work with the WASCO sitting next to it so using that as a stamp of approval falls short. Byrdman is correct in his posts. If done propery the real head can turn out a quality mount. If an artificial head is done poorly it turns out a crappy one. Like I said before, just because someone has been in the business a very long time doesn't mean squat. Good work is good work and crap is crap no matter how long someone's business life or what methods they choose to use. You make my point when you start comparing everyone else to you " In time alone, I can mount a duck in what it takes you to clean, inject, mache, and EPOXY that real head." Just because you aren't capable of something doesn't mean the rest of us follow suit. As far as older methods, I know tons of great bird taxidermists that wrap bodies and hate foam manikins. Are they stupid by choosing to use old methods to turn out fantastic work just because something else is available that others live by ? Hell no... This is like the posts about time to mount a bird. Some people can turn out a great mount in 3-4 hours where others turn out junk in 12 hours. Why argue with people that can and do something different than yourself with possibly better results. There are and always will be varying skill sets in this world no matter the job at hand. Not everyone is created equal. People should try all available methods and see what works best for them, not what some yahoo on the internet tells them is best for them.
  15. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I applaud you for your ability to see that our criticism was meant to help and not to put you down and am really glad you took the criticism the way you did. I also believe that it doesn't hurt to know how to do something the old way if only to help you appreciate what you have now. Experimenting on your own stuff, when time allows, can be fun. I killed jake on wednesday, opening day of turkey season here, and will try the inject-o-fill method from Joe Coombs. I just want to see what it does, with no plans to use it commercially or personally, and I have a lot more time on my hands now days. I also don't see a problem learning to wrap bodies if just for the sake of knowing how to do it and sometimes wrapping a body might get you out of a bind for what ever reason. I have done some carcass casting on my personal birds and like the results. I prefer to buy a foam body from a supplier and neck material and go for it, however, I carcass casted crows that were smaller than any crow body on the market and a dead mount grouse and was better than altering a pre casted foam body from a supplier.
  16. smalliestalker

    smalliestalker and a river runs through it.

    Awards mean nothing IMHO if you are not doing the same level of work for your clients as you use for promotion of your work. In fact, I think you are cheating your clients who you claim "wouldn't know the difference".
  17. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I realize birdbrains are slow, but just how slow can you go. I don't CARE how you do it, how fast you do it, how much you charge for it, or if you EVER get it done. Is that so hard to understand? I don't give a damn if the Queen of England hired you as her personal taxidermist. Obviously "my way" isn't the "only" way, but I asked you a simple question: How MANY is MANY? I know of a few, but damned few. I named some pretty decent and award winning taxidermists who market both forms and heads. Now you just spell it out right here: Are Tony Finazzo, Joe Ferebee, and Sefan Savides doing it the WRONG WAY?
  18. duxrus

    duxrus Active Member

    I was asking as to clients knowing the difference in a real bill compared to an artificial one. IMO, not many . Same as the best bill paint job in the world that took a hour compared to a 5 minute generic airbrushing, no. I would assume that most people's competition pieces had a lot more hours behind them versus a bird on a stick ready for the door. In many (not every) people's shops there is a big difference in comp work and commercial. I have been told by judges that I am as good as I can get using real heads but to jump into the high blue ribbon league I would have to use artificial. Since I don't plan on doing one method for comp and a different method toward my commercial work I stick with using real skulls (except on eiders or rosey bills). My show room is filled with what you see is what you get across the board.
  19. duxrus

    duxrus Active Member

    You must care comparing the world to yourself ...." In time alone, I can mount a duck in what it takes you to clean, inject, mache, and EPOXY that real head."
    Those are big words towards a world of folks you have not a clue about. You must care enough to puff your chest with such a statement. Post up some current work to show how great your work with an artificial head looks since you can do one so fast. WASCO awards aren't a gauge of quality but pictures are worth a thousand words (or awards)

    Your reading comprehension must be lacking since I didn't say anyone was doing anything wrong unless they were turning out crap work. Those people you listed all do phenomenal work but thinking that just because a certain group uses a certain method means that no other method exists to achieve great work is STUPID as you love to put it. This is like asking how do you do your eye rings, legs, fleshing, washing, etc... there is no single method that is best to everyone across the board.

    Back to "how many", I specialize in birds and birds only so I know plenty of great bird people that wrap bodies. Have I ever tried that method ? No , so I don't have an opinion as to whether it is better or worse compared to using manikins...for me. Who am I to judge another person's methods ? If someone is good, they are good. I know just on this site alone MANY of the European best of the best are wrapping everything from the smallest to the largest of birds with results dreamed of by most , including myself.
  20. alan webfoot

    alan webfoot New Member

    glasseye that is a super looking wrapped body,the way I learned ,Old School aint out for recess yet ,I use foam and carve all mine BUT it's nice to know if I need to I can fall back on other methods.