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Smooth eye work...

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by DogSoldierChick, Jun 9, 2015.

  1. I'm slowly progressing on my work and starting to really look at the finer details. One area I'm having great issues in is getting a smooth look with my epoxy work at the eyes.

    I don't get alot of pull from the eye or anything but just basic epoxy work. I use epoxy sculpt and roll up a tiny roll and go in tight. I use epoxy sculpt for my nictating membrane too. Of course we all want to be Stephen or Jena but I at least want to get a smooth look blending the epoxy and skin flawless. So I'm just smoothing it over with water and a brush...

    What colors of epoxy do you guys use? Methods to smooth it and paint it for a nice transition? Any help is GREATLY appreciated. I just went full time this week and am nervous and excited... So I'm second guessing myself and though I have 3 freezers full of work I'm not going to keep it if I'm not constantly improving.

    I heard someone say once that they love how taxidermist brag about having alot of work but that would scare me to death. A taxidermist needs empty freezers and always keeping up. So I'm nervous all the way around!

    Gotta keep uping my game and get faster and manage finances correctly and OMG..... think I can call my old boss back and get my day job again!!! Lol

    Oh yeah back to that smooth eye transition.... How you do dat?
  2. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Congrats on you discussion to go full time. At this point you need to start concentrating on business classes, learning as much or more than actual taxidermy. When I switched from water and apoxie to apoxie and safety solvent, my world changed. Using the safety solvent will up your game 100 fold. Anyway, it did for me. You will be amazed at how smooth you can get it. Many suppliers sell it, so it is readily available. It can also be used to clean apoxie of your tools before it hardens.

  3. Thank you for the kind words and your reply!
    It's nerve racking but I'm excited as well. I've managed to run a successful salon business for 12 years and I did take some business in college but managing hides being tanned, forms, supplies, energy supply coming in and product going out is well overwhelming.
    I'm placing an order this week and will be sure to include the safety solvent! Thank you. Do you use more modeling tools or a soft brush when your shaping? What color do you prefer or does it matter as its painted over anyway?
  4. Duckslayr

    Duckslayr Active Member

    Isopropyl alcohol works equally as well. Use it to make the apoxie a little damp when mixing. Experiment with different brushes.
  5. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    I prefer using lacquer based retarder over water. Apoxie solvent works good, but it more expensive than retarder. I also use natural colored apoxie sculpt, and if I need to tint it I do so with tube acrylics, dry tempra, or flocking.
  6. Jon S

    Jon S Well-Known Member

    I've been using flesh colored lately and like it. The solvent works better than water for blending with a brush. It also seems like new apoxy sculpt smooths better than old stuff. So it does have a shelf life.
  7. verne

    verne Well-Known Member

    Apoxy clay work's best for me . :)
  8. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Rubbing alcohol and different brushes and both natural apoxie sculpt and apoxie clay but using more apoxie clay these days.
  9. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    You can also make your own epoxy clay by adding a bit of clay to your mixed apoxie sculpt
  10. Jon S

    Jon S Well-Known Member

    I like that idea Cole!
  11. George1419

    George1419 New Member

    I use brown mixed with a little black and I paint it dark brown to blend with the lid then brush a thin layer of eye fluid to give it the wet look, if for some reason the paint wears a little when final cleaning my eyes it won't show because the epoxy is the same color.
  12. Wow thank you all so much! Ill be finishing out a couple tomorrow or Friday and ill definitely try these tips! Thanks!
  13. J Cook

    J Cook Cook Taxidermy

    I use appoxie clay and laquer thinner, dries before it has time to soak up eye skin.
  14. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    If you seal the skin around the eye with a lacquer sealer, it won't rehydrate when doing apoxie work.
  15. mimes

    mimes Member

    If your eye skin is rehydrating while doing apoxie work, you are using too much water. Just use apoxie sculpt with a little red flocking mixed in and the apoxie solvent to smooth. Done deal. Post some close up finish work if you want more help.
  16. Matt

    Matt Active Member

    I wouldn't recommend using water in your blending of apoxie. It can rehydrate your skin and look as though you are getting shrinkage in the apoxie. I have been using 90% rubbing alcohol for years now and it blends very nice. Congrats on going fulltime, are you going to the nationals this year? If so, I hope to see you there!
  17. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I don't guess I've pissed anyone off lately so I may as well get in some updating here. I simply don't understand some of you guys propping up a dime with a nickel. You'll save 50 cents on Super Solvent by buying alcohol, lacquer thinner, whatever, and save on buy Apoxie clay by mixing clay in Apoxie. If saving pissant pennies is that important to the quality of your work, it's time you rethought what you're charging. All of my supplies are free and my talent is simply just not good enough for me to use jury rigged materials in getting professional quality. When I hire the guy to paint my living room, I don't want him buying paint from the Dollar Store. I expect the paint to last me 10 or 15 years. He charges me for quality paint and I expect quality work. CHARGE THE CUSTOMER FOR YOUR SUPPLIIES.

    I use various colors in various places. I use flesh on the nostrils and nose are. I keep after my eye work and make sure there's ZERO shrinkage from the glass eye. That allows me to use black Apoxie for the front corner and nictitating membrane. I especially like the black as it seems more supple and with the Super Solvent and a good artist's brush, you can easily mold, form, and move the Apoxie to where you want it. Flesh is a bit more firm and I actually add a few drops of solvent to the parts as I mix them to keep them jellified. White? What a PITA that stuff is. It is gritty and the titanium just doesn't seem to blend as well. Even when I mix it with other colors, it wants to remain separate. The white is bad enough but that Super White can be a nightmare to work with.

    As far as the Apoxie Clay, I don't use it on deer. It's naturally flat or semi-gloss texture just doesn't work for me there. It's OK for snakes and lizards of all sizes, but I'm not a fan of it on deer.
  18. Alcohol is working great! Thanks everyone. Oh I wish I could go to nationals! I should its pretty close to me. Couple hours but I couldn't stay. I may drive up for a day. I'm sure it's a big show! I'm trying to build a shop and get customers mounts out the door so I'm crazy right now.
  19. Duckslayr

    Duckslayr Active Member

    ???? George. Since when is spending 5x more for a product that works EXACTLY the same than something my wife picks up at Walmart bad business lol?!! Do you buy your Bondo from McKenzie? Do you buy your braided fishing line from research? Paying more, buying it from a supplier, or putting a suppliers label on something doesn't make it better. If safety solvent worked better, saved me time, or saved me money, I'd use it. It does non of the above. Maybe you should give alcohol a try (and no I'm not mad, you can use caviar oil for all I care )
  20. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Jared, you're missing the point. No, I don't buy Bondo from McKenzie but I buy Bondo. I don't buy Fireline from Research, but I buy Fireline. Alcohol may quite well work on Apoxie but it IS epoxy and alcohol is NOT the best solvent for epoxy. There's lacquer thinner, xylol, and acetone that work just as well. And whether I used alcohol or not is superfluous: NONE OF IT COSTS ME A CENT. If a single one of you guys couldn't get a manikin that fit or had to make earliners out of lead sheet or use dextrin paste on red rosin paper forms, you'd be lost. You insist on all the modern conveniences of today's taxidermy suppliers and then you're propping up nickels with dimes on the supplies that work best for them. Do YOU want your housepainter using Dollar General store paint? Don't rationalize. If your painter said that he could save you $50 in costs for painting your house if he used Dollar General paint instead of Valspar, what would you tell him?