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Fluffing bird feathers.

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Primetines, Jul 6, 2015.

  1. Primetines

    Primetines New Member

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    I recently did 2 bufflehead ducks and am having problems with the feathers staying matted down. I tried many different grooming brushes, blow drying and even low pressure from air compressor but unable to get them to look like my reference photos. Any help?
     
  2. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    They sound dirty or greasy.
     

  3. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    More than likely its your washing method. If you don't get the skin and feathers clean, no amount of grooming will help. Take some pics of your cleaned skin and post them. Also tell us what your washing ritual is and we'll see if we can help.

    Bird mountimg is 90% Cleaning and 10 % mounting.
     
  4. critterstuffr

    critterstuffr New Member

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    3
    Another thought is the old adage bigger is better . . . not so with bird bodies. With birds if you overstretch the skin they will fatten out. What I think happens is the feather shafts that grow out of the skin when overstretched presses the shafts against the artificial body and that forces the feathers down and flattens them out. With the slightly smaller body the skin will give and let the feathers fluff so to speak. When you order or wrap your birds bodies smaller is better. Just my thoughts. Good Luck
     
  5. I agree 100% that it sounds like they weren't washed/rinsed enough. Did you dry the bird prior to mounting it or was it still wet?
     
  6. Primetines

    Primetines New Member

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    Here's the Bufflehead photo

    [​IMG]
     
  7. jhunter13

    jhunter13 Member

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    It looks like it is still wet or full of grease.
     
  8. Primetines

    Primetines New Member

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    Its definitely not wet, but may be grease. I gave it 2 months to dry.
     
  9. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    That bugger is still looks very greasy, or didn't get rinsed well at all.
     
  10. Primetines

    Primetines New Member

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    In reply to my washing & drying methods:
    After skin has been fleshed, I wash & rinse the bird twice, using one wash tub and one rinse tub separately both times. The 1st time, the wash tub is water, dawn & paint thinner or mineral spirits. I use 1/4 paint thinner to amount of water and gently rotate and swish the skin around no longer than a minute, them rinse in plain cold water. 2nd wash I do the same, but no paint thinner/mineral spirits in the wash tub.. Dawn & water only.
    After washing I lay the bird skin side down on a towel for about 5 minutes, then proceed to dry it by hand with a blow dryer. I also use a brush or large pin while blow drying to get the feathers underneath. I blow dry every time for about 1/2 hour and have gone as long as an hour in the past. Therefore I don't think wetness is the issue.
    Once skin is dry I let it sit skin side down in preserve powder up to an hour and also dust the form/body with preserve. I then proceed to mount. I've done maybe 20 birds total and this is the first one the feathers were matted down as much as they are in the photo.
     
  11. fowlweatherfowler

    fowlweatherfowler Well-Known Member

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    NW Ohio
    I guessing grease, I believe I see a stain on the belly incision. How did you go about fleshing, removing all the meat, removing oil gland, bone marrow?
     
  12. Read this washing tutorial done by Nancy awhile back...it walks you thru step by step how to wash/rinse your birds and how to tell when they're clean. Hope it helps in the future

    http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,71316.msg450617.html#msg450617
     
  13. mallard1

    mallard1 New Member

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    I have Never heard of doing that before. Some do use a flammable solvent, undiluted, AFTER it is thoroughly washed: many do not use a solvent. But I have never heard of the mixture you are using to wash the bird.
     
  14. I think using the solvent at the same time as the dawn is just throwing money away. I don't use gas but if I did use any gas/solvent I would do so as the last soak to displace water and allow the bird to dry quicker. Honestly, the bird looks like the feathers were wet, dirty, and poorly rinsed when mounting however your process that you described would seem to contradict that. When a bird is dry and ready to mount the skin should still be damp but the down feathers should be nice and dry... if that's the case and the bird doesn't have the shape and smooth feathers it should, even before you put it on the form, then you have residue (soap, solvent, etc.) on the feathers and you need to rinse a bunch more! Hope this helps
     
  15. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    2,122
    MN
    Maybe you are not fleshing enough??? When it comes to those little butterballs, 2 wash and rinses never seem to be enough. Leave the oil IE paint thinner mineral spirits out of the wash. If you use them it is typically done after the washes and rinses.
     
  16. You know the political correct thing is to say nothing if you have nothing good to say, but to be honest, we have become so inundated with PC crap, that sometimes the truth needs to be said. I looked at your Facebook page, and your birds all look the same. Besides the fact that you have your skinning, fleshing, washing, rinsing, and drying process messed up, you are doing things to birds that look like you are trolling? Are you really serious about taxidermy? I'm certainly a hack myself, but I'm at least attempting to improve. Every answer on preparation is here. Every reference picture is a Google - search away. I cannot believe you haven't looked at these birds you've mounted, and said: "That resembles my reference!"

    Birds are tough. You need to understand anatomy, and modify mannikins, take accurate measurements, have correct placement on the wings, tails, vent, legs, neck length etc.

    I'm not trying to be a total dick. It's simply not my nature. I'll help anyone anytime, even though I'm just a hack. Do yourself a favor. Purchase a flesher. Wash in dawn, flesh again, scrub again in dawn. Rinse, invert the skin, wash again. Rinse until water is clean. Keep gas out of the equation unless you want to dry faster? Dry the bird thoroughly, until the downy feathers are dry. Now this is just prepping a skin. Now pluck a bird. Study the anatomy. Print off several photos of live birds. Use these as a reference . Get a video. Watch it 10 times. Do a few birds. If after that, you show some artistic talent, then take some one on one training with a BIRD TAXIDERMIST. Until then, please don't do birds for customers. You are not ready. As you improve, you will regret terribly every single bird that left your shop in this condition.

    Call it tough love. I wouldn't take the time. WE wouldn't take the time if we didn't want to help you.
     
  17. I'm not trying to be rude by any means but buddy you didn't get it fleshed the best. You may have washed it yes but you have to get every single piece of meat fat exct off of the bird and have it spotless between each quill on the bird. It looks like the grease is leaking through pretty bad. You'll learn over time like I did I done the same exact thing. Good work though keep it up!
     
  18. duxrus

    duxrus Active Member

    On another post you said you took in 9 or 10 ducks. You also said that reputation was everything. From this post to the picture of the natural turkey head you attempted you need to learn a lot more before taking people's money. People tend to want to start businesses way before they are ready. If reputation is truly important to you, please learn the craft before disappointing clients. Like Pete said we aren't trying to be mean but sugar coating the truth isn't in our nature. There is a ton wrong with that buffie way beyond feathers not laying flat. Watch some videos and possibly pay a good taxidermist to teach you before proceeding with taking in work. Again not trying to be an azz but I assume you are taking money from others after the other posts you have made.
     
  19. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I almost don't want to post this, but, I agree with what is being said here. You are definitely not ready for customers. The pics on your face book of the birds, the deer, and the trout, as well as some of the bears, just simply are not customer quality mounts. When I wanted to do mounts for customers, most people I talked to about it said that I should start doing decent quality first and a taxidermist friend, after he was through with his fits of laughter, said "son, you got along ways to go." I took the criticism a little hard, however, I heeded the advice and was so glad I did. This is meant to help not hurt you. If you are OK with giving your customers that quality, then that is all you need. Just realize that it can come back to bit you. I only wrote this to you because I appreciated the brutal honesty that was offered to me and after waiting years, honing my skills, I was rewarded with word of mouth that was praise and I got more customers than I really wanted because they heard how good I was (and I ain't all that good, just better than average). For years of hard work and study, I got an awesome return in customers and respect. I could not have gotten that if I had started my business before I was ready. I hope you take this with how it was intended, with the intention of wanting you to reap the same rewards and not done with any malice. I want you to be known as a kickass taxidermist.
     
  20. WildlifeLady

    WildlifeLady Member

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    Do you have a tumbler? I would invest in one. Birds are extremely difficult, the tumbler would help in your process.