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shelac old school or not

Discussion in 'Lifesize Mammals' started by ZMax62, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. ZMax62

    ZMax62 New Member

    I just read Daniel M article in breakthrough and he stated he sealed his leopard form with shelac and it offered a superior surface to taxi the skin on. Just wondering if any one else does this and will all hide paste stick to the shelac. Thanks Rob
  2. Jerry Huffaker

    Jerry Huffaker Well-Known Member

    Hide paste will stick to shellac perfectly. I don't shellac anything, I don't think its necessary.

  3. Keith

    Keith Well-Known Member

    If you are fast enough with mounting, like an experienced guy like Jerry, it really isn't necessary.

    It is the mache that needs sealing. If you use mache and then mount before the mache has a chance to dry out, then you don't really need to shellac. Dried Mache will suck the moisture out of some hide paste making moving the skin harder.
  4. ljones

    ljones 1994 wasco award winner

    Shellacing forms was to seal and waterproof the form to keep it from turning to mush when a wet hide was put on back in the paper form days ...I don't think it will be any advantage on foam forms.... Back when I first got into taxidermy in the late sixties I mountted a deer on a paper form without shellac.. It was a upright form but the next day it was a full sneak Moisture in the skin had rehydrated the form and it got the limber neck LOL
  5. Daniel M.

    Daniel M. Tongo, the best dog in the world. (Saarloos)

    The main reason we use shellac is to prevent against foam collapsing when a manakin has been extensively altered. I've seen it happen in several shops and although it's very rare, it can happen a few days later, a few weeks or even months later. In fact I know of a great mount that actually won best in world a few years back where the foam collapsed causing the side of the mount to cave in sometime after returning from the show. I've learned that if there is a problem with the foam, it will collapse after you shellac it and then you can address the problem. I've only had it happen a few times since using shellac, but I'm sure glad it did it before I got it all mounted. It's simply worth the peace of mind for us, especially since we alter every single lifesize form that goes through the shop.
  6. ZMax62

    ZMax62 New Member

    Thanks everyone with your generosity answering this post . I love this site so much. And thank you for all the knowledge that you all give so freely . Thanks again Rob
  7. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    I have always skim coated repaired areas w/ bondo before mounting, which seems to prevent collapsing. I did have a manikin collapse on a repaired area years ago, but since skimming it w/ bondo I havent had any issues. I knew shellac was used w/ paper forms, but it's good to learn a use for it w/ foam as well.
  8. Keith

    Keith Well-Known Member

    Daniel, nice piece of information. It is extremely frustrating when the foam collapses, and It usually happens after the skin is on.
  9. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    How does shellac stop the foam from collapsing? Anyone care to elaborate? I haven't used it, I have used Bondo, as Cole suggested, to bridge the transitions.
  10. ljones

    ljones 1994 wasco award winner

    I to have had foam collapse when altering forms ... but it was always due me not mixing the foam correctly and being off by guessing at a 50-50 mix instead of measuring.. . I don't see how putting shellac over a bad mix ratio would keep the foam from collapsing .. But you learn something new every day
  11. Keith

    Keith Well-Known Member

    I doubt the shellac prevents the foam from collapsing, the shellac causes the bad mix of foam to collapse, I bet it is the alcohol in the shellac that causes the reaction.
  12. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Daniel, I understand you're a prodigy (not intended as an insult in any way) but I STRONGLY suspect you're repeating an old wives tale that's been carried forward. I've worked with foam since Archie Phillips started using it and if I had ANYTHING that deteriorated the tensile strength of the foam, I'd change the quality of the foam. Polystyrene and polyurethane are pretty impervious to other chemicals when cured and certainly organic shellac wouldn't form a more stable barrier to outside effects than the poly would itself. I know guys today who, upon receiving an order of forms, immediately paint them all with red shellac. As ljones stated, that's what we did to PAPER forms and they just never stopped doing it. I also know many people who, after alterations will place a skim coat of plaster of Paris or papier mache' over the form to give a smoother surface. I suppose the shellac would be a good idea if you did that, but I use foam and plastic freezer wrap to give me the surface, sand it or scratch it to give the hide paste tooth, and then use a quality hide paste. I can't imagine needing shellac on modern forms.
  13. JEJ

    JEJ Active Member

    I have used it to "seal" areas on forms I have altered/rebuilt with a mache mixture as I don't work overly fast and worry my water based hide paste would rehydrate that area and when taxiing the skin over it I would loose the detail I had just rebuilt.