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Tumbling bird skins after washing

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Furman, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. Furman

    Furman New Member

    Looking for advice on tumbling bird skins after washing. I have on hand corn cob grit and hardwood dust for my tumbling.

    What are the methods that you use to tumble wet birds?

  2. BigSwede

    BigSwede Member

    It depends on the bird. I often use potato starch for smaller, more delicate birds such as songbirds, pigeons, and the like. It dries the feathers very neat and quickly and puts no stress on the thin skin. In fact you dont need to tumble this little guys, you just cover the skin with the starch and shake it out,repeat a couple of times then blow-dry. On the bigger birds I use hardwood sawdust.

  3. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Maybe it's just semantics, but I'd never tumble my birds "wet". Once I wash them, they're put through a spin cycle in the shop washing machine and then blown with shop air. They are only "damp" when they go in the tumbler. It saves a bunch of medium this way. I never use anything but corncob grit on mine as I found that hardwood sawdust seemed to stick in the feathers and made removal much more difficult.
  4. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    I use corncob grit now....I was using hardwood sawdust but it was tough to get out of the down feathers. This seems to work better for me. Good luck...JL
  5. wingman

    wingman Active Member

    I use a combo of Fine concob grit Fine Hardwood sawdust and Fine rice hulls along with one box of borax I use a Master Blaster (dog dryer / groomer) which has absolutly no problem blowing All the dust out of the down and primaries. After pulling the bird out of the white gas I wring it out well invert the wings and neck tumble for a few minutes to absorb any moisture on the skin side and then reinvert the wings and neck back out and tumble for a few more minutes to finish it off, then shake excess out and "BLAST" the rest out with the air A little fluffing with a hair dryer and your ready to mount, Good luck! Ps I know some people frown on the use of white gas BUT I use it in a Safe manner with protective gear and have NO problem with getting birds dry Quick
  6. Furman

    Furman New Member

    Good info guys

  7. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Wingman, I know, but I always discourage using volatile fluids in any way. Many people use it "Because so-and-so uses it with no problems". I like to compare it to guys who make dynamite. They never have any problems either until ONCE. Then you don't hear them telling others to do it. I've never heard anyone who had a bad experience ONCE with gas recommend using it to anyone else. All it ever takes is ONCE.
  8. Bill Dishman

    Bill Dishman Well-Known Member

    i pretty much use the same recipe as wingman, corncob grit mixed with borax. instead of using a tumbler, i use a large plastic tub and work the corncob mix in by hand. fluff and clean the grit out of your bird with compressed air, then fluff some more with a hairdryer, then mount. I also gas mine (coleman fuel) before the corncob treatment.
  9. birdstuff

    birdstuff Proud member of NZTA and UTA

    Hi I think George is on to it ,I gave up tumbling bird skins long ago . I do the same as him spindry and blowdry , it takes longer to get the sawdust out than it does to blowdry after the spin cycle
  10. jmdu

    jmdu New Member

    i have started using puffed borax and a garbage bag. takes about 3 min. and the bird is dry.just fluff with a blow dryer and your done.I also gas mine and think it really displaces the water making drying time alot better.
  11. Rick RR GBirds

    Rick RR GBirds Let's go kill some birds...I'm psyched!

    Sure it displaces water faster...But do you care at all about your health, your safety, or wheather you will be blown to kingdom come...I take the extra two minutes and don't use gas...Its really not needed!
  12. Jimmy Rimrock

    Jimmy Rimrock Yeah, they come to snuff the rooster

    After washing for me its:

    1) no gas anymore
    2) 15 - 20 minute tumble in corn cob grit
    3) blow dry to get fluffy, little birds; hair dryer, BIG birds; shop "blo" that a dedicated (no other use) shop vac backwards
    4) Borax in any "meat areas", (wings/legs/head neck, etc, all others are skin and quills, no flesh left to need preserving) as I mount it
    5) damp cloth if skin dries to point where no longer flexible and supple
  13. NICKYG


    I almost always use hardwood sawdust in my tumbler for tumbling my birds, after I first do my baths, then gently towel dry, until they are semi-dry...(gently towel drying removes a lot of moisture and dampness from the bird) I would never even think about putting a bird in a washing machine, especially how delicate some species of birds are.... Good Luck!!
  14. JCGaydos

    JCGaydos New Member

    I agree, towel dry and I use corn cob grit.
  15. I used to tumble birds with corn cob grit. I bought a new custom tumbler when I started working by myself but never used it.
    Here is my method:
    1. I soak bird with dawn and warm water for 15 min. By using a soft paint brush i gently brush the inside of the skin with dawn and water. Rinse it 3 times. Turn the skin and gently brush the feathers with the same brush and dawn with water. Rinse the bird 3 times, then i pour Tide (original) to make the feathers smell good. Rinse till there is no suds.
    2. I put the bird in the washing machine. Set the washing machine on spin cycle. Remove the bird when it is done.
    3. I lay the bird on a pan of borax and sprinkle all over inside and out and I leave it for 5 minutes.
    4. Blow dry the feathers right away with double action turbovac 800 vacuum that I bought at Home Depot. This vacuum has warm air and I like it better than the compressor or a blow dryer because it is more gentle than the compressor and not too hot as the hair dryer. I spend lesser time drying the feathers too. Make sure that all the feathers are dry and not let the wet borax dry on the feather. If it does, wet the feather to remove the borax and then dry the feather. If you don't remove it, the borax makes your feather look dull.
    5. Remove extra borax on the inside of the skin with a soft paintbrush.
    6. Wet the skin as you go because the borax tends to dry the skin faster.
    I do these with all birds.
    I like my process better than tumbling because with tumbling especially on wood ducks, mallards, etc tend to have more skin tear during the process.