1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

"Stuffing toes"

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by George, Apr 29, 2016.

  1. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Many beginners start with small mammals and presume that the toes don't need the same attention as the rest of the animal. Sure, you can get away with it in many cases, but even in the best of it, the toes will dry and shrivel.

    When we say that the toe must be skinned down to the nail, that's just what it means. I'm always hearing "I couldn't get all way to the claws on that squirrel or chipmunk". YES YOU CAN. In fact, for you mount to be the best it can be, you must.

    OK, so now you have the bone removed and the toe is hanging like a wet noodle, where do you go from here.

    I'm used many methods from the days of filling them with sand up to using epoxy putty. Still, the most reliable medium is clay.

    Most people make this far too difficult. If you're doing an animal, take your clay out and make a dozen of small rolls the size of the toe. Put these in the freezer and let them set overnight. It may surprise you, but the hardest frozen clay will thaw in a matter of seconds. Be sure you're ready to work when you take the rolls out of the freezer, Shove the frozen roll of clay down the toe and then snap it off as it reaches the foot. Go back in as you mount the animal and put a roll of fresh clay all around the foot so that you can press the form into it and set the toes accordingly.

    On larger animals, I use a syringe. I cut the end of the syringe off just behind the convergence of the tube where a needle would ordinarily go. I pull the plunger back and roll clay into a diameter than can be fed and lightly compressed inot the syringe barrel. Once done, I insert the barrel inot the toe area as far as it wil go. Then I press the plunger to force clay up into the toes. When you mount the animal, you can bend the toes as you desire and you can take a euro pin and hold the toe where needed.

  2. BrianHendricks

    BrianHendricks Member

    Re: "Stuffing toes"

    Good stuff George ! I've done the frozen clay for toes and tails but the syringe thing is a new one for me to try. Doing this for 46 years and still learning new things. Thank you George for all the good stuff you put on here.

  3. turkeyshooter

    turkeyshooter Member

    Thanks George! :)
  4. MooseFriend

    MooseFriend Just a moose from Canada, eh?

    I'm actually having trouble with toes and paws lately. I'm working with rats, and most videos of people mounting them say to cut at the elbow/wrist and ankle. But I find the paws get gross (skin slip, discoloured) and I end up just cutting them off.

    Should I go down so far as the toes and cut them there, and fill the foot with clay? How come the videos of people cutting at the joints work out fine? What are they doing to keep the paws in good condition?
  5. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    No, you should not cut them at their toes. You should cut them at each toe nail. All the way down until you run out of bone. Use magnifying glasses and a scalpel with a sharp pointed blade and go slow.
  6. Jon S

    Jon S Well-Known Member

    Great info , thanks for posting George.
  7. Windrunner

    Windrunner New Member

    I never thought to freeze the clay before, I am going to try this next time!

    Whenever I get small mammal pelts already skinned and tanned by another person they've always left the entire paw in. Skinning out a small tanned paw isn't easy, but I much prefer the results afterwards ;D
  8. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    You can do the same with ear butts. Clay your liners to the form, cut the clay off at the base of the clay/form junction and freeze until time to mount. Whiskers too. Put whiskers in clay in the order they came off the face and freeze until you mount. Thaw the clay and pull the whiskers and insert into the form.
  9. What about chickens? I have a feathered footed chicken with fat feet. I'm not exactly sure what the procedure would be regarding that.
  10. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Totally different than mammal feet.
  11. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    You may as well accept the fact that those "fat" feet are going to have to be cast. Run wires down the leg and ALL the toes. Freeze solid. Cover them with 2 part silicone and let it cure for a day. Cut the silicone and remove the foot, then cast.