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Leg to Leg incision

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by RichMO, Aug 20, 2016.

  1. RichMO

    RichMO Well-Known Member

    Just thought I would ask.... How may use the Leg to Leg incision for their waterfowl - Flying position? If you do how hard is it to get the wing into the sockets?
  2. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Piece of cake. Just roll your skin inside out and when you get it over the neck, wire your wings tight, then roll the hide back over them. Perhaps I do it a bit different than some, but I always cut the legs off after skinning so they can be injected, carded, and dried before I start mounting the bird. Then I superglue the skin back around the knees of the bird before sewing up the leg.


    AFTHUNT Well-Known Member

    X2 what George said
  4. txoutdoors

    txoutdoors Active Member

    I do all my birds this way.
  5. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    I find that method especially helpful in wood ducks or other thin skinned birds. Makes it easier to flesh in those areas that are extremely thin. Breast grooms up easier to IMO.
  6. magicmick

    magicmick magicmick

    Thinking out loud what would be the smallest bird you could do this method on? or who out their has done small birds this way.
  7. finazducks

    finazducks EJ is not the only one to have two Wasco Awards

    This method really helps with balance in standing birds because you can mount the legs on the body before the skin goes on.
  8. Willi

    Willi New Member

    "Perhaps I do it a bit different than some, but I always cut the legs off after skinning so they can be injected, carded, and dried before I start mounting the bird. Then I superglue the skin back around the knees of the bird before sewing up the leg."

    Now I'm confused. When I read this a few weeks ago I thought that "cut the legs off" meant the scaled, featherless part because that seemed the most logical to me. Today in biology class we learned that the featherless part is the foot, that a bird walks with just it's toes on the ground and the "knees" are higher up between the drumstick and the thigh. Between the tibia and femur like humans.
    So if I try this technique, where should I cut the legs off?
  9. smalliestalker

    smalliestalker and a river runs through it.

    Willi, At the hip joint Do that as soon as you can (detaching the femur from the hip and the entire thigh where attached to the body) depending upon your skinning technique, to give yourself more room and vision of what's going on, to more easily proceed with your work.
  10. RichMO

    RichMO Well-Known Member

    Well I know it is supposed to be easy so that is why I'm heading out next month to get me some schooling... (hope that's proper English). I have a time set up with Randy Terry to do a pheasant. I'll let you know how bad I screw up....LOL. After that I have a couple of ducks in the freezer to butcher.... The interesting part to this I've been with what I consider two of the best waterfowlers in the country and they both cut the breast...?? I guess to each their own.
  11. RTF

    RTF Active Member

    I do leg to leg on everything. Both standing and flying. Would have it no other way.
  12. txoutdoors

    txoutdoors Active Member

    Tony is spot on as far as having the ability to pose the bird prior to mounting. Huge benefit.

    Also, think about the way the feathers lay. Top to bottom and shingled from side to side. When doing a breast incision, you have to work the feathers from side to side to put them back. I call it shingling and its not always easy to cover (at least for me).

    By going leg to leg, you separate the feathers that lay top to bottom. When putting it back, it's a more natural transition for the feathers to lay. As a result, I find it's much easier to accomplish getting the feathers to groom correctly.

    Lastly, how many people look between the legs of a bird? In a swimming or standing pose....never. A flying, belly up pose it's visible but for the most part it's not. Almost every pose shows the breast so if you use that type of incision and jack it up its more likely to be seen.
  13. Mosti

    Mosti Member

    Interesting discussion, but which are the exact points (A to B) where the incision stars and ends? I am still very unclear about it but I am assuming that skinning the bird which such incision is easier, especially when you arrive at the chest/neck area, there is less risk of tearing it.
  14. bucksnort10

    bucksnort10 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for starting this thread. I am a believer now too. :)
    I have done turkeys in the past with the leg to leg incision, but have started doing it on the last 3 birds (grouse and ducks) that I just did.
    I really like it a lot. I was doing both breast and dorsal incisions depending on the pose before but now am thinking of not doing breast incisions at all.
  15. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Pick a leg. Start (A) at the inside of that knee. You incision should go toward the anus (I prefer behind the anus, some like it in front) and then proceed to the inside of the opposite knee cap (B). As Tony said, the legs can be removed, cleaned, wired the manikin, injected, and posed right then allowing them to dry as the skin goes through the process. Even if that's weeks later, the feet will be done and painted before the hide is attached. No masking or cleaning feathers necessary.
  16. 1stturkey

    1stturkey Member

    Okay, I'm just a hack and have done very few birds but when a dorsal incision was suggested to me I tried it and saw the advantages. What's the trade off to that and the leg to leg?
  17. bucksnort10

    bucksnort10 Well-Known Member

    I am a hack too. :) But I will give you my opinion as I have a couple of spare minutes this morning.

    Some of the trade-offs are affected by whether or not you detach your legs from the skin on the dorsal incision.

    I guess it all comes down to how to take a bird before you touch it and then as easily for you put it back together correctly with the least amount of damage by you, to the bird. Sorry if that sounds short. It is not meant that way at all. But that is what I try to do on my birds. Sometimes they just fall into place and others I just fight with and they don't turn out well at all.

    But like Rich has hinted at a lot of it is personal preference. As a side note to perhaps back up his comment, I have been in (2) world champion's workshops and saw them both do birds and they both were doing breast incisions. Not saying they only do breast incisions.

    For me, it comes down to personal preference and what pose I plan on doing.

    If a guy has an open mind and trys different methods for doing various tasks, you should quickly form an opinion on what works best for YOU.

    Good luck. Dan
  18. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I hardly think there's a "trade off" involved. And secondly, I'm not trying to besmirch anyone's success, but I've seen more than one "champion" whose commercial/client birds looked like owl snot on a windshield. Going to someone's "seminar" is but a spit in time and likely to change when the NEXt champion is named. Common sense should prevail.

    Mounting any bird involves two separate but equally important processes: The anatomy and the skin. The leg to leg incision gives you a big leap on the anatomy part. As I explained above, it allows you to work independently of the skin and without the need for masking and cleaning paint afterwards.

    From the common sense aspect, most of us BEGINNERS (not hacks) have an issue with removing ALL fats from the skin. That too is a process that must be learned. Since there's a chance that we don't get every vestige of fat, the leg to leg is a shortstop for oil bleedthrough on your bird. In the old days with wrapped bodies, you got away with leaving a bit of fat. When it broke down under the skin, it was quickly absorbed by the wood wool and string. Voila', we invented plastic foam bodies. Now the grease puddles up and WILL LEAK DIRECTLY THROUGH TO THE FEATHERS ON A VENTAL CUT BIRD. Even with a leg to leg, smart taxidermists have long ago inserted a paper towel under the belly area "just in case".

    I've seen dorsal cuts, but again, this is not something for a beginner to attack. If you have a sitting pose, you may get away with it, but on a flyer, you're going to have to show some talent to hide a seam along a part of the body with a very scant covering of feathers. The back skin of a bird is thin to begin with and often has a thick layer of fat there to protect the vital organs of the bird from the cold while in flight. The chest/breast area will have the thicker/heavief feathers and down where seams can be hidden a bit easier. Still, hiding a seam on some birds required extra attention to detail in order for that seam line to be invisible. The leg to leg is in an area seldom observed by anyone as well as hiding any grease bleed that may occur.

    As in most every other job, you should temper any information given you by ANYONE (including me) with your own experience and talent levels. Because "we've always done it this way" is just plain stupid because in many cases that relates to "we've always done a crappy job".
  19. magicmick

    magicmick magicmick

    great point george