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Wire gauges for different bird sizes?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Cargophora, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. When buying metal wires for different sizes of birds how do you figure out what's the appropriate gauge of wire to use in the legs and wings? :0
  2. Tom Maul

    Tom Maul Active Member

    As a rule, you'll want to use the heaviest gauge wire that you can reasonable manipulate. For example... if you're wiring a duck's neck in flight, you want your wire to be strong enough to support the head without bounce and wobble, but you very well may need to be able to bend that wire some after the bird is put together. If the wire is TOO heavy you'll maul the neck trying to do so.
    So... to answer the question...
    To get started you could try using Stefan Savides' wiring chart out of the Research Mannikins catalog... or www.rmi-online.com
    you can also go to taxidermy.net/forums/ and search "wire gauge". These archives are an extremely valuable resource. I urge you to use it.
    Beyond that... experience is the best teacher... a bit of trial and error. If you try Stefan's suggestion and don't quite agree that, say, it was heavy enough, then next time move up a gauge. Keep notes!
    I don't know what birds you're doing. I mostly do ducks. My opinion is that if you had 12, 14, and 16 gauge wire on hand you could do any duck flying around these parts. 14 gauge does the lions share of my ducks. You'll need much heavier wire for your support wire... say 8 gauge, but that depends on not only bird size, but how far it's extended from the wall. Again, some trial and error. KEEP NOTES... at least for a while.
    Wire is cheap, relatively speaking, so the more gauges you have on hand the better off you'll be. I usually have from 6 down to floral wire (28 gauge?) on hand.

    I'm light years away from being some kind of expert, but I think the above is solid advice to get you started.
    I hope I've helped at least a little. Respectfully, Tom

  3. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I just started at 28 gauge and went up to 6 gauge wire. I got them in annealed and galvanized wire. I even bought super thin thread like craft wire. Looking at my wire storage area shows what I use the most.

    I did it this way so I would always have some kind of wire for any job I needed to do. Some of that wire I have had for years and suddenly I finally have a use for it and other wire I have to re order several times.
  4. Can I buy standard galvanized wire from Home Depot or should I buy from a taxidermy supply company? Is there any difference? I ask because Home Depot is close by and sells a variety of wire sizes and it would allow me to purchase many different sizes inexpensively.
  5. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I think you can. I use copper wire that is used in wiring for houses in various gauges.
  6. Tom Maul

    Tom Maul Active Member

    My opinion is "sure".
    Couple things to consider... annealed wire doesn't have the memory that galvanized does. In other words, it doesn't want to "spring back" so to speak. This can be
    advantageous, but frankly, I don't think it's THAT big of a deal.
    Also, I've taken to buying straight lengths (usually 3 or 4 ft) instead of coiled because I find it easier to work with. It's more expensive that
    way and, to my knowledge, only comes in galvanized, but neither of those is a deal breaker for me.
    Lastly, keep in mind that one make of, say, 14 gauge wire may not have the same strength of another make of 14 gauge wire. The
    difference is rather subtle in my opinion, but it's worth noting...
    But again, Anything you use that gives you the results your looking for and will keep your mount structurally sound is acceptable in my humble opinion.
    Experience can often be the best teacher and wire is cheap. Try different things. See what works for you. Good luck.
  7. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Well, opinions are like.... but MY OPINION is Tom nailed this one.
  8. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    check the VanDykes catalog it has a list to start by and then as time goes you'll gain an appreciation of what works for you.
  9. bowelk

    bowelk Member

    Also check Research Manikins catalog - they have a chart that may be of some help in choosing the correct wire size for a particular application or species.