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A Few Problems I Experienced Recently

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Trapper2016, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. Trapper2016

    Trapper2016 Thanks for this awesome forum!

    I hope everyone is having a good week and wouldn't mind helping me with a few questions I had pertaining to a duck mount i recently completed.

    This is my first duck that i have mounted as an adult, and it pretty much turned out like most first ducks. Better than when i was a kid, but still so much more challenging than a mammal. Especially as a hobbyist. The duck i chose to try was a Northern Shoveler Hen gifted by Bob Jungman (thanks again Bob!), and i used Shane Smith's new bird bodies. I have numerous bird DVD's and magazines but there were still several problem points that i just couldn't get addressed with the literature that i had.

    The first major question i have pertains to the humerus placement and how it sits in the form. I hope i can explain this accurately, and i will include a pic of the bird form (taken from taxi net) for reference. My question is, when the humerus is in position correctly for a standing mount, will the entire humerus bone be in contact with the form? And when i say this, i mean the entire bone with no skin in between the form and the bone. I had alot of trouble finding the pocket of the bird, and I wondered if this might help explain the problem. To me, it seemed that the natural position, would be for the first 1/2 or so of the humerus from the balljoint down would be in direct contact (no skin in between bone and form), and then as the humerus approached the elbow joint, there would start to be some skinin between the bone and form for a sitting mount. I know this is confusing, and will take a picture next time as im working. It seemed to me that if i wanted the entire humerus to sit down in the groove with the bone against the form and no skin in between that it would contort the wing out of place.

    The 2nd issue that i ran into that puzzled me regarded the artiicial head. This is the first time i have used one, and it went smooth, except for in a few areas close to the bill and near the ear, the feathers wanted to go against the grain unnaturally. I couldnt really find an explanation for this when i went over the head. I could find no depressions, peaks, or obvious explanations in the head that could cause this. The skin was also taken care of well and the feathers did not stand up like that before mounting. The skin was not too tight and maybe that was the problem. Maybe a little caulk in that area would have fixed it.

    I hope i didn't confuse anybody, and hope to hear some of your opinions. It really will help alot on my next bird.

    Attached Files:

  2. Hi Chris,
    I don't know if I'm much help but the form on the left is for a flying mount...but I'm sure you already knew that. The whole bone should fit nicely in the slot and then just tuck your wings and pin them in place....Sometimes I wire my wings if it's a bigger bird to hold them in place.I must admit there are some birds that the wings don't lay smooth but it may depend on if you are wrapping the bones first with batting and string? I do it like Shane Smith does on his free tutorial on Mackenzie's website. As for the feathers on the head...I can't figure out why that they didn't lay smooth unless you didn't clean the skin good enough?I use my wire wheel on the inside of the head to get it really clean and I do add some caulk here and there in the head...just be real careful in case there are shot holes you forgot about!I've done that several times! I don't know if I helped any but I thought I would respond since nobody else has! Good luck!

  3. Tom Maul

    Tom Maul Active Member

    The best advice I can give you (if I understand your question) is to take a thawed bird before skinning and spend some time really studying it. This is what you're trying to replicate. I'm not trying to be a smart guy, here. I think sometimes we already have the answer, but don't know it.
    If you literally mean "is there skin between the humerus bone and the body", the answer is "yes". There's actually two layers... the skin under the humerus and the skin over the abdomen. This skin (both wing and abdomen) needs to go where it was originally on the bird. The entire humerus bone goes in the wing (flight web), then the entire wing is folded naturally and positioned on the mannikan. There are different methods of wiring the wing, or not, and pinning the wing. Each method has pluses and minuses that should be discussed in the archives if you research it. Setting the wings on a standing bird is not an easy "slam dunk" thing to learn. It can be frustrating.
    As far as the head feathers... as Cheri has mentioned, the head skin needs to be fleshed well in the head (and everywhere). "Tight" is not better. That skin should taxi easily around the head. It's important that you hit your marks when attaching the skin to the bill. That skin needs to go back on where it came off or you'll have distortion. Also, if you get glue on a feather(s), it's toast. Don't get glue on feathers... and you're only gluing the edge... it doesn't take much. Find the ear holes in the skin (I use compressed air) and match them up to the ear holes on the artificial head. Now you have three known reference points and you can taxi the rest of that head skin appropriately. I use caulk in the head as Cheri does. Be advised, there's a big learning curve to using caulk!
    Lastly, a properly fleshed head dries out really quickly, especially after it's boraxed. Do what you have to do to keep that skin (not feathers) moist. If that skin is crispy or dry when you're mounting it, you're gonna have problems with every aspect of it. Apply water with a Q tip or artists brush. If the feathers get damp they can be dried with a blow dryer after the skin is positioned.
    Hope that I may have been some help. Good luck to you.
  4. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Chris, try this, buy a whole raw chicken, the kind for roasting, light the grill. Open the plastic the chicken is in. Study how and where things go, take pictures if you wish. When you are done studying it stick a can of beer up it's keester, stand it on the grill and cook til done and enjoy. I don't blow dry the head feathers until I have everything else assembled and in place. It helps me to see where things belong and helps keep glue or caulk off the feathers and if I get caulk on them I can just wash it off.
  5. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

    they sell chickens with the head on?....and no comb...go to kfc....and drink the beer.....you betcha....
  6. Tom Maul

    Tom Maul Active Member

    I agree, 3bears.
    I actually keep the head in a ziplock baggy or something comparable, wet (well, not dried) until I'm to the point of mounting the head. I then mount the head and THEN blow it dry. I hesitated to mention that.... I wasn't sure that that wouldn't make things even more of a challenge if one was already struggling, so I went with the idea of just making sure that things don't dry out. In retrospect, perhaps I should have mentioned it. Thanks for bringing it up.... and I'm glad to hear others with more experience have the same approach.
  7. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Nancy C. posted a half mounted duck with the other half just skin with no feathers. I din't know if it was a half plucked duck or if it was a recreation of the skin, either way it brought everything together for me as if a light was turned on.
  8. Tom Maul

    Tom Maul Active Member

    GREAT thought, Tanglewood! I have it saved in my favorites. Go to the search bar above and type... best use of spare bird. It's the third thread.
  9. Tom Maul

    Tom Maul Active Member

    Gotta do the search from the home page
  10. nate

    nate Active Member

    Was there pin feathers in the head?? Was the artificial head too big in that area??
    Lots of factors can come into this play. Just remember what you did and move on, take notes if you have to!! You're going to have a lot of stuff like that in your learning curve.
    Every time you put a bird together, try to remember what worked and what didn't and grow from there.
  11. Trapper2016

    Trapper2016 Thanks for this awesome forum!

    Thanks alot for the advice everyone. i have had the bird drying for a couple days now and i was able to get the feathers on the head to go down and stay in place using some painters tape, and they now seem to be dried and locked in. I will make sure that everything is fleshed next time. I thought i got everything, but i easily could have left something that was hampering progress.

    I will definetly look up the threads suggested, and i have several more birds in the freezer. When i get to skinning the next one, ill take a pic of what I am referring too on the wing. I think the question has already been aswered in the above replies, but i will make sure to take notes when i skin the next one.

    Just out of curiosity sake, out of the following ducks, which would you say would be the most user friendly to work on next: Drake bufflehead, green wing teal drake, surf scooter, red breasted merganser, or a black duck drake?

    Thanks again for the replies,
  12. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    You would think that typing in the search box best usr of spare bird would get you more into more threads than just this one, however, when I typed it, the only answer I got was Tom Maul's reply with what to type.

    One would think that a search with that many words, let alone with just the word bird in would take you to tens if not a hundred threads with the word bird in it. What's the point of a search button if it doesn't do a search?

    Ok, rant over. I feel a little better now.
  13. That was my post originally about a spare bird. I think this is what he's referring to possibly

  14. Trapper...a Bufflehead practically mounts itself....they are a fun bird to do!That's my opinion!Good luck!
  15. Tom Maul

    Tom Maul Active Member

    Yep... that's it, Jason. Thanks for that post!
    Tanglewood, I qualified that post sortly after by saying that you have to search from the home page. If you search from the thread, it only searches that thread (I think).
  16. Tom Maul

    Tom Maul Active Member

    I agree... bufflehead. Then the surf scoter (not scooter, although that sounds more correct to me, also, but I'm a midwestern boy ;D Just beware, the scoters I've done REALLY let out after fleshing. :eek: Then I would do the teal... then the black. I know a lot of folks would say the black before the teal. I find both thin skinned and it really just depends on the bird. I've never done a red breasted merganser. I would like to get the chance, though.
  17. Nancy C

    Nancy C Well-Known Member

    I'm glad to see that the half-mount wigeon is still helpful after all this time because the silly thing is still taking up space in my living room!
    Tanglewood Taxidermy, I made it by skinning half of the bird (that was a LOOONG incision!) and then plucking the rest. I cast the body, nubbly skin and all, and then mounted/glued the skin to the cast. I left the legs and head on the body, so they are cast with it in one piece.
    The plucked side also had the most shot damage so it got some epoxy work in a few places, but other than that I left it "as is" except for some airbrushing.
  18. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Thank you Nancy for going to all the trouble of doing a master piece of a learning tool. That one pic made all the difference in the world for me as I struggled to understand bird taxidermy.
  19. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

    buffle are easy but you have to deal with head not turning...so rb merg the scoter then buffle black teal....if you do the teal first you can handle them all.....lol
  20. Byrdman...what do you mean that you have to deal with the head not turning?