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Suggestions from part time/busy shops

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by DeerMan43, Jan 23, 2018.

  1. DeerMan43

    DeerMan43 Member

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    Just gathering some ideas on trying to speed up my workload this year. I am a part time/full time shop with a regular full time job. As anyone knows, who is in my shoes, it gets quite hectic balancing work with what you have going on in the shop.

    My normal procedure for the last 13 years has been do as much prep work as possible during the week and on the weekends do my mounting. I try to mount just 1 deer a day, Saturday and Sunday. With this said, I need to see if others ever split up your mounting procedures between 2 days. For instance, say one evening start mounting say a whitetail, Then not until the following evening continue and so on. What I am looking for is actual detailed information, Saying I pull the hide set antlers, bag it. Finish the second evening. things like this. It may sound elementary to some but, I am very particular and need a plan before I jump into something new that I am not used to doing it a certain way.

    Appreciate all replies and Thanks to all for your help.
     
  2. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    I am full time and I bag things frequently til the next day, for example. I like to mount multiple critters in a row or even at the same time and say I get 2 mounted and it is only 2 pm, well I'm not going to sit on my arse for the rest of the day, so I'll get into another one, get as far as I can before I call it a day. Throw a contractor bag over it and clean up. Get back after it in the am. I keep mounting until my drying wall is full, then I move onto finishing or prepping other mounts, until they are ready for finish work, then I finish them and into the showroom they go and onto the next batch. The only thing I typically don't bag at all is fish, they typically don't take that long to mount.
     
    socalmountainman and DeerMan43 like this.

  3. jk

    jk Member

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    I also have run a part-time shop for over 20 years while being a high school teacher, head wr. coach and married and helping raise 3 boys. (No coaching now but Athletic Director and Assistant Principal ) Here is how I do it when I am really trying to get them cranked out.

    Monday prep hide and form #1
    Tuesday prep hide and from #2
    Wed, take the night off
    Thursday prep hide and form #3
    Friday mount #1
    Saturday mount #2 and #3
    Sunday, church, kids and rest

    When I am not pushed I back off to mounting one deer a week and all the other little things that come up. I prep one night and mount on Saturday morning. (I like this schedule a lot better) After I get 4 heads dry I finish them. This gets me about 4-5 a month done and about $600 dollars a week cash flow working about 12-15 hours a week.

    Good luck
     
  4. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    When I was operating full time taxidermy shop and full time day job, this is how I would do it. I would line up four deer heads on stands. If I was roughing up a form, I would do one after the other for all four. Setting eyes, ears, skull plates, capes, etc, was done in the same manner during the week. I'd mount one Friday evening, two on Saturday and one on Sunday. Sunday afternoon I would get four more heads out and ready to start another week. There was always plenty of other types of mounts I had going as well, so I could work on those whenever I needed a break from heads or during waiting times.
     
    DeerMan43 likes this.
  5. DeerMan43

    DeerMan43 Member

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    What I see here is great information, actually very similar to what I do now. Batch 4 up at a time everything is prepped prior to mount day. Probably go overboard on prep, by having everything laid out beside each mounting station. So kind of do it the same way as others posted with the exception of only mounting 1 per mount day. I am a very cautious person on mount day and take my time. I can have one pretty well done in around 5-6 hrs. So probably slower than most but like to make it right. Not sure if 2 a day would cut it for me as far as speed goes.

    What I did say previous was something I thought of. I had thought about maybe thru the week when I have one ready to go. Come home from work and paste it up, pull the hide, pin brisket, set antlers. Get ears ready, bag and call it a day. The next evening clay my eyes, do my sewing, and tuck my face. Bag it up. The 3rd day detail anything out of sorts and begin the drying process. I do worry about bagging 2 days in a row though. Only have experience in doing this for 1 day if I had to. But, always finished the next am. This would be way longer with a bag on than what I’m used to. Just so used to finishing 1 a day. But, with the amount the shop took in I’m needing to figure something out. Thanks for your input.
     
    Tanglewood Taxidermy likes this.
  6. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    My Saturdays were 15 plus hour days doing two mounts. Not what I would call a fun Saturday. I'm so glad I do almost no customer work any longer.
     
    DeerMan43 likes this.
  7. DeerMan43

    DeerMan43 Member

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    No doubt. Wish customers would realize what goes on in the lives of Taxidermists like myself, It’s tough running a Busy shop and also a regular job. But, I do what I need to do, to support my family.
     
  8. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    5,735
    1,222
    MN
    I was once where some are at, working 40 to 50 hours a week elsewhere and still doing taxidermy on the side. It is what forced me to do things the way I do. It also showed me that doing things in steps was possible. I found that, if I have everything prepped and ready to mount I can have a deer mounted in 3 hours or less, or a fish in 1 hour or less but birds are my enemy. They were my weekend projects, they always seem to take longer than expected. I also bag them and refrigerate over night on many occasions.
     
  9. John L

    John L Active Member

    If you prep a hide and form on Mon and Tues. Rest Wed. Prep another on Thurs. then mount on the weekend what are you doing with the capes until the weekend re-freeze or refrigerate?
     
  10. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I prepped all four forms as far as I could go. Afterwords the four capes came out of the freezer. I also worked on other taxidermy projects and spent time with the family during the week, so, the capes came out in time to prep and mount,so, they stayed in the fridge waiting their turn at the end of the week.
     
  11. DeerMan43

    DeerMan43 Member

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    The way I usually try to do is prep a batch of them, so prep as many as I can, say prep 4-5 one week and freeze hides after their prepped. One or 2 prepped an evening. Get forms prepped this same week. By Friday, I usually am ready to go for at least 2 complete setups. Saturday mount one and Sunday mount one. Hides are thawed the night prior to my 5:00am. Start time on mount day.
     
  12. WILD BROOKIES

    WILD BROOKIES JOIN EBTJV SAVE A RESOURCE

    MININUM WAGE 15$HR 20 HRS PART TIME PAYS THE SAME NO OVERHEAD AND HASSLE JUST SHOW UP TO FLIP BURGERS
     
  13. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    I pay myself $65 an hour because I like making money at taxidermy. At $700 per deer head it doesn't stop my customers from coming to me. I don't know anywhere in town that pays this much, certainly not McDonalds! IMG_2020.jpg IMG_2020.jpg IMG_2030.jpg
     
    bigrick_2u, TIMBUCK and DeerMan43 like this.
  14. DeerMan43

    DeerMan43 Member

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    Not sure what your saying. My shop definitely makes more than minimum wage. Are you implying not to have a business doing Taxidermy? Due to the fact of not making money at it? If that’s the case don’t charge $200 for a shoulder mount. Anyway, this is a thread about being more efficient. Not your implications.
     
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  15. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    @$75 an hour and 30 to 50 hrs a week, I would say that I was making more than minimum wage.
     
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  16. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    I try to do all the same steps at one time. All skinning at once, all fleshing at once, mounting at once so I only have to mix bondos, pastes, etc. at once. But more important than this is "flow" in the shop. Moving around the floor and having your stuff in the right place. Seems every time I work the shop, something is not in the right place. I had a nice paint area which was fine for fish but to do game heads on stands my airbrushes couldn't reach so I would have to drag the stand over. I finally made the airbrushes portable! Flow is very important. Saves time and time is MONEY! IMG_2053.jpg
     
    lrc1492 likes this.
  17. Trophy Specialist

    Trophy Specialist Active Member

    When I finish tanning my capes they are ready to mount. I can easily mount up two heads in one 8 hour day and I do so until my drying walls are full. If I'm really busting my hump, I can mount three in one day but that may take me more than eight hours. If I were to pre-install my ear liners, I could easily do four in a day. By the time my drying walls are full I can start finishing them and can finish 4 or more per day depending on how may clients I'm dealing with. Its all about efficiency and one can be most efficient if they are doing chores that use the same tools/space until you need switch over. It's also why I do all my tanning first until all capes are done before I start mounting. I also prep all my forms ahead of time including setting eyes too (Epoxy Sculpt). There's a video on here from a couple years back of a guy mounting like 5 deer in one day all because things were all set up for efficiency.
     
    DeerMan43 likes this.
  18. DeerMan43

    DeerMan43 Member

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    No doubt, I have everything laid out ready to go in different stations of the shop. 4 different mount stations with everything that I need at each station. really helps me keep things moving, like I said before only thing I don't do is mount more than one a day.

    I had also been thinking about pre-installing earliners the day I prep the cape and freeze them in the cape as I use a 2 part epoxy for my liners. I use from Mckenzee head lock 2 part glue for my ears. Any other suggestion on epoxy for the liners if I were to freeze as I am thinking of trying out? This was a thought to speed things up also.

    Really am intrigued on your setting eyes also with Epoxy Sculpt, I have thought of this countless times on my whitetail. not sure why I have not done it yet. I have on my small mammals before with awesome results. Guess I am just worried about tucking the skin around the eye and not sure how to really get it tucked without it pulling out. IDK, felt it works on the smaller eyes just nervous to try on my whitetail eyes. currently using critter clay for my eyes. Care to share how you do your eyes with the epoxy sculpt.


    So guess my 2 questions are for you are what epoxy are you using for your earliners? and are you ever freezing them?

    Second question for you if you care to share is your eye set with the epoxy sculpt. Assuming you set a day or so before then off you go the day you mount. just paste up around it well. I have always made a very thin void around the inside of your epoxy work for tucking. usually filled the void with a small bead of critter clay and pushed skin into this to hold. Like I said it worked for my mammals not sure why I have not done this for whitetail work ever, just get used to doing it the same way and continued this way until now where I need to rethink things.

    I very much thank you for keeping this thread going as I think thru this new way of doing things.
     
  19. Trophy Specialist

    Trophy Specialist Active Member

    I use an epoxies on my ears too and I've used several different brands with good sucess on all. I normally don't pre-install my ears and then freeze them, but I have done it several times before with no problems. I wouldn't try it though with a water based adhesive like a lot of people use on ears.

    A lot of people are presetting their eyes with Epoxy Sculpt without using any clay, which is what I do. I've done it that way for 15 years and would never go back to other techniques. You just trim off all the flesh tight to the edge of the eye, thin it down to the max, and pin in place with a good hide glue all over the entire head, face and eye area. When I set the eyes, I poke three pin holes in the epoxy: One in the front corner, one in the rear corner, and another in the upper front. I drive the front corner pin all the way in and it stays there permanently. The other two pins are pushed in about half way and removed during finishing. During the first couple days of drying I may have to taxi the lids a little bit to keep them tight to the eye in the correct place, but usually I don't have to mess with the eyes at all during drying. Finishing with Epoxy Sculpt takes about five minutes per eye to go around and fill over the pin holes and pin head, nictitating membrane imitation, and fill in any slight gaps that may have occurred.
     
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  20. DeerMan43

    DeerMan43 Member

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    Thanks, Definitely going to try this out. Think I can really speed up things with just these 2 suggestions. Think I understand your concept, only issue is the Nicitating membrane for me I have been using artificial ones and may just go back to sculpting them myself again as this may be a issue if I try to use the artificial ones. Just thinking of how to get them in and still allow an area for the front corner pin. Just a thought though. Have an idea of how I can do this in mind if I still use them but since I’ll be buying more apoxie sculpt just as easy to set one in when I finish the eyes. Either way should be good.

    Thinking of just going to Epo grip for the ears to epoxy them in. 6-7 minutes to set them in seems more reasonable than the head lock I have been using if I switch it up this year. I’ve used both in the past but, if I do want to install liners and freeze them think 6-7 minutes for set time would be better than waiting an hour then freeze the cape. I go back and forth on my ear butts so, might think of using some pre made butts for the ones I do freeze and just glue in the liners on the ones that I use clay on. Thanks again, wanted to get back to a post yesterday and didn’t have time. Prepping my butt off past few days getting ready to start mounting.
    Just another thought anyone using magic sculpt instead of apoxie sculpt thinknits cheeper than the apoxie sculpt. Just a thought.