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Mallards suck

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by JerseyJays, Mar 14, 2018.

  1. JerseyJays

    JerseyJays Well-Known Member

    Am I right?
    Or is it only me?

    I'd love to see what all your mallard look like after the fleshing wheel.

    I couldn't get the skin clean, so I soaked in hot water and dawn for 15 mins. Then back to the wheel..

    Worked better.. but tore easier
    Then I scissors fleshed more..

    Back in the dawn for another 15 mins now. Once it's done soaking I'll see up holes, flesh again bc im sure it will need it..and wash again.

    I got a bunch of mallards and wood ducks to do this year and I puddle ducks. Much rather work on see ducks. 20180314_134826.jpg
  2. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    Jersey....you are correct. They do suck. What I've learned to do that helps is after skinning I use scissors to get as much off the skin as possible. Turn your scissors so they are angled in between the quills. You're just pinching the fat off really not cutting. Keep your off hand fingers under the skin. I still will cut holes on occasion but I'm getting better. If I cut a hole I see it right then. Holes from scissors are easier to see than burns from the wheel. Once you've scissored all you can put the skin in a plastic grocery bag and put it in the freezer. Let it damn near freeze (if it freezes no problem it'll just take longer to thaw). Then take it out and AS SOON AS it's pliable start on the butt where it's so damn thin. Turn the skin so your wheel is running between the tracts.

    If it gets sloppy cool it off in the freezer again. Yes, it takes longer to do the scissors and the freezer but it's allowed me to get Mallards clean (er) with less issues from the wheel.

  3. carplips

    carplips New Member

    Another thing, never use hot water, should just be about room temperature. hot water makes the skin more "loose" for a lack of a better way to put it and more fragile. Sometimes i'll use cold soapy water. same effect but I prefer the room temperature as it will plump ant fat you missed back up so you can get it.
    bucksnort10 likes this.
  4. JerseyJays

    JerseyJays Well-Known Member

    Still a lot of fst, and tears getting worse. Gonna sew it now while I can still figure out the puzzle

    Attached Files:

  5. JerseyJays

    JerseyJays Well-Known Member

    Sewed and gonna tumble it for a min or 2. Fingers crossed.
    Bob likes this.
  6. JerseyJays

    JerseyJays Well-Known Member

    20180314_154457.jpg We're back in the game
  7. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    Nice save! What fleshing wheel do you use? That seems like a lot of holes to fix..... could it be the wire wheel speed too fast or too much horsepower? 1/15hp and 1550 rpms like the motor from a bathroom fan is all you need to flesh. Anything more powerful or faster is not as forgiving.
  8. JerseyJays

    JerseyJays Well-Known Member

    I use a roof fan motor.. I grew up watching home improvement.... MORE POWER lol.

    I got a 6" brass wheel on it. 20180314_172904.jpg
  9. Eddy Blanco

    Eddy Blanco Member

    Using a fleshing wheel is a touch system. I use a fine soft wheel and never have these issues, but I use a very light touch. I still have the first mallard I ever mounted on my wall and it is over 25 years old.
  10. JerseyJays

    JerseyJays Well-Known Member

    The fat was dry .. it worked better after I soaked the skin. I wonder if it was dried out extra than normal from the freezer?

    Next time I'll try spraying warm water on it when fleshing. I don't mount many ducks so i wasnt sure if this was gonna be every mallard. I got 5 more and 2 woodys to do this year and not looking fwd to them
  11. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    Had a friend come over and wanted to learn to mount ducks. He brought a wood duck(of course). He had skinned the bird and boraxed the inside of the bird then froze it. I have a van dykes HD flesher with a 3” corse wire wheel. I demonstrated on a Goldeneye how to flesh. He finished it up then wanted to do the WD. I explained why he should let me do it but he insisted on downing it himself.
    Apparently freezing it with borax toughened up the skin because it came out perfect. I even tried it and noticed a difference. It was a fat bird, not one in physically bad shape that don’t have fat and are tough skinned.
  12. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    Alcohol will toughen skin. Tiny birds get soaked in alcohol to tough the skin.
    JerseyJays and bucksnort10 like this.
  13. whitetails and fish only

    whitetails and fish only Well-Known Member

    That skin looks like the first duck I fleshed with the VanDyke bird flesher and their soft wire wheel. Greenwing Teal. Took six hours to glue and sew up. Next was a Woodduck that came out much better and now I am off and running. My take is that if you buy a flesher made for birds and you have problems it is probably your fault. If you make one yourself and you have problems it could be the machine and not you.
  14. Sjobe

    Sjobe New Member

    I use a softer wheel and keep it sprayed with water while fleshing
  15. Nancy C

    Nancy C Well-Known Member

    Mallards are definitely a PITA, but ya gotta do whatcha gotta do. I flesh them when they are completely soaked so that the feathers will stay out of the way. I keep my off hand behind the wheel and use a quick "bump" method to cut through the fat (after scissoring the worst of it.) There will still be holes in most of them. After the first washing I float the skins in soapy water and begin the sewing process by tacking together the main reference points so things will be aligned correctly. I finish the sewing and then finish the washing process.
    Domestic or mixed mallards are even worse.
    magicmick and BrookeSFD16 like this.
  16. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    Wait till you get a honker with 1/4” of fat on it. Then get it wrapped up in the wheel. 7 pieces latter.
    Took three showers and rinsing to get all the grease off of me.
    Megan :), bucksnort10, KLFL and 2 others like this.
  17. boone90

    boone90 Dan Hastings

    I still put holes in mine regularly, but I am steadily inproving. My main realization way two fold: like cutting anything from milliling steel to using a thread tap or wheeling birds, lubrication is a significant help. I keep a dish of cold water loaded with dawn beside me while I wheel to lubricate the fat/skin and also to remove the grease as I go to check my progress so that I don’t over do it. The other learning curve came from allowing the wheel to do the work. Instead of pushing and trying to grind the fat away, just barely contact the wheel and let it slowly melt the fat away. It works a lot better, especially along the edges and towards the tail...you really only need to dig in to clean the bones and scapular tracts and the tail feather quills. Also if you have a stubborn piece of membrane or meat just cut it will scissors, dont try to wheel it off.
  18. Tom Maul

    Tom Maul Active Member

    Wheeling a mallard and getting it totally clean without at least a few holes is like pitching a perfect game or bowling a 300 or somethin.... LOL
  19. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    When you finally get one that’s perfect it should be mounted with feathers inward and entered in a show.
  20. Tom Maul

    Tom Maul Active Member

    LOL!... Now that's funny.... and true!