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Vintage Lion Repair

Discussion in 'Lifesize Mammals' started by jhawk, Apr 29, 2019.

  1. jhawk

    jhawk My second job.

    IMG_20190425_111059.jpg I've been asked by our local museum to restore a vintage African Lion rug. The head shell is in decent shape considering that it probably was put together in the late 1930's. The mane is still full although it needs to be combed and straightened. The ears(pic) are not in good shape as well as the hide around where the claws are supposed to be. They are missing 11 claws but want all of them replaced. The body and tail have significant damage. Cotton padding was used for the front leg area only and it was covered by a light material which was put on before the felt was stitched on . There are areas where the hide is missing and other areas where it needs to be joined back together. I would so welcome suggestions and ideas to make this presentable again. The museum has a limited budget and I'm close so they've come to me. Maybe they're trying to tell me something. : ) Anyway, any input I receive is greatly appreciated!

    Attached Files:

  2. Being that old and irreplaceable it would be a scary project,maybe try redryhating a small section and see what happens ,the eyes and nose are probably just apoxie work.
    jhawk likes this.

  3. jhawk

    jhawk My second job.

    Thanks for your input. It has severe dry rot so some type of an adhesive with a material, yet to be determined, is probably going to be the way to go.
  4. OhDear

    OhDear New Member

    I'm working on a wolf rug with the same issues- except it was a 'bargain basement' mount to start with. I reset the mouth with apoxie sculpt. The teeth are bad plastic with one canine missing- I sculpted a replacement then color matched and waxed. A go-over with a buffer on a dremel set on low made it all blend passibly. For the hide (a family of mice were living between layers at one time apparently- and they liked crayons.) I used a thin but tough leather of a matching color between the torn hide and the base cloth. I glued/sewed that down, then used glue to reattach the torn parts (to fragile for sewing). I was able to groom sucessfully to cover any bits of leather that showed. I chose leather for this because it was tough and blended decently under the fur. Missing claws- and this would not be museum appropriate- I could not source the real deal so I carved them out of bone with a dremel, sanded the crap out of them to thin them down (translucent), matched color with coptics, then waxed. Passible for the quality of the job. I will post some photos in a bit- not perfect, but better!
    jhawk likes this.
  5. I thin leather shammie cloth is what I use as a backing material when I need to glue a hide back together.
  6. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I have a tiger that I would also very much like to remount/restore. Was told that hides from that era were chrome tanned usually and, if you get them wet now, they will disintegrate. The tiger hide I have has a slight bluish tint to the back of the leather that you can see.
  7. jhawk

    jhawk My second job.

    Hi! My biggest concern is everything but the mouth lol. The original teeth have cracked and have slight chips. Is there a compound or epoxy you would recommend to use? Artificial claws are available but anchoring them in the paws are a problem. I ordered a glue gun with a long tip to reach underneath the torn pieces that will fit back together. Just lifting edges of the tears in some areas makes it even worse. I have a piece of buckskin to use in the method you describe to help with gaps but the shammy sounds like it might work as well. This is a beloved rug that has a hometown lore so any improvements are appreciated but it seriously is in bad shape. Thank you for your help and I'm definitely open for more suggestions.
  8. OhDear

    OhDear New Member

    For the teeth- filling in cracks (if they are slight) I use thickened Mod Podge (matt, let it sit out until it gets thick), or Golden tar gel (more expensive). Also, if the cracking is natural- due to the actual age of the animal not the age of the hide, I just buff with bees wax using a white buffer on a dremel. Gluing I go with a thicker paste glue (MP or YES!- which is a bookbinding paste) rather than a glue gun for hides. The reason is that hot glue loses flex over time and cracks- which can crack the hide if it is picked up to be draped/ folded etc. YES is made to be tough, flexible, and archival- resisting the normal glue decay problems. It's thick enough that it isn't drippy etc.- I apply with a long thin cake decorating spatula (either metal or rubber. My favorite one is actually the Betty Crocker rubber one from the Dollar Tree- two ended. I'm such a mum). For claws I use E6000, and for the hard to reach parts I use chopsticks for application (round, bamboo) glue on the end then in and swirl around, insert claw.
    Another great option that I have found for rebuilding the hard parts (mouth sets, teeth etc.) is Platinum Patch. It holds well, but it's thinner than apoxie sculpt and you have to work it in layers- but it is cheap, sturdy, waterproof, sands and finishes like a dream. I didn't use shammy- I will next time! Instead I used rabbit hide- it's what was on hand.

    Best of Luck on the Lion! I am finishing the wolf today and moving on to a big old bear ~
  9. jhawk

    jhawk My second job.

    Thank you for your help!!