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At Least I'm Trying Xd

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by WhiteRabbit87, Aug 3, 2019.

  1. WhiteRabbit87

    WhiteRabbit87 New Member

    18
    22
    Maine
    Hello! So I've just started getting into this and this is my first series of attempts. I'm going to try to update as I go along, but Im not sure I'll have a good outcome here! I was given a coyote in November, whole, a few hours after she was shot. I worked overnights at the time so I picked her up that afternoon, tucked her under the tool box in my truck while I went to work ((at a fancy corporate bank call center lol)) that right there made me think she would spoil. I put her in the freezer when I got home the next morning. Fast forward to last month, I finally pulled her out to skin. Keep in mind, I am literally just starting with skinning, never had the nerve to cut into anything. I work with bones and by the time I handle anything is all rotted and I just pull them out. Put her on a table in the shade, waited a couple hours, barely thawed at all. But I was so nervous about wasting her! I skinned the face from inside the mouth as far as I could reach, and did the feet, but she was kinda curled up and I wasn't able to get to the area behind the legs to make a normal case skin cut. Instead, I went up the belly and just pulled it back as much as I could as it thawed. Needless to say, it took me all day. Constantly flipping and trying to thaw while peeling back what I could just trying to get the skin off. ((I know I'm not doing anything right at all!)) Finally got it off, started trying to flesh, got a tiny bit done and just thought "oh hell no, this will take me the rest of my life!" So I froze the pelt again. Ordered a mini flesher. I figure, I really like the idea of being a taxidermist so if I want to learn and get good enough to someday become licensed, I might as well spend some money on what I need. Thawed the pelt, put it in a pickle with the saftee acid I ordered, 3 days later I pulled it out to flesh. I feel like I did a shit job but it was my first time with the tool. It did go much faster, but also covered me and everything around me with flesh. Yum. I got her as clean as I could, pickled another day, neutralized, tanned with ez tan, followed all the instructions included. I never ordered any oil because I really wanted to mount this thing and see how I do, but seeing how I cut her all up in all the wrong places, and there was a gaping exit wound on the shoulder, I was then thinking she's not worth trying to mount. Went to tractor supply, bought neetsfoot oil, diluted it and applied. Let it sweat, then took out to dry. After about 3 days of drying and breaking, it was apparent I missed a vital step. Degreasing. The whole middle of the back on my hide side was dark and greasy. I don't blame the oil because I used the same stuff on a back hide from a rabbit I tried as well. That ones white and beautiful. But the coyote was just ew. Here's where I feel like I may have just sacrificed my pelt. I just washed it again, I did 2 soaks 10 min ea in Dawn. The water turned white which to me means grease. At least when I'm degreasing skulls, white means it's still pulling grease. But I don't know how long I can soak an already tanned hide so after those 2 washes,I rinsed really good and she's hanging on the deck to dry again. Up until this point I haven't had any fur slip, but we'll see if I just changed that. I have decided that if the grease is better, I'm going to mount her no matter how much sewing and repairs I need to make. I do need practice after all and this was a free animal. I'm not sure if I washed out the tan, or if that's even possible, the directions said their washable with this tan.. But anyways this is my experiment. I have since bought some "in the pickle" degreaser so I will leave the dawn for my skulls, and I have a baby goat in pickle that I was able to thaw and skin perfectly!

    Sorry for the rambling, nobody I know it's interested in me trying to learn this. I'll let you know if my pelt is now toast! XD
     
  2. Fallenscale

    Fallenscale Active Member

    299
    176
    NY
    You coyote should be fine. As long as the EZ tan soaked in the hide where the grease was. Which is hard to say but I believe it will be find if mounting. Don't be scared to wash any and all hide/skins after pickling with dawn.
     
    3bears likes this.

  3. pir^2h

    pir^2h Retrievers give you the bird

    Everyone is nervous and unsure of themselves the first time! The fact that you are still going through with the mounting process it is great. Taxidermy takes a lot of practice to get anywhere near good at. It is all a learning process. Remember your errors and learn not only from your mistakes but more importantly, other peoples mistakes. Stick with it. So what, you first may not turn out great but compare it to the second, third, fourth, etc. You will get better each time.
     
    3bears likes this.
  4. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    5,535
    886
    MN
    If you want to get serious at this get a beam and fleshing knife. I rough flesh everything with mine except for intricate areas such as face and feet. Coyotes aren't that greasy so adding a degreaser to your pickle is good but I often throw critters in a separate degreasing soak anyway after they have been in the pickle for a few days and I removed them, shaved or wire wheeled them such as I do with yotes. Follow directions after that put em back in pickle for a day then neutralize and tan or whatever the directions say.
     
    Lake's Taxidermy likes this.
  5. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    A coyote on a beam with a double handled fleshing knife will take me less than half an hour to flesh and nothing slung all over the place.

    Next time order the EZ100 kit and some degreaser sold by the makers of the, EZ100 kit, with it.

    Buy the Breakthrough tanning manual sold by McKenzie supply.
     
  6. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Oiling it is SUPER IMPORTANT even if you are mounting it. The Breakthrough manual will explain this.
     
  7. WhiteRabbit87

    WhiteRabbit87 New Member

    18
    22
    Maine
    thanks for the replies guys! ive still got alot to learn, and im not much for asking for help, but i have been reading as much as i can and watching youtube. ive got a subscription to breakthrough mag. coming in the mail, havent gotten the manuals yet though. and YES im going to invest in a fleshing knife. ive narrowed it down to either the necker or a post, as ive read that the cheaper ones are a waste since youre gonna want to upgrade anyways. Ive got a frame of sorts for a fleshing beam built that folds up when you pull out a hair pin, and theres a guy on youtube "coon creek outdoors" who has 4 sizes of PVC beams he slides into place on his frame. i like that idea, just need to get myself some PVC. i might have just wasted a bunch of money with that mini flesher because unless i can get the hang of it, and make a flesh shield, i dont see myself using it as much as i thought. from what i read, coyotes arent supposed to be this greasy so im not sure what happened. i cleaned her right down till i can almost see the dots of the hairs so that might make it look a little darker when dry, but my hands were all oil after i handle it unlike the other hide i did the same thing on. but ill keep working on it. i got a cheap head form and a bunch of wood wool to make a body but my eyes arent here yet. im trying to keep expenses at a certain level each month as im self employed with my bone art and income isnt the same from month to month. makes it tough to get everything i want. but i set goals for myself and once ive made enough to pay my truck payment and feed my animals for the month, ill check a few things off my taxidermy wish list.

    oh and i got to check out the northern new england taxidermy show at sunday river yesterday, its nice to see quality stuff in person! there was a beautiful pheasant and a little bear cub, also a wolverine! i have a wolverine skull but i have never seen one mounted! also a giant snapping turtle. i can only imagine how heavy that thing was! im not sure if i would ever be interested in competing but it is nice to see what other people create!
     
  8. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    If you keep on going as you are and continue with your positive attitude, you will do well in your endeavor!
     
    tem and pir^2h like this.
  9. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Whiterabbit (why do I feel stupid calling you that?) I doubt "Breakthrough" will help you much. It may give you a few ideas, but this magazine seems to be geared towards the seasoned professional. Hell, even I can't do most of the things it describes. For beginners, it's certainly a refreshing book that you can dream over, but not much for helping. Though I'm not a big fan of "Taxidermy Today", it would probably be a better investment. Still, you'll be money ahead by ordering a video or two and watch the basics. You started with a tough critter, though most at this stage of your experience will be adventurous. Squirrels are the toughest but most accessible. Coyotes are thin skinned and getting one "right" is tough for even us old farts. Expression and facial features are what makes a coyote mount.

    Now, that mini-flesher. I've said this a hundred times here, who ever invented that piece of crap should be beaten with it. One guy on here swears by it. I bought one when they first came out and then I found that I had to have a 2 horse compressor with a 50 gallon tank as a minimum to keep it on speed. This all that POS cost me and equipment I could have bought a Dakota round knife. The old fleshing beam and draw knife has worked for decades, but it's not me either. It's like one of those old push rotary lawn mowers and a whole lot less effective.

    Don't be bashful asking questions. Regardless if we disagree, YOU will still have to decide if the advice fits YOUR needs and desires.
     
    WhiteRabbit87 and pir^2h like this.
  10. pir^2h

    pir^2h Retrievers give you the bird

    Whiterabbit, you will find that old George (I call him "old" but he is barely older than me) is one of the most willing people on this forum to help new folks. You don't have to agree with everything he says but you will need a thick skin sometimes. He tells it like it is.

    As for that mini-flesher...he is spot on. I bought one also and was sorry almost immediately. A round knife is much better. I have used a Dakota IV for over twenty years. An ok machine but I wished I had invested in a larger unit instead. You cant change the past!

    Good luck with your adventures as you dive deeper and deeper in the world of taxidermy.

    Vic
     
  11. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I agree with George about the magazines. If you get Breakthrough, also get Taxidermy Today. Don't make it an either or decision. Don't mistake Breakthrough magazine with Breakthrough manuals. Those are geared for novice to experienced and helped me alot. They are a bit dated, but not so much that they aren't relevant.
     
  12. WhiteRabbit87

    WhiteRabbit87 New Member

    18
    22
    Maine
    i guess i should have started by introducing myself, you can call me Heather :D Im definatley not confusing breakthrough magazine with the manuals, but i did think it would be nice to look through and see what other people come up with as far as poses and habitats. I have a few copies of some dvds that were gifted to me that ive watched as well. ((rooster, pheasant, fox squirrel climbing down, and a couple others)) im going to work more with my mini flesher when i can and see if theres anything i can do to get the hang of it. the compressor i use is a 60gal 3.7hp and it seemed to keep it going fine, but i need to learn to control the mess and hopefully work on a more even outcome. i have the perfect things to practice with that on as well, last fall i was gifted 2 whole deer hides that i will try making into buckskin. i dont have anything in mind as far as use when im done, so if i mess them all up its ok. i realize a coyote might be something too large for me to start out on but its looking like she wont be my first mount after all. after the wash i did the other day, i think the grease got worse! all it did was move it around and spread it out more haha! ive decided to go through the whole process again and shes in a pickle now with plentyyyy of the "in the pickle" degreaser from tasco/rittel. While i try to get her sorted out, ive got a baby goat skinned and pickling, and ive bought 2 frozen squirrels and a kit beaver from members on here. i should get them on wednesday i think! one of the squirrels came with a form and eyes so thats a good place to start! i also have a roadkill mink that is out of tanning now and looks pretty good i think! eyes have been ordered and ill try mounting that little guy up as well. ive got a teeny tiny little flying squirrel in the freezer that i will get to soon. i got a 3 gal. bucket of meat rabbit heads with the fur on as part of a trade to clean this guys longhorn/watusi cross skull, and i skinned out 4 of them for practice. i figured that would be a good way to learn more about turning ears and since theyre just heads, not much i can do with them other than make a pom pom with ears lol but im glad i did them before i did the baby goat! it helped alot! the rest i rotted down in my "body garden" out back for the skulls. ill have plenty of rabbit skulls to make art with this winter for sure!

    im getting so anxious to try actually mounting something, this waiting stuff is driving me crazy! i just want to do one and see how it comes out but out of everything i have so far, i dont have one single complete "package" to mount. either i have skin but no eyes, or i have eyes but the hide isnt done yet. soon ill try though and i cant wait! i might be a little over confident in myself but i think ill make them look alright, ive been artistic my whole life and symmetry and shape i think will come easy to me. bone work is keeping me busy in the meantime and i do need to keep working on that since its my only source of income. ive got over 60 skulls degreasing right now including the kodiak bear i was comissioned to paint! customer didnt know it had already been airbrushed a bone color to hide the grease in the skull, and since he wanted it painted, i had t let him know theres a whole process i have to go through to clean it first. he was ok with that and even paid in advance for 5 gal of acetone to clean it. its in dawn/water right now and the old paint came off easy, revealing a dark orange band of grease all along the base of the skull. that ones gonna take awhile.

    question for those of you who are licensed, how long did it take for you to become licensed after you started practicing? im planning on getting the "general" license and here in maine, i have to pass an exam showing a deer shoulder mount, a bird with feet showing, a fish, and a mammal smaller than a fox. i think actually acquiring these things to do will take me the longest. and i need to figure the first one i do wont make a great example so i will need a couple of each. ive got plenty of hunter friends who will let me have stuff to practice on, but its not hunting season yet. and its tricky getting the funds together to complete all these things knowing i cant sell them after. my art does bring in alot more in the fall/winter as it gets closer to holiday season, i make almost double from oct-feb compared to what ive been making this summer, so that gives me more play money right around hunting season.

    sorry guys, i ramble alot XD
     
  13. Fallenscale

    Fallenscale Active Member

    299
    176
    NY
    Nice to read your enthusiasm
     
    WhiteRabbit87 likes this.
  14. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I was fairly sure you knew that the mag and manual were not the same, however, I just wanted to clear. Also, getting both magazines is a good Idea. I really enjoyed Breakthrough even though a lot of it was not pertinent at first, but it did become pertinent as time went on. Taxidermy Today was not as enjoyable, but had a ton of "how to" articles aimed at novice and up.

    Here in Oregon we are not allowed to take compensation for taxidermy work without a license. The only thing you need in Oregon is a credit card to get a license. No tests.
     
    WhiteRabbit87 likes this.
  15. WhiteRabbit87

    WhiteRabbit87 New Member

    18
    22
    Maine
    alright guys i have a quick question! everything ive seen for practical advice on hooves seems to say i have to take the bones out completely. i have a baby goat ive been pickling and i would like to move her into tan, but i never removed the toe bones. this goat only lived for hours, maybe 1 full day but no longer, and the hooves are quite soft. should i split them open and clean them out? can i just leave them in for structural stability or will it rot? Thanks! :)
     
  16. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    If your going to L/S Mount it yes they should come out , but no don’t split they hoove , you have to dig and cut them out , usually once you figure out one they come easy . If you not mounting it leave them in , it won’t hurt nothing
     
  17. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    As far as the mini flashers they are only good for boar shields , thinning-cutting them off
     
  18. WhiteRabbit87

    WhiteRabbit87 New Member

    18
    22
    Maine
    alright, thanks! ill try to remove it. my main concern was the softness of the hooves themselves and any prying action might just tear them. i am planning on attempting a lifesize.
     
  19. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Get urself some # 11 scalpel blade with small handle . They are very sharp so becareful , but you should be able to get them out . I also have a new born goat to do . They are soft from being soaked , they should be taken out when being skinned
     
    WhiteRabbit87 likes this.
  20. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    As you get more involved in the Taxidermy world I would suggest cutting the hooves off at the hair line and casting them .