1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

Making Fiberglass Molds, Hand Lay Up

Discussion in 'Molding and Casting' started by Joe Kish, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

    Recently I had occasion to mold three bobcat models which I sculpted up because I couldn't find any forms in catalogs that were suitable in size and near enough to the necessary poses I needed. While molding in resin and fiberglass using the wetting board hand-layup method, it occurred to me that this simple method, which is the only method I've ever used to make hundreds of fiberglass molds from game heads to LS rhino, moose and buffalo, may be the easiest way for anyone to master and requires no machines or specialty tools.

    There are videos available on the subject of mold making, however as I went through the motions on three molds I couldn't imagine that anyone who hasn't been mold making for as long as I have could possibly know all the material saving and efficient ways to get the job done in the shortest time at the lowest cost that I happen to have worked out over the last 50 years. I thought there ought to be a video showing all the little techniques I use in making molds before this knowledge I have is lost when that roll is called up yonder and my name is on it. I’ll let someone else make it like John Belucci who has made some great videos on mold making already.

    Sculpting being the basic discipline of taxidermy, it follows that mold making is the skill necessary to preserve your sculpted work and allows one to duplicate any piece (cast it) without having to sculpt it anew each time the same model or part is needed. The myriad ways that mold making skills are applicable to taxidermy goes way beyond making deaths masks and carcass casts like even making simple change-out heads for small predators. But obviously the most profitable use is to mold some of the deer forms one uses repeatedly every season.

    Without doing an actual cost analysis on what it costs to cast a single shoulder form, my guess is that it’s quite close to what UPS or FEDEX charges on shipping one shoulder form from a supply company to you. I don’t buy forms, so I’ll just say freight would be 18 to 25 dollars. It takes less than 30-45 minutes (if you work really slow) to cast a deer head and your hourly shop time is, let’s say 50 bucks. If you use that mold just ten times a season, just doing the math on the fly, that shoulder form made in your own shop has saved you 250 to 500 dollars on ten forms. If you pay an employee to cast the forms at 10 or 12 or 15/hour, it might be time for some of you to consider learning the craft of mold making. One way of looking at it is, do you want to work for yourself or for a supply company?

    Everyone is in taxidermy to make money at it at some point. And if the two smartest things one can do regularly is to increase production and lower cost, then it’s logical to me to learn new ways to do both.

    There’s also a thing called self-reliance to factor in. Ask an Alaskan taxidermist if he knows how to make fiberglass molds. Only those who are mostly self-reliant have a chance of still being in business when this fraudulent fractional reserve banking system, manipulated stock market, worthless paper currency and ruinous inflation finally squeeze the vitality out of this once and formerly great nation. There's a lot more that could be said on this subject, but a taxidermist who can't make a mold, will be the first to fold.

    Attached Files:

    TPT66, Richard C, agua3777 and 5 others like this.
  2. antlermike

    antlermike Active Member

    Looks good

  3. DTS 1046

    DTS 1046 Member

    Joe: Thanks for teaching me how to make molds back in 1978. Been very handy over the many years in this industry. We were fortunate to have a local tub maker that sold us the resin and chopped fiber at a discount for our molds. It is a smelly job, but well worth the effort to make your own molds. The dog that I took first place with in 1980 was a fiberglass body and was from a fiberglass mold. Thanks again.