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Bondo Or Mache In Your Skull Caps ?

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by swampfox2, Oct 15, 2019.

  1. swampfox2

    swampfox2 Well-Known Member

    I have always used bono to seat my antlers to the form. I know that some use mache what do you prefer and why ?
  2. AZ~Rich

    AZ~Rich " Africa" never fails to satisfy

    I like bondo with some fiberglass resin and filler (usually chop glass or polyurethane sawdust) versus mache. Mostly because it sets sooner and can be easily worked with files and/or sander; plus is probably more resistant to cracking when screwing into it. However, I do use Mache or a mixture of water putty and polyurethane dust filler to build out over the skullcap.
    tem, rogerswildlife and swampfox2 like this.

  3. swampfox2

    swampfox2 Well-Known Member

  4. swampfox2

    swampfox2 Well-Known Member

    Same here. The fiberglass resin and chopped glass in the bondo sure makes it stronger. It gives me a little piece of mind anyway.
  5. Always used bondo,but started using antler set.With the antler set I can mold in the skull cap shape and it's ready to finish when I;m ready.No odor and it sets-up quickly.
    swampfox2 likes this.
  6. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I was always someone who bought Bondo by the case (AND IT'S STILL NOT AN ADHESIVE). I learned with mache but never liked the idea of introducing water (or wet mache) underneath the skin. I seldom used fiberglass chop but rather used Cabosil. You can full your brain cavity with it and set your antlers to insure the rack won't split from the #12 screws I used. Then mix a second batch with a lot of Cabosil so that it's in a putty form. Quickly spatula it around your antlers and over the skull cap. Wait till it heats up and skims over. Then with a SurFoam rasp, shape your skullcap. This provides a great surface for a hide ADHESIVE to lock on to. I always painted a thin coat of Vaseline on the cutout so that the antlers would pop off after I set them. Doing it this way works so much better with the short "Y" cuts.

    Now for antler caps. I guess I'll never understand you guys making that mess with papier mache. Eons ago, I took 3 pieces of discarded foam. I sat down and sculpted 3 antler caps (small, medium, and large) based on the sizes of racks I had in the shop. I cut a small slot in the top of each one so that I could cut the antlers off with a thin strip of skull and set it into each slot so they fit closely. Then I took each cap I'd sculpted out. I sat it on a piece of plastic and painted each one with a heavy coat of Vaseline. Then I got out my trusty Bondo and mixed in a heavy batch of fiberglass chop along with enough Cabosil so that it wouldn't run. I covered each cap with about a half inch layer of this Bondo and let it set overnight. Next morning I pulled the caps and tossed them. The molds I created would last me 30 years until I gave them to the guy who bought my shop. I would cut small strips of half inch plywood that would fit the mold on the antler cutout. I'd paint the mold with Vaseline, screw the small board down to the cutout, and then mix one ounce of two part foam. Pour the foam into the mold and quickly wrap it with freezer wrap to compress the foam as it rose.
    Within 30 minutes, I'd cut off the overflow with a thin sawblade, take the screw out of the plywood and lift the antler cap out.

    Now I have to set the antler strip in the slot and screw it down. With another half cup of Bondo and Cabosil, I could cover the antler and shape under the pedicel. Since I always used doeskin, I'd cut a thin slot directly behind each antler, paint the form with hide paste, stretch and tuck doeskin into the slots and then stretch the apron and staple it to the back. I could finish a set of antlers inside an hour when I had made up enough extra caps for the workload. The half inch strip of plywood not only held the antlers down, it was used as an anchor to hold the cap to the plaque underneath. What I did in one hour would have taken a day had I used papier mache.
  7. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I never liked Georges way of using Bondo for antler mounts, that is until I tried it. If the smell of Bondo doesn't bother you, it is the way to go.
  8. AZ~Rich

    AZ~Rich " Africa" never fails to satisfy

    Not sure the original question had anything to do with using mache for antler caps but rather for filling brain cavities while setting a skullcap on a form’s cutout. For handling a number of deer-sized antler cap mounts I think George’s techniques are solid. I’ve tried to incorporate a larger plywood surface onto the cap backs which fastens to the plaque than a single plywood strip only because I like to be able to draw it down tight with 3-4 screws in more than one linear area. This Is even more relevant with with heavier racks like stag or elk. I prefer bondo/resin with chop or other fillers instead of 2 part foam for the heavy ones. It’ just more solid IMO.
    George likes this.
  9. swampfox2

    swampfox2 Well-Known Member

    On my deer forms I cut a piece of saran wrap and lay it across the top of the head, mix my fiberglass layup resin, fiberglass chop, and bondo with enough hardener to make it kick fairly fast. Place the size glob of it you need to fill the brain cavity sit the antlers in place over it.While it is still rubbery I trim off any excess that oozed our from around the skull. When it kicks off good I wrap the filled skull base with the trailing ends of the saran wrap. Removed it after the mixture has cooled down. Leaves no mess on the top of your form and come right off.
  10. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Swampfox, just for spitz and giggles, paint it with Vaseline just one time. Do the same thing. Same results. While it's warm, the overflow adheres to the bulk and lifts right off.
    swampfox2 likes this.
  11. swampfox2

    swampfox2 Well-Known Member

    I see your point George. I am going to give it a whirl one day when I mount a couple of my old racks that needs a good deer to sit on. Thanks for the tip !
  12. Heath Cline

    Heath Cline Active Member

    I do like some others. I apply thin coat of vaseline to the skull plate area. Then I use Bondo. But I mix sawdust with my Bondo to thicken it up. I always keep some leftover used sawdust out of my tumbler to mix with the sawdust.
    swampfox2 likes this.
  13. swampfox2

    swampfox2 Well-Known Member

    Heath that sounds like a neat trick ! Thanks. Even old dogs can learn new tricks !
  14. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    I lay a pcs of cling wrap on top of form , then use chopped bondo glass to fill brain cavity mixing it hot , put rack on form on top the cling wrap , drop my screws in place hold it for 2 mins as it kicks off , lift rack off form pull cling wrap of with ease , done . When I go to mount it I just put back on form , run screws down and then I use critter clay to shape skull back , lift forhead skin flap up but a huge spoonful of Pro 1 under it sew head shut then push the pro1 back thru antlers and stitches and done .
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
  15. jigginjim

    jigginjim Active Member

    Once I learned the bondo on mounting antlers. I will never go back to mache, I can carve some of the edges while it's still curing. Doing some detail cutting before the gets too hard. How I just need to get better at bondo ears.