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Injecting Feet With Caulk?

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by killdeer, Mar 19, 2020.

  1. killdeer

    killdeer Member

    Hello Everyone,

    Last night, after making another mess with MB (I must be clumsy because I wind up with more of it all over the place than in the toes!), I decided to try to pump some caulk into the toes of a Wood Duck using a syringe. It took a lot of pressure to pump it through a 22 GA needle, but I could see it going under the skin. I think it would work well using a larger bore, luer lock syringe.

    My thoughts are:

    1. Caulk cleans up with water on the feet, no solvents
    2. We already have it on hand in bird taxidermy, and it is cheap.
    3. It fills in gaps around windows, etc. - so it should work as a filler in toes.
    4. It hardens flexibly, so allows more working time for posing.
    5. It quickly solidifies when a little leaks out of the syringe hole, and easily peels off.
    6. Around windows , thick layers of it fully cure (underneath the skim layer on top), so it should set up inside the feet (hopefully)
    7. It doesn't have any preservative properties, but neither does MB.

    Has anyone ever tried this?

    I'll keep everyone posted after they dry, but I want to try it again using a bigger syringe. Thanks,
  2. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Little bit more but try pro 1 hide paste does the same as caulk and more , use full for thicker or cut with little water to thin , also tintable . One other thing no matter what you decide if you make a small pin hole at opposite end that’s being injected it will release the air that’s trapped and pushing back making it hard to inject . I some times take a small needle without the syringe and incert it to help as I inject as it is a open chamber kinda thing and helps the release hole stay open . Hope these little tricks helps ya .
    LostNewbie likes this.

  3. killdeer

    killdeer Member

    Thanks for the response! I did inject some air first to make room for the caulk and to loosen the skin up some. I'm gonna keep trying different methods to find a better way.

    PS: 13 point: I've really admired your work!
    13 point likes this.
  4. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Thank you sir
  5. AZ~Rich

    AZ~Rich " Africa" never fails to satisfy

    The larger bore the syringe the harder pressure it will take to inject anything especially through a small needle. I've found three to five cc syringes work well with bird feet injections. The smaller the needle the more pressure is required to move a fluid, plus higher viscosity of any fluid will absolutely increase pressure needed. I'm not too sure caulk is the solution though. Sometimes the feet can be a bit dried out which can prevent optimal results when injecting. MB works well if you inject air or water prior to open tissue spaces reducing the force needed to inject it. On feet that are semi dried I've injected water a day before MB to soften up tissues. Also, try to use the same injection holes for MB. That plus having the pressure somewhat maintained while the MB kicks is important to getting a good result. It requires keeping the MB from leaking back out of the injection holes or from any other holes that were introduced. Some have recommend temporarily plugging those injection holes with a pin or similar while the MB sets up. Many times I also use a Formalin/glycerin injection prior to MB. Formalin (a formaldehyde solution) is a tissue fixative and will "fix" a tissue's structural protein architecture. When compressed under injection pressure it does still take a little time to get any fixation. (Example): When I was involved with Vascular Surgical Research I used to fix animal arteries and arterial graft materials in situ by flushing the vessels with heparin saline to clean cell lumen surfaces then followed this with a large bolus of a buffered Glutaraldehyde at slightly higher pressures which expanded the vessel walls. Keeping the vessel/graft segment clamped off under pressure allowed the fixative (Glutaraldehyde) to lock in all the collagen and elastin fibers to produce a natural, representative luminal cell surface. This was needed to study them under a scanning electron microscopy. Fixing bird feet with Formalin solution prior to MB can keep some of that plumping maintained while MB will add a semi-rigid polyurethane structure within tissue spaces to maintain that plumpness. Either way works.
    Peter H. likes this.
  6. killdeer

    killdeer Member

    Thanks for more info, Rich! In the past, I have used formaldehyde/glycerin also.

    I tried to inject some more caulk today, but it was pretty tough to do. If a bigger needle doesn't work in the future, I guess I'll have to keep trying with the MB. I must have butter-fingers, 'cause I always get it all over the place (detached feet, table, etc)! Yesterday, I forgot to use a luer lock needle and it hardened in the tip. I pressed real hard on the plunger, and the needle shot across the room and was sticking out of the drapes on my front window!
  7. KLFL

    KLFL Active Member

    Put the duck feet in a little baggy... stops it from going everywhere
  8. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

    white glue or yellow carpenters glue thinned with a little water then put in freezer overnight sets the glue it does leak easier so need to have a few t pins ready
    rigbobby likes this.
  9. killdeer

    killdeer Member

    Thanks again for the tips guys! Putting the legs inside a plastic bag is genius!
  10. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

    Inject the feet while still in the baggy by going right through the baggy with the needle.

    I pull all my feet before doing this (well 98%)
    I inject air into each toe first and plug that hole with a T-pin so I can locate it again. I also come in from the feather line with an air injection. I then run my wire and pose. Using electrical tape I tightly wrap the feather line from the bone/wire down to the feather line and overlap onto the skin and then a couple wraps back up. At this point I inject each toe with MB while flexing the toe to distribute the MB. Pull syringe and reinsert TPin. Go to the next foot and repeat. And then back to the first foot second toe and repeat. After injecting all 4 toes and giving it about 15 - 20 minutes, I pull all Tpins and remove the electrical tape.

    Lately after each injection instead of inserting Tpin I suspend the foot in a jar of thinner and that's been working very well.

    Oh I keep my MB in the fridge and when doing this I fill 2 large syringes, one with A and one with B. My injection syringe I pull the plunger while holding the needle end with a piece of paper towel. I take the A syringe and squirt the amount in and then squirt B in. Replace plunger, shake well, remove air and inject. After injecting all the MB I suck up acetone from a container and shake and squirt back in same container a few times to clean injection syringe. I get about a dozen to 15 pairs of feet before discarding syringe.
    Peter H. and GotHonks like this.
  11. killdeer

    killdeer Member

    Wildthings - sounds like a great procedure, and I'm going to give it a try! I think I need to stick with one exact procedure to master it. I usually cool down the MB as well. As noted above, it does seem to take a bit of manual dexterity, along with a good, pre-planned system with all equipment set up and ready to go. I think I worry too much about the MB setting up too quickly in the syringe, then get in a rush and make a mess!

    I've got a few feet to practice on in the freezer!
    GotHonks and Wildthings like this.
  12. crablover

    crablover Well-Known Member

    formaldehyde/glycerin is the worst choice for bird feet. Neither are a plumping or filler agent and will shrink over time. Glycerin attracts and absorbs moisture from the air. Both leave a residue that inhibits a good paint bond. The flexibility of the foot will lift and crack your paint. This mixture will cause more issues than it solves
    GotHonks likes this.
  13. rigbobby

    rigbobby Active Member

    To deal with the fast setting of MB, I cut the MB 50% with acetone. No issues. After injecting, I wash the separated legs in acetone. Once the MB sets, I treat the legs with formalin and freeze them. After freezing, the legs are freeze dried. This is the best results I have been able to produce on a commercial mount.
    Peter H. and GotHonks like this.
  14. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Go to a farm coop or a large animal veterinarian, and you will find 16, 14, and 12 gauge needles. (The smaller the number, the greater the size). You can use them on any size syringe. They work great for thick materials such as hide paste and caulk. The larger holes are easily hidden by the material you are injecting. Shorter length needles allow for easier dispensing than longer ones.
  15. GotHonks

    GotHonks Well-Known Member

    Quick tip on the MB and Matuska new MB .... Been using the new Matuska MB and it works about the same as the original MB ... But I had some original part B left over after spilling most of the part A So I figured I'd use it with the new Matuska part A .... Didn't work very well as it won't harden , it's thick enough that it doesn't run out the syringe needle hole in the foot but it's been a few days and it's still not set up .. the mix was right So either the new isn't compatible with the old or my part B original has been in the freezer to long and won't work ... Don't know but I think my next batch will be the original formula ...
    With MB I have a love hate thing ... When I don't have an issue( usually my fault ) , I think the stuff is great ... What I mean by issues , not so much with the MB not working it's the mess I tend to make using it ... What I hate is waiting for the feet to dry enough to paint them because there is really no great way to speed the dry time up ... Sometimes I get a few pair of feet done at a time as long as I know the pose is the same also I have extra feet(snow) I save in case I need them .. Seems like some of my clients don't know what pose they want when they drop the bird off , so I can't pre do the feet ahead of time so they're ready when the birds ready to mount causing a longer delay than I want .... Really not much I can do about it but would be nice if the feet would set up , dry and be ready for paint in a day or so ... Instead of a week or longer depending on weather .... Although I have had success speeding dry time by putting the feet in a toaster oven .. I don't really like doing it because too long and your feet will be toast and if you used electrical tape to secure your wire's ... it melts(from experience):D so use dental floss then after they're ready wrap them with tape :eek: you have to watch it because I'm sure they'll cook if you go a few min too long ... Works in a pinch but I wouldn't recommend it ..
    I'm an outside the box thinker and try different things from time to time ... More often than not it works out .. If you don't try you'll never know .... With feet I usually shoot a bunch of Snows/Specks every season and always keep the good feet ... Saved me many times and it's also why I'm able to experiment .. Duck feet are much easier IMO , less product and smaller so dry time isn't bad ... One more quick tip ...cardboard leave your feet flat and little attitude of life ... if you wanna add attitude to your feet use clay to pose them it's the best IMO secure with tape ... best part is ... No worries about permanently having a paperclip indented in the feet .. And the feet look more life like ... I use whatever clay I have on hand .. even playdo works ...
    Peter H. likes this.
  16. GotHonks

    GotHonks Well-Known Member

    Yup .... Been there ... If it wernt so messy And a pain to clean up it would be great .. I dred doing the feet because I make a mess 9/10 times I use it ...and I've been using MB for a long time ... I'm just unlucky and messy ... Always said if it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all .... I've had my tie come loose at the featherline and the stuff goes all over the place ... And another reason to completely remove the feet , after I wheel the bird the feet come off 99% of my birds ... ..paint on feathers sucks ...especially pink or red on a Snow goose ..Been there and man it's a pain to clean to say the least ... My best advice is don't get Paint on the feathers ... Pre paint and install so much easier ... It's not hard nor does it take a ton of time ..
  17. killdeer

    killdeer Member

    At least I know if not the only one having these issues when injecting feet; I guess we all face the same issues!

    Anyway, my caulked feet shrunk up pretty bad, but I painted them and will use them on my son's bird. I'm going to really focus on the MB techniques above on the next one...

    Hopefully there will be no more projectile syringes, MB explosions, etc (LOL)!
  18. Jim McNamara

    Jim McNamara Well-Known Member

    I don’t find masters blend to be too big a mess to use. I wait till I have several birds mounted and at the end of the day inject the feet. If it’s gonna be a while, as in several hours or over night I wrap the feet with wet paper towels and wrap that with grocery bags to keep the towel wet. If the feet are dried out some I inject as I am skinning out with either windex or warm water. Keep the injection sights to a minimum. Once injected I wash with lacquer thinner and then wipe the feet off after another 10/ 15 min. to clean up more of the excess fluid that is leaking out. Get it on the feathers, was off with lacquer thinner ASAP.
    Wear safety glasses and a shield if you have one. Stuff burns and can ruin your glasses too.
    Peter H. likes this.
  19. GotHonks

    GotHonks Well-Known Member

    Another Outside the box project of mine ...Gorilla Glue .... For feet .... It works or at least so far .. I use Masters Blend but I don't like the mess I end up making ... More less my fault nothing major anyways I've always wanted to find a one shot deal ... Might have found that with Gorilla Glue ... Its far to thick to shoot thru a small needle so I mixed it 50 /50 with Laquer Thinner in a syringe ... shot the leg from the ankle.down , my frikin tye that keeps fluid in the foot leaked out a bunch so again I have a mess .... Oh well so I mix another syringe and went to the next foot ... I never get the leg plumped enough with MB so I shot this one just below the thumb up to the ankle ... No leak so I plugged the hole with a pin and did each toe ... Don't need a lot of this stuff because it expands when dry ... So far so good ... But we'll see tomorrow .. Hopefully they don't over expand ... It's about like masterblend once mixed ...takes a while to set up .. been an hr and they r fairly firm ... Hit them with blow dryer heat to help dry so... They look over plumped in the pics but so do my MB feet for a while ..
    Thing is , even if it works ..For me it's messy , worse than MB ..... If it's a lot better I might use it (better meaning less shrinkage) ... Pretty cheap compared to 30.00 for a pint ....
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2020
    Peter H., rigbobby and bucksnort10 like this.
  20. Fallenscale

    Fallenscale Well-Known Member

    What did you mix with the Gorilla glue ?50/50

    Thanks you