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

Best Mounting Kit For My First Try? Or No Kit At All?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by akhenenra, Feb 18, 2021.

  1. akhenenra

    akhenenra Member

    Hoping for some advice on mounting my first shoulder deer. I have futzed around with taxidermy a little before and recently restored an older mount and replaced the antlers with what I think was a pretty good result. Now I'm wanting to start from scratch and do one myself.

    It seems looking around there are a few different kits out there:
    -WASCO/Sally Dahmes (McKenzie)
    -Rhinehart (McKenzie)
    -Van Dykes (Van Dykes)
    -Jody Green (Van Dykes)
    -Tony Rusiecki (Van Dykes)

    Honestly they all kind of seem the same, seems more than anything the choice is between the different form designs.

    Anyone have any experience with these kits or forms and can recommend one? Are these kits even the way to go?

    Honestly I don't really need to buy a kit if it's not worth it, I was mostly thinking the kit would be helpful to make sure I have everything i need (not like I can go out and grab it if i forget something). I have some clay already, needles, and thread, but that's it.

    Would really appreciate some recommendations! Thank you!
  2. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    I wouldn’t buy a kit , most the time they are the cheaper quality parts , form , eyes , ear liners and such . Not saying you should buy the best of the best but get things that are more up to date . Like a quality plastic ear liner over a celastic ,unless of course you are doing bondo ears . If you you use outdated materials your mount will look outdated also . JMO
    ARUsher and pir^2h like this.

  3. Mike Powell

    Mike Powell Well-Known Member

    The kits are OK, and come with everything you need to mount a deer using one particular technique. Instructions are provided to use the materials they provide. For example: you are limited to one type of tan, so you will have to understand enough to use that tan, and they provide ear liners as opposed to using bondo (you can always buy your own bondo if you prefer that method). They do not supply tools like rougher, scalpel, knives, etc.
    Do you have your own deer cape already? Is it already tanned?
    Do you have any experience at all? Have you watched any videos or read any instructions?
    If so, you will want to get a kit that corresponds to the techniques you have been learning already. If you have been receiving instructions on mounting a deer using krowtan or dry preservative and bondo for ears, these kits may be a little bit of a challenge in they are directed to a different technique.
    Also, if you have a green or raw deer cape (salted or in the freezer), it is difficult to judge what size form you will need until you have measurements from the tanned cape. You are basically guessing on the size the cape will be after tanning and you are stuck with the form you have already purchased.

    If it were me, just my opinion...I would suggest that you study up on how to flesh and tan, how to do final fleshing, and how to use ear liners or bondo. Decide on what kind of tan you want to use and how you intend to do the ears and then buy a batch of that tan product, ear liners, ear adhesive, or bondo. You can also buy a few knives/scalpels - some for fine cutting and some for fleshing and thinning. Then tan and prep your hide for mounting.

    AFTER tanning, take the measurements of the tanned and shaved cape. Then store in the freezer. Then order your form accordingly along with eyes, ear liners (if that is what you choose to use), hanger, etc. You'll also need tucking tool, modeling tool, and tacks or staples (and a strong staple gun) to secure the hide to the back of the form.

    In short:
    1. study the methods and techniques and decide which best suits you.
    2. based on that decision, buy the materials for the methods you have chosen to use and have some kind of familiarity with how they are to be used.
    3. don't buy the form until AFTER you tan the hide and take the measurements from the tanned cape.
    4. make sure you get some reference photos and compare your mount with the photos as you are finishing eyes, ears, nose, brisket are, hair patterns, etc. Take your own photos on your cell phone and compare your photos to the reference pictures you have.

    Good luck!
    tem, drob and pir^2h like this.
  4. pir^2h

    pir^2h Retrievers give you the bird

    That is a lot of good detailed information you provided Mike!
    tem likes this.
  5. akhenenra

    akhenenra Member

    this is SO SO helpful Mike and 13 Point, thank you, you've already pinpointed one major thing I wouldn't have though of which is considering size changes once the cape is fully tanned. Not positive but I'm in contact with a guy who can send me a turned and salted cape, I'll have to tan it.

    Seems like Krowtan and Bondo are the newer favored methods for tanning/preparing, if I'm reading the message boards correctly.

    Thanks so so much for this help.
  6. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Glad I can help some , as I agree with Mike on all , I have to disagree on cape size , if tanned correctly the cape is the same size before and after tanning , I measure all my capes as I skin them off head . I get my E/N before and neck after , from the cape not the meat . I order all my forms before I even tan them and I have never had a cape not fit . I’m sorry but if your cape is coming out smaller , you did something wrong.
  7. Mike Powell

    Mike Powell Well-Known Member

    It is true, that an experienced taxidermist doing an “in shop tan” can order a form off of the raw skin. Newbies, however, will almost always struggle with that until they learn how to properly tan and thin the capes. A quick search in the archives (harder to use now than before) will bear that out as you will find it one of the most common problems for taxidermists starting out: “cape not fitting form”, “how to stretch capes”, “how to properly measure capes”, etc. My advice took that into consideration as I didn’t have time to do a complete tutorial on tanning as well.
  8. tem

    tem Well-Known Member

    take the advice well what 13 point & Mike Powell gave you about the tanning and prep part. if not done right. youll have problems.