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Wolf Project

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by Jean M, Mar 12, 2022.

  1. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    After seeing lots if great content on here, I thought I might have something to share.

    I will preface this by saying that this is by no means a "how to" or tutorial, just documenting my experiences through this project.

    I am still fairly new to taxidermy and still experience many beginner challenges and roadblocks.
    Hope you find this entertaining.

    So, the project:
    I had the opportunity to aquire 2 wolf capes. I originally thought it would be great to create a double pedestal mount, but once I thawed and inspected the hides, I found that one was in pretty rough shape, so it would be better suited to a practice mount.

    I ordered a closed mouth pedestal form and an open mouth change-out head. 20220101_125307.jpg
    I wasn't crazy about the muzzle shape on this form, and since it was somewhat too large, I had to resculpt it anyway.
    msestak likes this.
  2. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    20220105_142408.jpg I cut off the head and replaced it with the open mouth , modifying the neck turn and resizing to fit the cape.
    I also had to resize the head since the supplier had only 6" e-n available and my wolves were more in the 5.5" range. Resizing a head pre fit with a jawset is a big of a head-scratcher for a newbie... lol. 20220105_142346.jpg 20220105_142511.jpg
    porterfield, 13 point, tem and 2 others like this.

  3. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    20220218_173348.jpg 20220218_173243.jpg 20220219_094944.jpg Now, back to the practice head.

    I grabbed some foam board that I had at home, I stacked it up and carved the new form using the original as my model.
    Once shaped, I used foam board adhesive and deck screws to assemble permanently. The foam adhesive is fairly cheap for a tube, and doesn't have to be mixed, but does take at least 24 hrs to cure. I used bondo to reassemble the head pieces. I attached a scrap piece of plywood as a back board. 20220218_173348.jpg
    Kevwells, tem, drob and 1 other person like this.
  4. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    When test fitting the hide, I realized traffic the neck was far too thin, so I built that up with sine foam scraps and clay before mounting.

    I set the eyes and then the ears, trying for a simple, alert expression. Again, being less experienced, i didn't want to mess with ear rotation that may just have ended up looking crooked.

    Having struggled with ear placement before, I decided to bondo the ears in place, then cut out a wedge of foam out of the head, so I would get a positive locked-in placement once mounting, rather than trying to press into clay. I glued them in place when I finally pulled the skin on . 20220219_230139.jpg 20220219_230158.jpg
    tem, drob and msestak like this.
  5. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Clay work on eyes.
    I live in Manitoba, so I'm lucky to have a giant walk in freezer (garage) for a few months a year. I wrapped the clay work in plastic and put it in there for a few hours while sewing and gluing ear liners. This hardened up the clay nicely so it didn't deform terribly while pulling the cape over the form. 20220220_120213.jpg
    Vulpes Vulpes, drob and msestak like this.
  6. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Did I mention the cape was a 20220101_111253.jpg bit rough?
    It was missing quite a patch,xand had cut and missing hair all around here.
    I decided to cut a patch of similar length/colored hair from the shoulder area. (Partly why I did the offset shoulder wall ped)
    I knew it wouldn't match perfectly, but once hanging on the wall, most would not notice. I noticed that there were also many areas that were overshaved so there were a few spots with thin hair, hence practice mount. Here it is ready to mount.

    I also stitched up the long-cut incision most of the way while hide is inside out. That made it very easy to keep hair(and later hide paste...) out of the stitches.
    next, I glued the earliners in with a 15 minute epoxy glue and groomed them . 20220102_205935.jpg
    Vulpes Vulpes, drob and msestak like this.
  7. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Before gluing in the earliners I gave the inner base a quick shot of flat black spray paint. The liners are white, and any areas where hide was not covering would be very hard to conceal. ( not a Competition technique I am sure)
    I also mixed some red acrylic paint into my epoxy thinking that might influence the colour of the hide once mounted. I could initially see the colour, but once hide dried fully, I don't know if it really did much. Seemed like a good idea at the time .
    drob and msestak like this.
  8. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    This is day one. I was fairly pleased. I bagged it at this point and waited overnight to adjust the eyes and do more grooming. 20220220_175458.jpg
    aussiesam, 13 point, tem and 4 others like this.
  9. msestak

    msestak Well-Known Member

    looking good, real good.
    tem and drob like this.
  10. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    20220221_114748.jpg 20220221_114611.jpg 20220221_114514.jpg Second day.
    Lots of time grooming and blow drying.
    One ear looks pretty rough, it had a few stitches and a notched edge. (And I didn’t make it look any better, so here's a pic of the better one)
    Notice that the dark stripe marking behind the eye is missing on the wolf's left side, this was due to the missing hair/hide that was patched in. I will try to add some colour when finish painting. (Any suggestions on how to colour the hair?) View attachment 239556
    tem, NMJagdHunter, drob and 3 others like this.
  11. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Thanks very much,

    There's so much to learn!

    Here's the damaged side patched up. You might notice that it has no whiskers...well it only had a few left when I got it, but I removed them and will insert them later when finishing. I'll have to steal a few from elsewhere to add to the 3 that were left on this cape. 20220221_115238.jpg
    I learned that from Brian Hendricks YouTube video and tried it on a fox. I really liked the control it allowed in positioning them.
    I'm not a pro, so anything that makes it easier for me works. Hours are not my concern for now.
  12. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    I set this one aside to dry and the next weekend I mounted the second wolf.

    It was in much better condition overall. Just a few facial scars, but just character really.
    I didn't photo the form all prepped, but it looked about the same as the first one. I did try getting the ears a shade closer together, but generally the same position. The eyes were shaped with a bit more expression, and I also changed the nose angle slightly, as I just was not seeing any up-turned noses on the reference I looked at.
    I again did the clay work on the eyes, then froze before pulling skin over the form.
    Then I added some clay work to the nose and lip line. I had done this on the other one as well.

    20220227_180834.jpg 20220227_180903.jpg 20220227_181014.jpg
    Fire-and-ice, Bruledrift, tem and 4 others like this.
  13. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    I used several pins to help make sure the skin did not pull out from the slot between the foam and cast lip. Some areas were not very tight.
    It all seemed to hold alright. They're both dry now, awaiting finish work.

    I put together the base for the pedestal mount today.

    I'll update once I've got more to show.

    Thanks for looking in.
    jason crozier, msestak and drob like this.
  14. drob

    drob Well-Known Member

    Very Nice !!!
    msestak likes this.
  15. msestak

    msestak Well-Known Member

    when i mounted an open mouth boar for competition (state level) i lightly sprayed the mouth with gloss to give it a wet look and let some run off the tongue so it looked like dripping saliva

    got a blue ribbon

    might look good on the wolf, something to think about

    great job by the way
    Jean M likes this.
  16. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the suggestion!
    Touches like that can really add to a piece. Sounds like you pulled it off well.
    I might try it with something I can quickly wash off if I blow it.
    What type of gloss did you use?
    Been noticing that on our dog, (lab/pyrenees), the fleshy lower lip , closer to the rear corner of mouth, is usually more dry looking on the outside than this jaw set has been painted. But the wet look doesn't look bad or wrong.
    Will have to go back and look at more wolf photos or video if I can find.
  17. msestak

    msestak Well-Known Member

    that was so long ago, all i can remember was that it was polytranspar brand from WASCO. i used an airbrush not the aerosol can. heck...it might have even been fish gloss :)
    Jean M likes this.
  18. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    You can use modgepodge , you can get that in gloss or Matt finish, great for lips , noses and such , what’s good about it is it also levels things out and helps hide imperfections in putty work .
    msestak and Jean M like this.
  19. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Thanks to you both. I've used modpodge on the 3 deer noses I have done. Don't think I have the gloss. I'll put it on my list for next trip into the city.
    Might help add some texture to the bear rug I worked on earlier this winter. And yes, it's still winter here...
    msestak likes this.
  20. Museum Man

    Museum Man Well-Known Member

    Just remember what you said about your dog's mouth, dripping wet is not always a natural thing.
    aussiesam, msestak and Jean M like this.