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Eye Shrinkage.

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by Jean M, Apr 17, 2022.

  1. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    This is my 4th whitetail head. Just wondering if this amount of shrinkage is normal once dry.

    I use Mckenzie tan system, critter clay, Roman 555 glue.

    I thin the area around the eye as much as possible with out losing all of the guard hairs.
    Eyelids are split all the way, with oil glands removed. I am careful to not over dampen the clay or eye skin while mounting.
    One pin at caruncle.
    Clay above lacrymal crease to push hair to hair.
    Slow dry, bagged and babysat and adjusted twice daily for several days. Maybe 60° in my workshop.
    The movement occurred at about day 5 or six. Just as everything feels dry, and can't be adjusted any more. but obviously is not.

    I think I can better control the tear duct area with tighter slot and slightly more clay pushed tight on day 1.
    Just not sure how to deal with eyelid differently.
    If this is normal, I can deal with filling gap with epoxy. Just doesn't look as soft as I'd like. 1sf photo is right after mounting, second is about 10 days later. The harsh lighting is making it look worse than it even is. 20220403_215643.jpg

    20220416_163407.jpg
     
  2. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Yes it is normal and hard to control, as by your post you are doing everything correctly. It may help a tad to mist it with water also as it dries and to back brush with tooth brush as it dries also . You have a great eye shape , just remember tho the back top of eye should be slightly higher then your pupil not lower then it , keeping that soft full look is very hard to do but can be done , one way is how I described and another is to over clay your eye a bit so it will look heavy almost, kinda fat , in order to get the look after it’s dry, but still do what I described above as it dries.
     
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  3. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Thanks for responding,
    I did very lightly mist water over the head in general, before bagging, but next time I will focus on dampening the eye area a touch more, especially day 3, 4.

    I kept a couple of scrap pieces of hide from leg/ armpit area, amazing how much they shrank and shriveled when dry. Hard to believe that a thin ridge of clay could stop that kind of force.

    I will definitely watch the eye shape next time! Thanks for noting that.
    I know this deer will look OK once finish work is done, I just hope to improve as I go. I see what is being done by experts on here, and set my standards pretty high.
    Even with all of the videos I have bought, watched on YouTube, articles read here and elsewhere, there are so many things that you just can't learn until you do it see it or feel it for yourself.
    My dad dabbled in taxidermy in the late 60s through the early eighties. I can imagine how difficult it was back then with mail order classes and a few old books. No wonder people didn't want to share their techniques!
     
    drob likes this.
  4. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Let me add , I’m not familiar with your glue, so I’m not downing it , that said I use pro 1 and it is a great glue and a filler in a sense , so it will give your eye a fuller look also .
     
    Jean M likes this.
  5. Trophy Specialist

    Trophy Specialist Well-Known Member

    That is more shrinkage than I have. I'm using the lay method with no clay around the eyes though. Try using Epoxy Sculpt instead of clay.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2022
  6. livbucks

    livbucks Well-Known Member

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    Model your eyes a tad more closed than you want and then it will shrink back to where you want it. Push skin toward the eye on day 2 and press the edge against the eye everyday. The gap you have isn't a big deal. Smooth some black sculpt in there and brush some Mod Podge on it for a wet look. People will ask how you make the eyes so lifelike.
     
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  7. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Again, thanks for the suggestions.
    The apoxie sculpt idea is something I may try at some point.
    I will make more of an attempt to model the eyes a bit more closed when using clay, it's just tough to predict how much movement there will be. Experience , right?

    BTW, I looked back at my last deer mount (in picture), and I sculpted the eye very similar, with the back corner dropped too low.
    Not sure if I'm sculpting my clay that way, or just deforming it when tucking the lids. Weird how habits form. Something to watch reference for.
    That deer was my first attempt at detail epoxy work on the eyelid. Rebuilt with apoxie sculpt and added little oil gland pores with Mod podge thickened with liquitex modeling paste. Think I would tone that down a bit if I do it again. 2019_001.jpg
     
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  8. Trophy Specialist

    Trophy Specialist Well-Known Member

    The shape looks pretty good, but I've never actually been able to see those oil glands on a live deer pic. Even the shape and color of a deer eye varies a lot from deer to deer. If you look at reverence pics, you'll see a tremendous amount of variety. There is no definitive right way to do an eye, but there is a wrong way. I always tried to put out an eye that looked decent, but one that I also thought would survive the test of time without deterioration. That's where, IMHO, clay is an inferior product for eye work.
     
    Jean M likes this.
  9. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    I would agree that I over did the details, and then highlighted them further with paint.
    I will try to focus more on not making mistakes, rather than trying to distract from them.
    Thanks for your input!

    There are no shows around here, might consider traveling to ND or MN to see one next year.
     
  10. Heath Cline

    Heath Cline Well-Known Member

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    Another tip to try is do not use your critter clay straight out the bag. Take some out and let it dry "a little bit" before using it. When I use clay this is what I will do. But I mostly use Apoxie Sculpt through the eye opening to do my eye work. Another thing is normally have to dampen my eye skin a little to tuck them. As you can see a common theme here, dont have things with too much moisture.
     
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  11. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Heath,
    Funny you should mention the fresh clay.
    I actually just cracked a new package, and thought it seemed awful moist compared to my old stuff (couple years). I did let some sit out for a while before using, but it was still pretty soft.
    I could see that having some effect. Don't have anymore mounts to work on for while, but I'll be sure to air the clay out some more when I do.
     
  12. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    I use critter clay and make my eye set as I like , then I let it dry before I ever pull a cape over it . Doing it that way I never screw my clay work up as it’s hard , I do everything else and my eyes are the last thing I set , by that time the clay is usually soft enough to tuck , if not I bag and set them the next morning.
     
    Jean M likes this.
  13. Heath Cline

    Heath Cline Well-Known Member

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    Jean. As I mentioned , I do all my eye work through the eye opening once everything else is done on the mount. This way I dont mess up eye work doing everything else. Also lets me make all skin adjustments and alignments before doing eye work. And I use mostly Apoxie Sculpt. But when I do use clay, that is when I let dry a little before using it. I can set it out while doing rest of mount and ready by the time I get to eyes.
     
    Jean M likes this.
  14. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    On this mount, I pulled the cape on, set antlers, etc. before setting the eyes.
    The clay was left out while doing that, but it was still quite fresh by the time I was ready for tucking eyes.
    I am definitely not confident enough to do epoxy work through the eye opening, but I could practice that with clay first. I do think I'll give the apoxie sculpt a try sometime. There should be enough working time even for me to get things in place.

    Thanks for all the advice ,
     
    livbucks likes this.
  15. livbucks

    livbucks Well-Known Member

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    The sculpt will behave much like clay if you dont walk away on it.
     
  16. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Looking a bit better. Think it will be fine after some paint.
    I know it's backward, but I'll add in a bit of nictitating membrane and caruncle detail once this sets up. 20220424_162901.jpg

    This forum must have actually made me worse at taxidermy. Now I see way more problems with my work than I ever did before...
     
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  17. Crittrstuffr

    Crittrstuffr Well-Known Member

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    That's funny cause the more of your work I see the less issues I see . . .
     
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  18. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    I just keep trying to correct things! Wouldn't be half bad if I were at least efficient at the basic mechanics of things like not cutting holes while skinning and fleshing. Luckily not trying to make a living at this.

    Thanks to all the coaches out there.
     
    woakley144 likes this.
  19. Jordan Park

    Jordan Park Active Member

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    Jean, you’re awesome!
     
  20. Jean M

    Jean M Well-Known Member

    Lol,
    I know better, but maybe you can convince my boss at work, or better yet my wife...