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Cleaning Turkey Tails

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Wally Gator, May 15, 2022.

  1. Wally Gator

    Wally Gator Well-Known Member

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    Like many others, I flesh my turkeys with a pressure washer. But I’ve never heard anyone mention cleaning the tail with one so I decided to try it. Literally 15 minutes total cleaning time then into final wash- no exaggerating. I trim the big meat off with a knife, cut the bone, then go outside and hit it with a 2300 psi turbo tip for a couple minutes. Back inside I clean up the crumbs with borax and wire brush. Then into warm soapy water.
    Why didn’t y’all tell me about this sooner?!
    By the way, if you don’t have a short pistol for your washer instead of the long wand, get one. Much better control. 16A2C261-B86E-4B67-8BDF-1833F400A926.jpeg
     
    joeym, Clew, BrookeSFD16 and 2 others like this.
  2. spurhunter

    spurhunter Active Member

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    That’s awesome. Am using the grid pattern for pin board idea as well. I’ll add that I made an extra large compass from two wooden yardsticks to check for symmetry, wings etc. Thanks for sharing.
     
    Wally Gator likes this.

  3. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    How I do my tails is to pull each quill, clean it and arrange them back into a fan, tape them down and Bondo. Zero meat, zero fat, zero membrane. Just single clean quills arranged in a fan. It is way faster than any other method I have ever used. If I want a shingled fan or a 1/2 or 3/4 strut fan I made a foam form with dowels in them to set the feathers on.
     
  4. turkeyshooter

    turkeyshooter Member

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    Now that sounds worth a try!
     
  5. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member


    If you don't like the fuzzy down of the saddle feathers and even the secondary coverts getting in your way, you can grasp the feather in one hand and pinch the the down (fuzz) just below the feather part with the other hand and strip it right of the quill. You can trim the quill to any length you want to make the fan aesthetically pleasing.
     
  6. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

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    Would you have a picture of this you would share
     
  7. spurhunter

    spurhunter Active Member

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    Have done the stick built method out of necessity, with great results, but found it as much or even more tedious. Not knocking others preferences but I sorta like how a properly cleaned and dried fan just fluffs out naturally with little effort. It’s quite a transformation.
     
  8. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    All I do is cut the first quill from the tail meat, grasp the quill with a paper towel between finger and thumb, pull down. Everything on that quill comes off. I lay it down and continue to shape as go following a grid on a sheet of cardboard, on to the middle feather. Then start on the next half, working my way from the first to the remaining middle one. I take maybe 5 seconds per quill. I can have a fan ready for Bondo in less than 10 minutes.
     
    Wildthings likes this.
  9. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

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    Exactly how I do it! Now if they need washing, I use a red for right side and black for left side and number the quills before slicing them off. Use a piece of paper towel to pull off the fat/meat and throw them all in the soapy sink. Very fast process
     
  10. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    That is a great idea.
     
  11. turkeyshooter

    turkeyshooter Member

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    Do you pull only the main tail feathers and do you still cut the whole tailfan off before pulling out the feathers?
     
  12. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I cut the fan off the bird then go to town on it. If you want to see how it is done, go to Youtube and watch "How to Make a Turkey Tail Plaque/Easy DIY" by Rodney Elmer & Mountain Deer. I don't do the Bondo the way he does it, but he shows you how to pull them and clean them. He uses a knife to clean them. It takes him maybe 3 to 5 seconds per quill.
     
  13. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

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    Here's the link. It's a great video for it. I don't use a knife either but a small piece of paper towel. I hold the feather in my left hand tightly and with the paper towel piece in the right hand I grab the gook and twist and pull it off very cleanly

    youtube <<--- click

    If I'm doing a fan mount I mark them on the backside, on the shaft, down low.
    If doing a lifesize I mark them on the front, on the shaft, down low.
    One dot = 1, Two dots = 2 etc I use an "X" for number 5. For 6 - 9, a single dot with a space and a single dot, 7 would be a single dot then a space then two dots etc.
    1 .
    2 ..
    3 ...
    4 ....
    5 X
    6 . .
    7 . ..
    8 . ...
    9 . ....

    works for me and its simple and quick
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2022
  14. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    That's the video I was referring to. I have always just shaped the fan as I cut them out. I also tape them down so they don't move.
     
  15. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I do the secondary covers the same way as I do the fan.
     
    Wildthings likes this.