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Taxidermy, Our First Attemt!

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Elk hunter, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. Elk hunter

    Elk hunter Keyboard Hero

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    A couple of weeks back James "Tinmanofkent" very kindly took me on a two day corvids taxidermy course. The day started with Wain our tutor who James and I know so there was no awkwardness on arrival. 9am sharp we walked into his studio to be met by two rooks from the freezer. Wain showed us each part of the process and then we copied him. First thing to do was to take a few measurements, eyes to beak and eye to eye for later use. So to start a scalpel each was handed to us. Straight off we were skinning the rook cutting from the top of the breast to its anus which made a good stop point. Then skinned around the breasts and removing the legs and wings from the body.
    [​IMG]


    To leave the tail in-tacked and having to be careful not to cut the skin the patrons noise was left. Freeing the tail enabled the skin to be peeled over its back and up to the neck.
    Once at the neck it became very fiddly as you tunnel boned the neck out making it a tube of skin and feather.
    [​IMG]

    Now we hit the hardest part the head. Skinning over the skull was difficult because the skin is so tight and having to keep all of the eye lids was pain staking. Removing the eyes, tongue and any meat was a little different from boning a deer but had to be done with care and attention. The feather cape was nearly done, removing the head from the neck was all that was left to do, before removing the brain.
    [​IMG]


    It became very apparent James was not in my league when skinning but there was plenty of light hearted banter and stick given all three ways. When we had both had finnished the head, we only had to pull the skin back over again, this was bloody hard after all that work. This process took the pair of us all morning, Wain showed us how quick it could be done 30 mins no more, now that was impressive!


    Next job was to wash the cape to remove the grease and blood. Warm water and washing liquid, James and I were in amazed how Wain man handled the skin and feathers. I mean no messing even squeezing the water out, rang it out like a tea towel. The feathers were very resilient to being man handled even being rinsed off with a hose pipe.
    [​IMG]

    The next part was mind blowing. Into a bucket of white spirit to remove the water. Then a dusting with chincilla sand before a blow dry. Truly amazing to see a wet clump of feathers and 20 minutes later a fluffy cape of feathers, which then went into the freezer so not to dry out.
    [​IMG]


    Next the original body was used as a template as James and I made a mannequin to put inside the cape. Holy cow this was hard using a piece of wire as the frame, wrapping wood wood and tread together. Adding, taking away, unwrapping, over wrapping all afternoon I kid you not. Wain could do it in 5 minutes, us 2 very frustrating hours of swearing, cussing and a little laughter. But we finally managed it!
    Day one over.
    [​IMG]


    Day two started with attaching the skull to the mannequin, which involved pulling the skin over the skull (again). Simply done with car body filler and letting it cure before filling the eye sockets with modeling clay. Then (again) pulling the skin over the skull, down the neck making it look a bit more like a bird. Even had to remove the tendons out of the feet cool!
    [​IMG]


    Next was wiring the bird together. This involved running wire down each wing and leg which is not as easy as it sounds. The wire had to exit theses areas at curtain point and places. As the skin is not very thick it was a delicate process and I found this far more difficult than James. Even had to build the top of the legs again with wood wool and tread before attaching then to the mannequin.
    [​IMG]


    With body in, legs and wings wired up all that was left was to stick it all up. Carefully parting the feathers to stitch the breast together so not to see the seem. Again patience was needed as it was easy to get the small down feathers caught in the tread.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    It now looks almost like a bird, but eyes just bought it to life. Mounting it was a challenge itself! Now if you asked me if I knew how a rook sits 3 weeks ago I'd have said "yes of course I'd do". Well I don't to get the pose took an age. It was frustrating as I knew what I want but just couldn't get it. James dam well beat me to the post and finished first although it wasn't a race. All that was left to do was put all the feathers into place and direction.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Now for drying time.

    It has taken a good week for the bird to dry with a little felting hear and there. But all the time and effort have given truly superb result, I'm over the moon with the finished result.
    I would like to say thank you to James for taking me on this course as its been a real eye opener into a dark art.
    Although there is a lot I've not put into the post as there was so much over the 2 days, I hope it's given an insight to mounting a corvid.


    Finished.
    Andrew.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2014
  2. gasman

    gasman Up a bit,,,,,,,

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    liking that mate :up:
     
  3. dylan

    dylan Donator

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    cracking job:up:
     
  4. 1961nuffield

    1961nuffield Honorary Member

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    Very interesting, I've always fancied a shot at that!

    John
     
  5. harry brown

    harry brown Banned BANNED

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    Nice one Andrew. There seems to be a resurgence for taxidermy. You fancy doing a moose head yet?

    Great post by the way, Well done.
     
  6. Damon

    Damon Posting Addict

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    Great post and a fantastic result.
     
  7. Stevie Darling

    Stevie Darling Sexual tyrannosaurus

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    Fantastic result mate!!
     
  8. tinmanofkent

    tinmanofkent Tiger King

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    Sorry I was late with the pictures Andrew. There were some technical IT problems somewhere between the chair and the keyboard. I have been editing the taxidermy video this evening but its taking ages, I videod EVERYTHING!

    It was weird how it didn't look like a crow, even when stuffed, until it was posed. It's true what Wayne says, it puts life into them once posed right. The other thing that was drummed into us was the need to constantly reference the original animal to get all measurements correct.
     
  9. lone wolf

    lone wolf Major Poster

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    Great write up mate!
    Any plans to do a flock of woodies as the ultimate decoy pattern!

    My wife's grandfather used to have a few crows that he injected something to enable him to use as decoys.

    Gaz
     
  10. kal el

    kal el Posting Addict

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    brilliant:up:
     
  11. mbison

    mbison Busy Member

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    Brilliant, well done lads both look amazing for a first try!
     
  12. engraver

    engraver Keyboard Hero

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    Brilliant job lads they look very good, I really wish I had kept the pied Rook I shot last year it two white bars running down each wing, the following day I got a taxidermist tell me they fetch real good money when done, I went back to the field and found it but it was fly blown, so I didn't send it, but one taxidermist told me it would be about £80 to do, where as another said £180:eek: I don't know what the average rate is but £180 was from a guy who had won various competitions and what not so he said it would look amazing when done.

    Oh well only another 20yrs before I shoot another around these parts.:D[​IMG]
     
  13. sharpshooterpete

    sharpshooterpete Donator

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    Looks amazing, good job!
     
  14. Tadpole

    Tadpole Honorary Member

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    Great write up & pics, the finished product looks fantastic imo ............ :thumb:
     
  15. neiled

    neiled Donator

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    Wow, very impressive, well written and great photos.........respect :up:
     
  16. tinmanofkent

    tinmanofkent Tiger King

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    £80 Sounds about right. I'm having an albino badger mounted for me at the moment and that is £350 for the mount. Wayne sells his crows for around £100 each. I asked Wayne if it would cost more because the badger was albino but he said no, although there is some extra work involved in keeping the skin pink. Albino eyes are readily available from taxidermist suppliers.

    Theres a crow like you described in a park near me where I walk the dog. I've put a jihad on him!

    If anyone shoots/finds fresh anything dead that looks interesting just put it in the freezer. You are then safe and can make enquiries, if anyone shoots anything albino or melanistic I will gladly pay for a good specimen but it really must be frozen. Unlike food you can defrost and re-freeze animals for taxidermy over and over again. The thing to beware of is skin slip, when the fur comes out easily you must give up a lost cause.

    James
     

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