Sunday, April 17, 2011

European Mount Desktop Pedestal

After making the turkey fan display plaque last week I thought of another item to make using my wood router. I have a nice whitetail skull I want to put on display so I decided to build a desktop piece that the skull could sit on.

I started out by tracing the skull and making some cardboard patterns to use for transferring the shape I want on to the piece of wood I would be cutting out. I then cut out the three pieces of wood that would be used in the pedestal: an oval base, an upright piece, and the skull panel.

After cutting and sanding I used the wood router to create the decorative edge on the base and the panel.

Next, I took the three pieces and drilled pilot holes for all the screws and test-fitted them together to make sure they would fit properly and be the desired angle for the skull to sit on.

Then I stained the wood using a red mahogany stain and darkened it up a little bit with some dark walnut stain.

After the stain had dried I applied a couple coats of polyurethane to give the piece a glossier furniture look. I allowed it to dry for about a day and then attached the skull. I really like the way it turned out and think it has a pretty classy look. Here are some pictures of the finished desktop pedestal.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Turkey Fan/Beard Display

I recently finished up another project I've been wanting to complete for some time now. Several years back I was fortunate enough to call in and harvest my first turkey, an old tom with a 10 1/2" beard. I decided to make my own display panel for the bird's tail and beard. I took a really nice piece of red oak, cut out the pattern I wanted, routed the edge to give it a fancier look, stained the wood, put a few coats of polyurethane on the plaque, and attached the tail and beard. I think this will make a nice addition to my ever-growing trophy room. What do you think?

Monday, April 11, 2011

First Waterfowl Mount

I've had an interest in taxidermy since I was a kid. I've tinkered with some skull mounts and hide tanning here and there, but I've never actually done a taxidermy mount of a whole animal. Until now.

A couple years ago I was able to attend a one-day waterfowl taxidermy seminar where I watched a professional taxidermist mount a teal from start to finish. There are quite a few steps involved in the process, and I got some valuable experience and learned some helpful tips from watching the taxidermist at the seminar. So I decided I wanted to give this a try for myself.

One of the tools I saw the taxidermist use was a bird flesher, which he had built himself using a low horsepower motor and a wire wheel, to remove all the fat and grease from the bird skin prior to mounting. I decided to build my own bird flesher a few weeks ago after seeing a few different designs on the internet. Here is my homemade bird flesher:

I used a clear rubbermaid container to serve as the containment area to catch all of the fat from the bird when it is removed from the skin by the wire wheel. An attic fan motor powers the wheel and is wired to an on/off switch.

The first duck I chose to mount is a nice American Wigeon drake that I shot during last year's duck season. I should have taken more pictures of the entire process, but unfortunately I didn't, so here is one I took of the skin while I was sewing up some of the holes in the bird in preparation for putting the skin on the mannikin. As you can tell it doesn't look like much at this point...

And here is the final product. I'm happy with the way it turned out for my first one. There are some things I will do differently on the next one as I hope to improve on my second mount. It was a fun project but some very tedious work.