Does it really matter?

Discussion in 'Taxidermy Forum' started by Ga_huntingpublic, May 12, 2019.

  1. Ga_huntingpublic

    Ga_huntingpublic Refuge Member

    Jan 17, 2019
    I'm working on my second real attempt at waterfowl taxidermy, and got my bird wired up and ready to mount. When I got the skin on the body that I ordered, the skin was way too small and would have had to be stretched to even get close to being able to sew it up. So i went back to my notes and realised that from my measurements the manikin body was way larger in diameter than what I measured off of the real bird. That brings me to my question..

    When ordering foam bodies, does the species that its listed for actually matter? I have been buying the Shane Smith manikins from McKenzie's. They're separated out by species so I just ordered a bufflehead body since that's what kind of duck I'm mounting. After I went back online and looked through everything, it looks like the closest thing I can find- size wise- was a green wing teal body.. I dont really see it making much of a difference but I wanted to throw it out there to the more experienced guys. And while on the topic, as long as the body is the correct size does anything else about it really even matter? Some bodies seem super detailed, some not so much. Anybody have any input?
  2. Brad's Birds

    Brad's Birds Elite Refuge Member

    Jan 8, 2005
    Illinois south part
    Quick answer is "no", it doesn't matter what species it is labeled as long as the body corresponds to your measurements. Circumference and length will get you by on most typical commercial mounts. I've used Ferebee bodies for a long time and know their limitations. They tend to run a little long so I adjust for that, but a Wood duck body will fit a Ringneck and vice-versa, I like how the Redhead body fits Canvasbacks and Goldeneyes better than the Canvasback/Goleneye bodies, small Mallards fit large Pintails, Specklebellies fit most Snow geese better than the snow goose body, etc..... If you get used to using one "brand" of body, you will soon automatically know which one to order. Stephen Savides bodies are really "fat" and were hard (for me ) to find one that fit.

    I also judge the amount of fat on the bird and give it a zero through 4 rating....really fat birds get a "4". Most bodies are cast off of a skinned bird without the fat and skin so the body may be the correct size but it will look like a tennis ball in a pillow case when you go to sew it up. I personally don't have a problem using a body a bit bigger in that case. If you are going to error however, error on the side of too small vs too big (circumference-wise...length is a bit more important) You can always add some polyester batting or cotton or whatever to fill the voids in a too -small body, but too big will give you all kinds of problems.

    As for all the details carved into the forms, I personally don't think it matters.....kind of like fishing lures attracting fishermen. Frank Newmyer had all the ribs carved into his bodies which seemed funny to me but he wanted his bodies to be different than the other guys. Commercial cast heads are becoming the same with ligaments/etc....carved into the head part. It sells and isn't a problem, just seems over-kill in most cases.
    MJ1657 and Ga_huntingpublic like this.
  3. Howard Whitten

    Howard Whitten New Member

    Apr 4, 2019
    Roxbury, Maine
    Why not try making your own bodies? I taught my students to make their own. You can use excelsior(tow)...its like wooden steel wool...used in packing things. I think they used it once to stuff furniture. Get it wet and use string to wrap it, you can shape it with your hands.

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