Instructables

Bring life back to your taxidermy mounts

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Picture of Bring life back to your taxidermy mounts
With all the money you spend on getting an animal mounted, you definitely want your mount to last a lifetime. Mounts can deteriorate and crack over time. However, with a little maintenance using common household products, you can keep your mount looking as good as the day you got it back from the taxidermist.
 
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Step 1: What you will need

Picture of What you will need
Paper Towels
Rag
Q-tips
Glass Cleaner
WD-40
Furniture Polish
Petroleum Jelly

Step 2: Cleaning the hide

Picture of Cleaning the hide
Spray some furniture polish on your rag. Wipe off the dust and dirt from your mount. Be sure to follow the direction of the hair when cleaning.

Step 3: Cleaning the antlers

Picture of Cleaning the antlers
Spray some WD-40 on your rag and wipe down the antlers thoroughly. Be sure to get into all the cracks. This will leave a nice shine and bring a life-like, colorful look back into them.

Step 4: Cleaning the eyes

Picture of Cleaning the eyes
Spray some glass cleaner on a paper towel and clean off the eyes. After they are clean from the glass cleaner, spray some WD-40 on a paper towel and shine up the eyes to bring a life-like shine into them.

Step 5: Applying the petroleum jelly

Picture of Applying the petroleum jelly
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Apply the petroleum jelly with a Q-tip or your finger around the eyes and on the nose. You don't need a large amount, just enough to surround the eyes and cover the nose. This will keep these areas from drying out and cracking in the future. It will also bring a life-like shine into the tear duct area and nose.

You may notice I already have some cracking around my eyes on this particular mount. That is from many years of doing no maintenance on this mount.

Step 6: Enjoy your rejuvinated mount

Picture of Enjoy your rejuvinated mount
You can see the major difference it makes with a good before and after picture.

I recommend doing this to your mounts at least once a year.

Any idea whether the furniture polish would work on feathers? My dad's got a pheasant that could use a bath...

I saw this on a master taxidermist info page article:

Use lacquer thinner: Don’t use water to remove residual
dust and bring out the shine of a bird’s feather, but instead lightly
soak a rag with a little lacquer thinner and wipe it over the mount.
“Lacquer thinner evaporates from the feather, leaving just a clean mount
with bright colors behind,” he said. “Water will matte the feathers and
mess them up.”
Keep it out of the sun: Feel free to display your
mounts prominently, but take care where you put them. “Direct sunlight
will definitely bleach and fade feathers. If you want to keep the
original richness and vibrant colors, keep it out of direct sunlight,”
he said.

This being said I also know some old mounts used pretty bad chemicals to prevent bugs ie: arsenic and mercury, so check around eyes for a white microcrystalline substance that could be there. just be careful. As said otherwise dusting will work. just don't use water.

rugerp512 (author)  jjdebenedictis6 months ago

I just use a feather duster on mine. Just be somewhat gentle and go in the direction of the feathers.

Boomer16 months ago

Good info, thanks for sharing.

caruncles6 months ago

good stuff and I need to do it. I also have some turkey fans which need maintenance. I know that birds preen to add/renew some kind of natural oils. I haven't found out what to use to maintain the feathers. It would have to be a light oil.

lbrewer426 months ago

Glad you posted this! Been doing this for years. For some reason every Christmas/New Year's Day it just comes to my mind. But... this year I forgot! Guess what I am going to go do LOL!

DaddysGal226 months ago
Awesome! I love it
bob30306 months ago
You fooled me with the title. I though you were going to hook up jumper cables and perform some undead voodoo to bring the animals back to life! ; ).
Seriously this is a task most people don't think about until the need arises. It's always nice to get information from someone that has experience. Thank you for sharing.
AngryRedhead6 months ago

DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDE!!!!! THANK YOU!

rugerp512 (author)  AngryRedhead6 months ago

You're welcome!