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Thread: deer feet

  1. #1

    deer feet

    Hi All,

    Can anyone give me a bit of advice on using /preparing deer feet to make walking stick handles. I have made quite a few sticks and done a little bit of taxidermy, and wanted to combine the two. I recently shot a fallow pricket and was wondering whether his feet would be suitable. Many thanks William

  2. #2
    Not having done what you describe though done many slots as trophy presentations on shields etc.
    But I reckon - get a steel rod (of appropriate size and maybe threaded) measure and saw off the full length you require. Full length being what will be plenty to insert into stick securely + the exposed length being what will be inserted into slot/leg = full length of rod.
    The bit that will be the 'slot/leg end' decide on where the bend of the joint will be and with a burner (or what methods you have) bend the rod to the angle you require.
    Do your 'taxidermy bit' to model the slot and leg to the rod ideally using an apoxie putty, as clay will just crumble and then fix to the stick and leave to set.
    Like I say not done it but that be my idea of doing it, hope it of some help -Claire

  3. #3
    I have done a few with Roe fore legs, if you bend the joints and fix in that position they will set giving you a crook type handle.

    Claire I have only ever air dried them and find that after two or three years use the hair starts to shed any idea on how to fix the hair.

  4. #4
    I forgot to say.. would suggest the slot is split all way down the back, remove the bones inc ones right down in the toes and remove the fatty tissue in the pads and be pickled and tanned. But a dry preservative (ie Alum or Borax) may just be enough for this sort of thing provided the skin is shaved a little and all fat removed, and scored for best penetration.

    bogtrotter, it is possible the nature of deer hair and also it only being air dried. But any taxidermy exposed to 'regular use/frequent handling' which it is not generally ment to be will suffer over time. Natural oils and grease from our own hands are enough to cause damage and hair loss, and just simple wear and tear. If properly tanned etc it may survive longer? but it is also an individual situation thing too imo

  5. #5
    Thanks for all your input I really appreciate the time to spent to respond. I will have a go this weekend and let you know how the project goes on
    Cheers Will

  6. #6

  7. #7
    One method I have used in the past is a direct casting method as follows.

    Skin the foot using a back inscision,centrally down the back of the leg,starting just behind the main hooves, and continuing past the dew claws and up the leg to the top. Skin out the leg. Then make a two part plaster mould of the skinned out leg in what ever position you want. I use vaseline on the leg and between the halves of the mould. Once the mould is made, fill up both halves with papier mache (proper stuff using paper pulp and glue + plaster - or buy it from a craft store) and then set a length of studding into the wet papier mache and put mould halves together securing with cable ties (you will need to cut a channel for the studding). Leave in a dry place to harden for a few days and then tan the skin/hooves. Finally break the plaster mould to release the papier mache positive and you have a solid hard manakin to stitch the skin back around. The manakin is exactly the correct size for the skin you have and you should get no hair loss or slippage.

    I know it probably sounds long winded but it is surprisingly quick, if you are used to making plaster moulds. Only downside to this method is that you have to make a new mould for each leg. Of course it would be posible to make a silicon rubber mould and fiberglass jacket, then you could cast hundreds, however they would all be the same size..

    Another method is to carve a very fast leg out of pine using a dremel, and then just stitching the tanned skin around that ??



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