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Desperately need advice for proper care for fan for mount!

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I've done a few mounts before. I've just cut the tail off, and and get as much meat off as possible, and tacked it down with some salt or borax. I'm going to be working on my second bird of the season soon, and I'm looking up ways to get rid of separation (splits) in the tail feathers or even wing feathers for that matter. I've heard you should wash it in dawn, then soak it in mineral spirits or white gas, then blow dry it. I then heard the fan should not be wet AT ALL hence no washing. I just want the best method. Wash? No wash? Mineral spirit? I know for a fact that I must wash the hide with the feathers. What about the wings? I'm guessing them too. Blow dry everything slowly? Help! Thank y'all!

Edited by Bowhuntertothecore29
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I put the tail into a container and put some dawn and warm water in it enough to cover the tail. then let it soak for 20 minutes, agitating it every now and then. Then repeat the process once or twice more. Then you need to rinse it real well as soap will leave the feathers matted. Then I take a container and put the tail in it and cover it in Colman fuel, and let soak in the fuel for 20 minutes. You will see how much grease was still in the tail in the Colman fuel. Then I have a mixture of corn cob grit and borax I put it into to help draw out moisture but you can just sprinkle the entire thing in borax making sure you get it real well into the feathers. Then I will blow dry it until real dry. The I will put it on a large piece of cardboard arranging the feathers the use blue painters tape and tape it down to the cardboard. then I mix up a hot mixture of bondo and pour it on the quills to permanently set them in place then mount in a plaque.Here are a couple I've done this way










"Don't forget that you're First Marines! Not all the Communists in hell can overrun you!" - Chesty Puller

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Always scrape as much flesh from the tail butt as you can.  Cut the tail bone out and flesh the tail with a wire brush until you see just the quills and connective tissue.  A $1 brass wire grill brush from Home Depot will suffice for this.  Fill a bucket or bin with warm water and dawn and wash the tail.  This degreases the tail butt, cleans the dust and grime from feathers (remember, turkeys take dust baths, they are filthy birds.) and it will make a lot nicer finished product.  Rinse it until you see absolutely no more suds, and then rinse it again.  At this point you can soak in mineral spirits or white gas, but I don't bother.  I blot dry as best I can between a bath towel and then hit it with the hair dryer to fluff it up.  Rub borax or dry preservative into the quills area and pin the tail out to the desired spread you want.  Use masking tape to hold down the unruly feathers.  Mix up some bondo and smooth a glop of it around the quills and connective tissue and when it sets up it will hold them in position indefinately.  You can even bondo a little block of wood in to attach it to things.  You can then proceed with mounting it on a hardwood plaque or whatever you desire.  Don't half ass it.  You took the time to take the bird and get this far.  Do it right and avoid problems down the road. 

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