Methods in the Art of Taxidermy

by Oliver Davie Published in 1900

Even more Taxidermy Instruments

The stuffing rods are shown in Plate IV, Figs. 1, 2, and 3. Two that I use for large mammals are made of ash, tipped with steel, notched as seen in Fig. 1 j they are 2 and 3 feet long, respectively. Another is made of a light steel rod, curved at the point, and notched, and is 3 feet long, with wooden handle, like Fig. 2. One represented by Fig. 3, for small mammals, is made of a lighter steel rod, and is 18 inches long.

Taxidermy Tools Plate 5

To make a small stuffing-rod for birds, take a piece of hard, straight iron wire, No. 13, twelve inches long, hammer one end flat, notch it, give the point a slight curve, or make it straight (both kinds are useful), make a loop for the handle, or put on a wooden one, as indicated in Figs. 2 and 3, Plate IV.

The stock of implements which has already been described and catalogued is yet incomplete, for we must bring to our assistance some of the essential tools and materials which are employed in other arts. For putting on the finishing touches-painting or tinting the discolored fleshy parts of mounted animals, and for modeling the open mouths of mammals, etc., we must not forget to bring into our studio or workshop our artistic ability, tube paints, brushes, the palette, and a number of sculptor's modeling tools.

The modeling tools are made of various materials, such as cocoa wood, boxwood, wire, zinc, copper, and steel, and are of various shapes. Any of the instruments or materials used by artists may be procured of any dealer in artists' materials, or of F. W. Devoe and Co., Manufacturers and Importers of Artists' Materials, New York City. A few of the most desirable shapes of the modeling tools for our purpose are illustrated in Plate IV; Figs. 4, 5, and 6 are made of wood, and 7, 8, and 9 are of steel. The following Windsor and Newton's tube colors are necessary: Burnt umber, burnt sienna, chrome green, chrome yellow, chrome red, emerald green, flake white, Indian red, indigo, ivory black, lampblack, Naples yellow, Prussian blue, raw sienna, raw umber, sugar of lead, vandyke brown, venetian red, vermilion. These colors are put up in convenient collapsible tubes, and are the best for fine work.

A palette 10 x14 inches is sufficiently large. This should be accompanied by a palette-knife and cups. Most of the above colors, it should be remembered, can be procured ground in oil in one-pound cans, and also in dry colors; these will be found absolutely necessary for coarse work on mammals, and the brush suitable for this grade of painting is the common socket sash tool, the best sizes being from Nos. 3 to 9, costing from fifteen to thirty-five cents each. In this kind of work it is also very desirable to have a 3 and 4 inch stippling brush, or" tippler," as it is called. For medium work, the best brushes are of fitch hair, or a combination of fitch and French bristles, both round and flat; the sizes from 1 to 6 are the most desirable. For fine work get the artist's round Russia sable hair brushes; the sizes run from 1 to 12, the intermediate sizes answering the more general purpose. The artist's materials enumerated above are of the utmost importance to any person who would engage in the higher branches of taxidermic work. With these he must test his ability in putting on the final touches which give expression and color to many of the specimens he longing to the higher orders of the animal kingdom, while they are of just as much importance in finishing a large number of the birds, reptiles, and fishes.