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matthothand

changing antlers on mount

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I have a mount from '02 that needs to be touched up (starting to crack around eyes and nose) and I was thinking about trying to put a different rack on it. Not me, but my taxidermist. The original rack is just a standard basket 4x4 that I had done because I was young and wanted a deer on the wall. I have a larger rack that I would like to display on the mount instead of the homemade plaque that they are on. My taxidermist is working in Europe right now and I won't be able to talk to him for a few more weeks. Does anyone have an idea of how much this might cost or how difficult it would be? I know he can do it but I have no clue what the bill might look like.

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Changing racks on mounts really isn't that hard; two of the nine deer mounts I have I can interchange antlers on. I use these mounts to display the current years deer or I may just switch racks just to change thing's up a bit.

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Whaaaat? Really? I have never heard of this (and I am a former taxidermist). Basically if you are asking if you can swap out antlers, you will need a new mount, cape and all! It will cost you the price of a regular mount. In that case, you might as well have a new mount done so you have two. I suppose it could be done (changing out the antlers), however, I can not imagine it would look very good! You would have to unthread (or un-staple or un pin or whatever method used) the cape and tear away the adhesive. Cut out the old rack and re-stitch and glue everything. I just can not imagine it would look good at all! I would go with a new mount!

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Matt are you talking about Brett? if so he is a friend of mine and I know how he tans and mounts his deer. it is possible to change the rack, it will take alittle time but it can be done, as for cost it would be around 1-2 hundred

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I'm sorry, but that just sounds silly. kinda like buying a thompson center encore. one gun you can mount several different barrels to. why not have two mounts? why not have several guns? do the antlers fit in keyhole style, screw in individually, or do they slide in like a dovetailed iron sight?

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Yeah Brett. I have one deer at another taxidermist and a striped bass at Brett's and don't want to get a new mount entirely. A new mount altogether would be too much money with the other mounts in progress. It may sound silly to you guys but to me it makes sense to upgrade this mount. I love the whitetail he did for me already and know he is talented. The original mount was done by Walton and I don't know his materials or procedures. In making the switch does the cape need to be peeled off to remove the skull plate or is it possible to cut off the existing horns and with epoxy and threaded fasteners screw on the new ones. Strength isn't a concern. I can handle it without carrying it by the antlers and the skull plate is already split.

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It is a simple thing to change racks on shoulder mounts. Provided the tan isn't too old the cape can be rehydrated and the swap made. I've done this several times over the years with both deer and elk. There is a point of no return however as most modern tans have a "shelf life". I always wet up a small test spot near the back of the mount to see if the tan is still good. If it's too old, the skin will easily tear like a wet paper towel making rehydration impossible. The other issue is the cracking around the eyes and nose. Is your mount hanging where the sun shines on it, or maybe above a fireplace or heat register? If it's only a seven year old mount, it shouldn't be cracking.

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It has been displayed out of the sun in normal conditions. You are right it shouldn't have any cracks. He's not in town anymore and I know people are looking for him.

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I see. Chances are it was improperly tanned or the skin not shaved thin enough. Maybe there's not enough hide paste in those areas....or none at all. It sounds like your new taxidermist will be able to easily do this if the tan isn't too old. To answer your last question; yes the cape will be rehydrated, the stiches taken out, and the cape peeled back to remove the whole skull plate. The new one goes in with new mache, clay and or bondo and resewn. Good luck to you.

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This is NOT as easy as you make it sound. There are other variables here... Yeah, you can hydrate the old cape and remove the stitching of the old job and yeah, you can take the skull plate off the old one and put the "new" one on but, what about the difference in the diamaters of the bases? I'm gonna assume that the "new" one has larger bases than the basket 8 right? If the cape was a tight fit to the bases in the original, the restitching may be a problem. As for the cracking, try to take a damp dish rag and let it sit on that area for a while until it becomes pliable. At that point, get some small pins and pin the areas tight(er). Why not just have a new mount done for the new rack? Just my .02... On another note, your "slogan" doesn't make sense if the other deer is a basket 8. smile

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Whaaaat? Really? I have never heard of this (and I am a former taxidermist). Basically if you are asking if you can swap out antlers, you will need a new mount, cape and all! It will cost you the price of a regular mount. In that case, you might as well have a new mount done so you have two. I suppose it could be done (changing out the antlers), however, I can not imagine it would look very good! You would have to unthread (or un-staple or un pin or whatever method used) the cape and tear away the adhesive. Cut out the old rack and re-stitch and glue everything. I just can not imagine it would look good at all! I would go with a new mount!

There are alot of analogies that prevail here; lot's of "projects" can be done as a do it your selfer. People rebuild engines, remodel houses, remodeled boats, ect........... Sure if you have the means or want a perfect mount take the time to check out everyone's work and buy the best, nothing wrong with that. I do know though for a fact that you can have a mount (or two) in which you can swap out antlers (which I have) and there ain't nothin wrong with that either.

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I do taxidermy. I too have a couple mounts which I dont really like for the "big ones" so I just use them to swap racks and put sheds in to get an idea of what they look like on-the-hoof. Its true, not that tough, just rehydrate, cut stitches, take out the mache and rack, put in the new rack and close it up.... basically. I had done a 160' in 1999 and never really liked it. (It wasnt the original cape anyway) but I got a new one and remounted it and put a smaller buck on the older mount. Its maybe not "perfect", but it was better than throwing away the mount!

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The only reason I've ever changed racks is when the client has a larger rack than the first. The bases are almost always greater in circumference. It's a simple matter of trimming a small width of the skin that goes around the bases to make the larger ones fit. It's the same procedure that's used when mounting with replacement capes. For any competent taxidermist this is as easy as it sounds. I strongly advise against rehydrating the cracked areas. When the skin drys, if it doesn't fall apart, it will amplify the crack, even with pins. Cracks are best repaired with an epoxy putty, textured and painted.

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I know the antlers will fit. Slightly larger bases and the skull plate is already split. I'm not concerned about the spread potentially changing. Definately some mixed opinions here but sounds possible. Any more cost estimates? As far as my 'slogan'... after taking 16 does over the years I filmed myself taking my first buck at 17 yrs old. Gotta start somewhere. Since then it's P&Y or still walking.

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