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Transit Box System for Small Taxidermy Mounts

Purpose

This system provides a safe means of transport for small taxidermy mounts. Although it was developed for a teaching collection, the system also provides protection when the specimens are stored or moved within the museum.

Author(s)

Tamsen Fuller
325 S.E. Alexander Ave.
Corvallis, OR 97333
Tel (504) 752-1475

Illustrations:
Figures 1, 7, 8, & 9:
Tamsen Fuller
Figures 2, 5, & 6: Karen Ackoff
after Tamsen Fuller
Figures 3 & 4: Karen Ackoff

Publication: 1992

 

Description

The main features include an outer box with a fold-down top and a front flap that allow access to the specimen from the top and the front (Figs. 1,2).


Figure 1. left, Box with fold-down top and front. 
               right, Specimen secured on two-part insert.

The base of the taxidermy mount is secured to a rigid sliding platform. The platform is used to move the mount in and out of the box, thus avoiding direct handling. Padded rigid foam blocks are positioned around the specimen to prevent movement and provide support (Fig. 1).


Figure 2. Box constructed of corrugated/fluted polypropylene
               sheeting with pull-out support.

 

Materials Tools Supplies

  • Acrylic rod, 3mm diameter
  • Cotton twill tape
  • Epoxy adhesive
  • Fluted/corrugated polypropylene board white or clear (at least 5mm thick) or pH neutral double-wall paperboard
  • Glue gun and hot-melt adhesive
  • Hacksaw
  • Metal spatula
  • Nylon hook and loop material
  • Polyethylene foam plank
  • Polyethylene foam sheeting, irradiation crosslinked
  • Polyethylene, high density spunbonded pressure sensitive tape
  • Rheostat
  • Soldering iron
  • Utility knife

 

 

Construction

Box

  1. Measure the length, height and width of the specimen; add 2-3in to these dimensions.
  2. Cut the fluted/corrugated poly-propylene board to these dimensions to form the sides and the back of the box (Fig. 3).


    Figure 3. Pattern for sides and back of box.

  3. Cut the fold-down top and front flap from a single piece of sheeting, so that it has a full bottom, back and top, and a shorter front flap. Cut the sheeting so that scoring to form the bends can follow the direction of the flutes (Fig. 4).


    Figure 4. Pattern for section that forms bottom, folddown top and front, and flap.

  4. Score the board on the outside, following the direction of the flutes, to form the bottom, front and top of the box.
  5. Fasten the sides and back to the bottom of the box with spunbonded high density polyethylene tape (Fig. 5).



    Figure 5. Side view of box showing attachment of bottom to sides.
  6. Reinforce corners with blocks of polyethylene foam plank (see Fig. 6).


    Figure 6. Detail of reinforced corner. Block is adhered into
                   corner with epoxy adhesive.

  7. Make fasteners for the box with cotton twill tape or hook and loop material tabs. Hook and loop fasteners may be attached to the box using hot melt glue.


Specimen platform

The specimen platform is made in two sections (Fig. 7).


Figure 7. Two-part insert forming platform.

  1. Cut the bottom section to fit snugly inside the box.
  2. Cut the upper section to the same width as the bottom section, but with a front-to-back measurement approximately 2in shorter.
  3. With epoxy, adhere the foam blocks to the opposite ends of the two sections to hold the base firmly in place.


Securing the specimen to the platform

  1. Secure the mount to the upper section of the platform by tying the base down with cotton twill tape (Fig. 8). Cut slots in the panel to allow the tape to pass under the platform, and to be tied over the base.


    Figure 8. Specimen base secured to top section of two part insert with cotton twill tape.

  2. Place the upper platform section over the bottom.
  3. Further immobilize the specimen with columnar supports of polyethylene foam blocks (Fig. 9). Build the columns by stacking and attaching blocks of foam to each other with acrylic rods, hot melt adhesive, or by heating and softening the surface of the foam with a hot air gun. Begin the columns away from the mount and build toward the specimen until contact is achieved. Strengthen the columns by tying them with cotton twill tape.


    Figure 9. Construction of foam block support system.

  4. Cover the surfaces that touch the specimen with a layer of soft crosslinked polyethylene foam.
  5. To further secure the specimen, make removeable blocks of polyethylene foam covered with crosslinked polyethylene foam, and insert around specimen.
  6. Restrain the specimen from up and down movement with a strap of cotton twill tape or 1/4in thick (or thinner) crosslinked polyethylene foam sheeting. Hold the strap in place by heat bonding, or by pegging it into the foam blocks with pieces of acrylic rod.


Comments

The fluted polypropylene board may be strengthened by using two pieces running perpendicular to each other.

If pH neutral cardboard is used instead of polypropylene for the box exterior, spunbonded, high density polyethylene tape may be used to construct the box. If the tape is used on joints, both inside and out, polyethylene foam plank interior reinforcements may not be needed. Double-wall pH neutral cardboard can be used to provide extra sturdiness.

Hot melt glue should be used well away from the specimen to avoid getting these threads on the specimen.

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