Support System No. 2 for Small Taxidermy Mounts with Extended Leg Wires
This support system provides a secure and reversible method for storing small mammal or bird taxidermy specimens that have been removed from their original bases. This method describes alternatives for securing the leg wires without rebending the wires whenever the mount is moved to a new base.
325 S.E. Alexander Ave.
Corvallis, OR 97333 USA
Tel (504) 752-1475
Illustrations: Tamsen Fuller
The system consists of a hollow base made from polyethylene foam plank in the shape of an open box turned upside down (Fig. 1). The leg wires are positioned inside the foam box through holes drilled in the base. The wires may be secured by a variety of reversible, mechanical methods.
Materials Tools Supplies
- Acrylic rod 3/8in to 1/2in diameter
- Electric drill and small bit
- Glue gun and hot melt adhesive
- Heat gun
- Polyethylene foam plank, 2in thick
- Polyethylene rod 3/8 – 3/4in diameter
- Polyethylene tubing, 3/16in inside diameter
- Polypropylene rod 3/8 – 3/4in diameter
- Tap and die set
- Cut a rectangular piece of foam with outside dimensions that are large enough to protect all the protruding parts of the specimen.
- Cut corresponding pieces of foam to form the sides of the base. The hollow base must be of sufficient depth so that the end of the leg wires do not extend beyond the bottom of the base. In some cases the two longer sides of the base may be sufficient to support the specimen.
- Attach the side pieces of foam to the base using a hot-melt adhesive and glue gun (Fig. 1).
Figure 1. Taxidermy mount on hollow base.
Securing the leg wires using polyethylene flexible tubing sleeves
The leg wires are inserted into pieces of polyethylene tubing that have been positioned in drilled holes in the base (Fig. 2).
Figure 2. Construction of base.
In this method the kinked leg wires exert enough pressure inside the tubing to securely support the specimen (Fig. 3).
Figure 3. top, Taxidermy mount showing leg wires.
bottom, Leg wires inserted into polyethylene
flexible tubing secured in base.
Using polyethylene or polypropylene rod and polypropylene nut
The leg wires are inserted into rigid rods positioned in the hollow base. The rod is held securely inside the foam with a nut and the stability of the system as a whole depends on the snug fit of the leg wires inside the drilled-out rod (Fig. 4). It is a successful method for light weight specimens.
Figure 4. System securing legs with rigid rod and nut.
- Cut a section of 3/8 – 3/4in diameter polyethylene or polypropylene rod. The rod should be slightly
shorter than the length of the wire that will be protruding underneath the base.
- Drill a hole lengthwise through the center of the rod, so that the leg wire can be inserted.
- Thread the exterior of the rod with a tap and die.
- To make a nut to thread over the threaded rod section, cut a 1/2in section of 1-11/2in diameter polyethylene or polypropylene rod.
- Drill out the center of the disc so that it may be threaded to the diameter of the rod.
- Insert the leg wires into the threaded rod and screw the nut over the threaded rod section.
- Screw the disc until it makes contact with the bottom of the base.
Rod and set screw
The leg wires are held in the base inside a rod with a set screw (Fig. 5).
Figure 5. Securing leg wires with set screws.
- Cut a section of 3/8 – 1/2in diameter acrylic or polypropylene rod. The rod should be slightly shorter than the length of the wire that will be protruding underneath the base.
- Drill a hole through the center of the rod along the length, so that the leg wire can be inserted.
- Drill holes in the foam base for the leg wires and insert the specimen. The holes may be larger than the diameter of the wires because of the kinked nature of leg wires.
- Drill a hole into one side of the acrylic rod perpendicular to its length and then use a tap and die to thread it. The hole should be at least 2in from the inside of the base if the set screw will be tightened by hand. With small mounts it is not possible to use an ordinary straight screwdriver in the confines of the base.
- Make a set screw for the threaded hole in the rod. Synthetic polymer materials of the small diameter required have not been found successful in making the set screw with a tap and die. Metals, such as brass and mild steel, have been successfully used for this purpose. The set screw should be long enough to be turned by hand, or it may be cut flush with the rod surface and slotted for a screwdriver.
- Insert the leg wire into the drilled-out rod and tighten the set screw against the leg wire.