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Razza's mount thread wolf trap line.....
I always enjoyed the trap line threads... So when I got in a couple of the wolves from the trap thread I thought it would make for a good mount thread also. I'll do my best to give lots of details. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
This is were it starts. The hides are shipped to the studio. I will inspect the hides then ship to my tannery. It is very easy and affordable to ship the hides to the studio. In this box were 2 wolf and a lynx.
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While the hides are at the tannery I will be working the details out with my client about the pose and any restrictions on height, door sizes, ect...
Picture of the hides back from the tannery.
Those are going to be gorgeous mounts!
I rehydrate the skins and take measurements. This will give me a good idea of form sizes but a test fit is a must. The skin will tell you what size the form needs to be.
Now that I have my size and the forms are ordered I will start the hide prep. I will thin the hide paper thin around the eyes lips and nose. I will also go around the entire seam. The thinner the better! I will repair any holes and remove the ear cartilage.
I have no idea how the elk pic got there! lol This is the one that I wanted to post
here is the whisker area before I prep.
I have to get around each whisker. If you don't clean them you will never get a natural look and the whiskers will lay down when drying.
Removing the ear cartilage.
Ok, The hide prep is done and the ready to test fit.
This is when the real work starts! After test fitting the skin It wasn't close to fitting. The problem with wolves, there's not a lot of forms, poses, or sizes to chose from. I had a form similar in pose but didn't fit AT ALL! Let the alterations begin.
test fit. Legs way to long!
This is the form I started with... To big and didn't like the head. I also, After talking with my client wanted a more predator look and with the height it was going needed to be looking down into room.
I start by changing the leg length. You can see the 1.5" taken out of the front leg.
I mark the back legs and take out in 2 places.
I will attach the legs after shortening them. The next few pics are of blending and sculpting the legs.
Dennis and I spent probably 2 hours on the phone talking about the pose and position in the room for the wolves.
I sent him pics from the internet and he sent me several he found as well. Between these examples we came up with the general idea for the pair.
I sent him this view of the corner of the room and the top of the closet where the wolves will go so he can gauge the correct turn of the head to get the black wolf looking at you below him.
I cut the form and take girth out of the belly and shoulder area
You can't build something without a print!
Well, I guess I have in the past, but not this time.
I sent Dennis a sketch to make sure both wolves would fit where we intended them to go.
The strutting Merriam's is going to move. That will set off a chain reaction starting with the moose next. Flying turkey may also need slight re-positioning.
I keep telling my wife we have lots of room (prompts eye roll and head shaking)
But really, we do have.........
Putting the form back together.
Blended the seams and made body sizes to fit the skin.
Now I start to get the head position I want.
after I had the neck in the position I liked it was a little short so I added to it in length.
Mark, Thanks for posting the pics.
The next few pics will be reinforcing the areas I cut. Anytime you alter the legs you cut through the support. I run steel back through the cuts for support and also fiberglass rods in the cut areas.
That re-sculpting of the form gives exactly the posture I was hoping for........surly, aggressive, confident.........not sure how to describe it, but the top predator with his pack mates, and they know it.
When I had the head cut off I did all the detail work needed. The head was unbalanced with no detail. I marked a few basic areas to change.
This will allow all the hair patters to fall in place.
I also put a cast nose on for inner nostril detail.
I carve out where the ears will go. this will give me the freedom to move the ears freely for any ear position.
I will clay any areas needed and set the eyes.
after all the clay work is done.
paste him up and slide the hide on.
couple pics of sewing him up.
a few pictures of adjusting and grooming.
Ok, Here is what I have so far for the black wolf. I still need to remold and paint before I do the habitat.
I an going to go into the 2nd wolf now. I will leave out all the hide prep details as well as the form prep. I will focus on the open mouth and the custom welding.
Sorry of the elk and cougar picture... not sure how I posted them. trying to get this done before the steeler game!
Lets start with the 2nd form. It came with a welded support to bolt on the wall. I didn't like this because it will be shipped and I want the mount removable from the base.
I cut it off and welded a plaet male/female so it will be removable from the habitat.
This is how it will look now.
This will be a open mouth pose... so I cut open the mouth and start fitting the jawset.
They don't have any precast jawsets with the gum line in that I'mm aware of so you need to make your own for a wolf.
picture of the lower jaw after it is cut off.
I mix up and sculpt the inner mouth by hand before setting the jaw in place. I dye my epoxy to match the jawset to avoid overspray from painting.
This part makes a huge difference... I stain the teeth!
I will post the pictures for the rest of the mount without details as it was covered in the about wolf. Feel free to ask questions if I leave something out.
I will pt out in the picture that I reshaped the lower jaw a good bit. The original was way to fat and when they paint the chin area was not nearly that big.
here is the form ready to mount
Thanks for following! I will post the pictures when done and also a few steps to the habitat.
I did and will post a time lapse to this as soon as I get time to edit it.
Razza's Taxidermy Studio
I love these mount threads
That is museum quality art work. You are a very talented guy and you do amazing work. Thank you for sharing the very detailed process.
Thanks, this was a great thread! Lynx?
Awesome thread, awesome work as well, just beautiful. My only question is...WHERE IS YOUR STEELERS SHIRT!
Incredible work. Your truely an artist. Mark I can't wait to see them when they are mounted in your trophy room.
Thanks for taking the time! These are great threads and what outstanding work!
Thanks for the comments!
Lucas, I didn't mount the lynx yet but will post a pic when done.
Wow! That looks like a ton of work!
Nice work as usual. Thanks for posting. Now go kill your buck!
Thanks for taking the time to post this thread. You are truly a talented guy ! And now for the word I seldom use: AWESOME !
Awesome work Dennis as usual. Some animals you mount from the bottom up and sew the back and others like these wolves you do from top down and sew underneath. Does this have to do with type of animal (mainly longer fur to hide stitching) or is this just the way these were skinned? Do you prefer one way over another and does this depend on the animal?
Wow...so much work involved, you are very detail-oriented Dennis! And, it shows!
Best of Luck, Jeff
Fantastic work Dennis. You are truly an artist and master of your craft.
Tobywon, I like to mount dorsal or sew the back when possible. Most skins come in cut up the belly. I usually sew them up and cut the back before mounting. The wolf hide really let out (stretched). This made it hard to align this skin from the inside with no keys to go off. It was easy to read the hair pattern sewing on the belly from the outside so that's why I worked up the belly.
There are a few animals I don't cut down the back like cougar and most african.
I wish you would have done my full mount.
You do an AWESOME job!!!
Good thing u do better work than ur steelers.... lol..
welcome to the loser bracket with my eagles...
Ben, lol... yep...pretty ugly!
Great stuff! Not to derail your thread, Mark and Dennis . I took my Black bear to Dennis last year-2013 October. The goal was to have it finished by Aug of 2014. Dennis surprised us by having it done before May!
3 days AFTER dropping off the hide in early Oct of 2013, I had to leave work for 3 months, the bear was on the back burner.... The entire summer and winter was loss after after loss, emotionally and financially. Having to take a much lesser paying job......Dennis just kept saying "family comes first".
Well my wife and kids picked up the bear for Christmas. It's-IMHO, a fairly common mount but with uncommon details. Most bear mounts I Looked at online had a smile or looked like a human in a bear suit. Not at Razzas.
If you think he's talented as a Taxidermist, and he is, he is better as a man of character . Thanks Dennis!
Buddy... You are truly talented
great work Dennis, thanks for sharing !
I really enjoy these threads. Def shows so much extra work a true artist will put into a project to get it done correct! Such patience and talent Dennis has.
It's something to also see how wrong alot of these forms manufacturers are. At least they get it close to a starting point for a true artist to take over.
Looks great Dennis!
I will be dropping off the three capes and rack in about a week!
All I can say is AMAZING!!!!! I have never seen a wolf mount so life like.....
Unbelievable! Your talent to make them look alive is incredible. That is some first rate work of a real artist!
Boy I wish he was about 200 miles closer !!
Am125, when you consider what you probably spent on gear,time and effort to get an animal worth mounting, 200 miles should be the least of your issues,especially for quality work.
Dennis, truly awesome work. And a beautiful bear for brother Hajas!
Wow truly amazing. Great looking work!!
Fantastic work, you are an artist first, thanks for sharing.
200 miles closer???? If I had a wolf to be done I would be figuring out the details to get it to him and I am in Alberta. It is rare to see great work like this.
Dennis does lots of work from all over. All ya gotta do is skin and send it. So it really isn't expensive to ship.
Thanks again guys!
Dale is right. If I would have to guess I would say almost 50% of my work comes from out of the area or shipped. I would guess the box in the first pic with the 3 skins cost around $50 to ship.
Dennis, you bringing these mounts to the eastern sheep show? Would love to see them.
This is awesome!!
I had a wolf done in 2012 (one of the very first harvested in MN's modern wolf hunt) and it looks like a giant turd. In fact, I still haven't picked it up 3 years later, even though it is paid for, because it hurts just to look at it.
I wasn't on the Bowsite back then, but I sure wish I could turn back time and send it to you! It was a tough lesson learned, for sure.
Thanks for posting these, they are some of the best threads on here. I should forward it to the guy who did my wolf!
You do such fantastic work. Really impressive the attention to detail that you have for the subjects. That is a skill that I would love to have.
Incredible! looking forward to seeing the final product!!!
Good stuff for sure... Dennis is an artist!!!
Brett, I hope to have them done by the show but not 100% yet.
Absolutely fantastic Dennis!
Great work and a great thread as usual Dennis! I don't think most really understand what it takes to produce a quality mount when working with something other than your standard deer shoulder mount. It takes a big set when you start cutting up a $400 form like you have shown here. You can also see that it takes some engineering skills as well as being a sculptor, as well as a taxidermist that knows his animal anatomy. Well done sir!!!
Well done!!!! A real artists skill
Very fine attention to the smallest details. I cannot wait to see more. Bob.
Awesome taxidermy! They are looking alive!
Finished the wolves today. I will post up a time lapse after I edit it.
Wow, you are very talented Dennis, wolves look incredible!
Dennis, that is amazing work, you are an artist. Where are you located in Pennsylvania? Do you have a web site? I'd like to see your whitetail work. Do you do waterfowl?
"Brett, I hope to have them done by the show but not 100% yet."
Dennis , quit fooling around on the Internet and get them done! I'm kidding but I just booked a wolf hunt and would like to look at some options. See you next weekend.
Would love to look at your web site also.
Hit the Bowsite Sponsors tab and scroll down to Razza's Taxidermy to see his website! C
Those are badass !! Now I want a wolf mount.
What kind of blower are you using when you do the final grooming of the fur? Is it blowing warm air to dry the fur? I am guessing you are doing this while the hide is still wet and when the hide dries the fur will stay "puffed out" rather then brushed. How does a customer clean dust off it and keep the fur like that? You do EXCELLANT work!
Joshuaf, pm sent.
Chief, It's a cattle dryer for grooming show cattle. You can also use a shop vac on reverse. I like to clean and fluff mounts the same way. Just blow the dust off. I would do this outside and start from a good distance back and move closer working back and forth over the mount. The hair will set itself.
Do not use a tip that has a tight air stream or it will just draw lines in the hair. Needs to be an open tip.
Bummer to not see you at the sheep show Dennis. I really wanted to see the wolves in person. Feeling better?
Dennis sent me a pic of the completed lynx.
I plan to pull a trailer to PA tomorrow to bring the mounts home. Looking forward to seeing them in person.
Edit: Sorry about the large pic, I thought it would be a small pic coming from text message
Those are scary lifelike alive...
You are a gifted artist for sure.
Good luck, Robb
Please post a photo of the animals once they are up on the wall.....
Got back from PA a few hours ago.......Dennis got wolves, lynx, and habitat set up well in my trailer.......they never moved at all across 550 miles of rough I-70 and I-74 on the way back to IL.
Will definitely post a few pics. I have to wait for my sons to help me move a few things around this weekend, especially need help on the moose.
The wolf on the floor is massive! In the running pose he has to be more than 6' nose to tail. I will measure him on the floor tomorrow before I unload him.
He rode on the sleeping bag with a couple wood blocks placed underneath to keep him from moving around.
That's my coffee cup setting there on the pic above....not Dennis' :)
Great thread showing quality work. Thanks for taking us thru all the steps.
I saw those Wolves when I was at the shop in January. Impressive for sure! Enjoy! C
wow Man you are an artist Thats some mad skills!
My kids helped me hang the wolves and lynx Friday evening.
Still have a bit of work to do replacing crown moulding around the top of the closet.
I am very pleased with the finished product.
My 15 year old granddaughter was amazed at the size of the wolf laying on the floor while we set up the habitat.
The tape between them was extended to 74".
Razza and rock50--thank you both for a very enjoyable thread. Beautiful animals and beautiful work. Very nice room rock50
Fantastic! Well done guys!
BTW: Dennis will be at the P&Y Convention and will be at the Meet and Greet!
Dennis Razza's Link
One more note to add to this thread.......
I was texting back and forth with Dennis and told him I was pleased/surprised the running wolf fit so well.......the habitat was flush with the corner and the tail was 1" from the wall.
He said he figured it would be...he actually made a cardboard demo of the corner and checked the fit.
The man is very, very good.
Mark, Hope you are enjoying the mounts!
Here is a link to the trapline thread were the wolves were taken.
Incredible work Dennis!
Dennis, we are enjoying the mounts!
My teenage granddaughters enjoy them too........they lead their friends into the room, eyes closed, have them lie on the floor facing up and then open their eyes to see the wolf lunging at them.
Great fun, but then is usually doesn't take much to get a 15 year old girl to scream about something.
This is the thread for our trip............the one imbedded above is the year after ours.
I don't mind promoting Lloyd and Jack for such a great trip:)
Truly amazing Dennis. An art form at its best.
my best, Paul
Mark, Looking forward to the visit! I finally get to see the wolf's in their home!!!
I'm glad it's working out for you to head our way. The wolves definitely are our favorites here.
Bring the bow and at least one arrow............still a few good bucks being seen here :)
Dang... If I ever shoot anything big enough to think about mounting, I may be going for a drive!
what stain did you use on the teeth?