I wanted to take an opportunity to show some work from a two day training class with Paul last weekend. A friend did one day of the class as he is more advanced than I am. I guess you could say I am considered an intermediate level. Paul did all of the work on these two birds as we observed his method. The only exception being, painting the teals feet and final grooming on the bufflehead and painting the feet, only because of time constraints.
Paul is an excellent teacher and has GREAT knowledge of waterfowl taxidermy! He shared every bit of that knowledge the entire two days and I am sure he went way above and beyond what he had to. Thank goodness I took so many notes and videos because there would be no way I could have remembered everything I learned!
Even though I am probably intermediate level, I now have a very advanced knowledge and confidence of completing a very pleasing mount. It will take a LOT of practice to get to Paul's level of work but at least now I have the knowledge and techniques to get there with time.
I have studied and read a lot of instruction and watched many videos on duck taxidermy, and one constant thing that I always hear is that you have to replicate what you take out. Make your manikin exactly the same as the carcass, (length, circumference, shoulder to hip, etc.), and while that is true, Paul goes way beyond that in a way that totally blew my mind! He shared and explained every detail of his technique to customize the manikin to the skin and sometimes repeated it twice so that I could video it!
Beyond the custom manikin fitting techniques, the way he builds and sets the neck and then custom fits it to the pose desired is outstanding! After this comes head attachment and eye setting. I learned some valuable tips here especially eye pinning (which I struggle with to make look good). I also learned that I don't groom NEARLY enough! When the bird is all put together the grooming starts and is very important to a great looking finished product. But that's not all! If the skin is not COMPLETELY clean and degreased, all the grooming in the world will not produce a nice mount. Paul shows in detail how to properly flesh and degrease the skin to get it very clean to produce a nice mount. He has a unique way of degreasing/cleaning that will surely bump my skills up!
I just wanted to pass this along in case anyone is looking for instruction and desires to take their skills to another level. I very highly recommend contacting Paul if that is your goal. Paul is very easy to get along with and personable and wants to be sure that you understand everything and answer any questions. Thanks Again Paul, you went way above and beyond what I ever expected and what I learned took years of trial and error off my process!