Repairs to the cracks have now been wrapped up on the Female and juvenile Bison mounts. The cracks have been bridged with spun-bond polyester fabric, glued to each side of the crack with BEVA gel adhesive. Now my biggest fear has been allayed that the hide will literally crack and fall off the manikin.
So now that the mounts are stabilized, we have to make the repaired cracks disappear. To do so, I will collect fur to glue over the cracks. While I was vacuuming the mounts, I collected any loose fur and put it into labeled, plastic bags. Also, historic repairs sometimes have fur glued to them.
Historic repair with fur glued to it.
Whenever I removed any old repairs, I collected what fur I could find, but the biggest cache of useable fur is on the non-show side of the mount. I use a scalpel to harvest fur from this side and I can usually match the exact kind of fur needed.
Once we have the right kind of fur, it is best to adhere the hairs to fabric and glue the fabric to the crack rather than just gluing on random hair. We have been using two different techniques. One is “felting” the fur into a piece of spun-bond polyester. I bought special felting needles that grab the fur as it is being pushed it into fabric. When the needle is withdrawn, the fur stays in the fabric. After a piece of the fabric is felted, it can then be adhered to the repaired crack. We use Lascaux 498 HV adhesive. This process is reversible if need be.
Collin gluing fur into a crack
The second technique is to glue the fur by laying it down directly onto spun-bond polyester fabric. We discovered that some fur being replaced lays flat and, in this case, the second technique works better than felting because felted fur stands more upright.
Gluing fur to crack
I estimate that Collin and I will be felting and furring for the next three weeks. When that concludes, we will start to recolor the mounts. I have to work on the eyes and the muzzles, so stay tuned for a blog or two on that.