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How To Install Wood Duck Eye Rings

Bird expert Joe Ferebee is often asked about the easiest way to use the ER1 and ER2 Wood Duck eye rings. This article details the method to use for the ER1's that is easy and makes for a very realistic mount. The duck is mounted in the usual manner up to the point where you attach the head to the body.

Begin by drilling through the duck head at the appropriate angle for the pose. Before attaching the head, mix up some Black Apoxie-Sculpt.

The eye #123 or #124 10mm is set into the eye socket on the head with the Apoxie-Sculpt. The ER1's are then placed over the eye and pressed onto the black putty.

The Apoxie-Sculpt is then modeled up the edge of the part of the eye ring that will be exposed, and then feathered out into the head.

At this point take a tapered wooden dowel and insert it into the eye socket of the skin. This allows me to neatly trim off the eye ring with an Exacto #11 knife.

Next, attach the head by hot gluing it onto the neck and neck wire.

With a knife, cut some relief cuts into the back of the neck to assure that the neck will not separate from the head when you later bend the neck into position. The neck skin is pulled over the head and laid in position on the head.

Starting at the lower V-notch, glue the skin to the head with Zap-A-Gap applied with a needle tool. It's important to apply the glue with a needle tool so as not to make a mess.

The skin is pulled into place with a pair of tweezers. Do the upper V-notch in the same manner. Carefully align the skin properly on the head. The sides of the head are glued in the same way. Once the head skin is glued to the head, I can tuck the eye skin around the eye ring.

Using the same needle tool with which you glued the head skin, the lower lid is actually tucked into the black Apoxie-Sculpt while the upper lid is just brought up to the edge of the eye ring. The Apoxie-Sculpt will hold the eye in the socket, the eye ring to the eye, and the skin to the eye ring. When positioning the skin to the eye ring, any excess putty can be tooled away with the needle tool. It is critical that the Apoxie-Sculpt be mixed just before attaching the head so that it will still be tacky enough to hold the skin to the eye ring. Also, the real eye ring should not be trimmed off too early, as this tend to dry out the skin too quickly.

To finish the eye when it is dry, all that is needed is to darken the nictitating membrane with black paint on a small brush, and then clean the eye with a glass cleaner.

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