Texas Nilgai - Sand Stuffed Taxidermy Table

This is a DIY article meant to inspire the hunter and the taxidermist to be creative.  The method used during this process is an age old technique that my grandfather and his predecessors would have used.  I used a combination of sand stuffed taxidermy along with modern methods and materials.

Nilgai Table

1. This first step of the process was for Evan Pritchard to bag a Nilgai trophy.

Nilgai tanned & skinned leg

2. Next the legs were skinned and tanned.  The skins were tanned so that when the leather dried they would retain their shape.  This is a different process than soft leather tanning.

Sew Nilgai Leg

3. Holes and the skinning incision were stitched. 



Sand stuffed Nilgai

4. With the leather still wet from the tan I stuffed them with dry sand and hung them up to dry for a week.  This was during the summer in Texas so a week was plenty.


Cut legs Square

5. Once the leather dried I cut the legs square.

Legs retain shape

6. I then shook all the sand out of the legs.  You can see the legs retain their shape because of the way they were tanned.

Cut all thread and pour bondo

7. All thread was cut to length and placed in the legs. 

Bond & Fiberglass resin

8. Bondo was poured into the legs, once hardened the bondo created an indestructible bond between the all thread and leg.  Polyurethane could have been used but it is not as strong or rigid as bondo.

Austin Taxidermy - Nut Placement

9. I marked the placing of the legs on the table with painters tape.  I outlined the placement of the legs (brings a new meaning to a table leg) with painters tape. I then used a router to cut a hexagon cavity for the nut.

Austin Taxidermy - Steel plate and nut

10. I attached a custom made plate to the all thread and secured nut with thread locker.  I cut off any remaining all thread so that it was flush with top of nut.  

Attach legs

11. Place four legs on table and attach with screws.

Level Table

12. Make sure table is level (since the ring does not roll off it is level).  Last minute adjustments were made by grinding various parts of the hooves.

Airbrush and clear coat steel plate

13. Airbrushed metal plates and clear coated to prevent rust.

Mod Podge applied to hooves

14. Mod Podge was placed on the hooves to protect and to create a “rubbery” grip so the tables will not slide on slick floors.

Finished underside

15. Remove all tape

Finished Table

16. Finished Table!