Advanced Taxidermy

Press

A Barn for a Whale

It's a trip that no other humpback whale has made before: 917 km from the rafters of a Caledon barn to an undisclosed location in Boston. But then, this is no ordinary whale. It took 1,600 lbs. of steel, 2,000 lbs. of expanding foam, 55 sheets of plywood, three weeks and 10 guys for the 52-foot long female humpback whale replica to come into being. It's the biggest animal the owners of Caledon's Advanced Taxidermy and Wildlife Design have ever tackled. "It was a lot of fun…for about the first three days," jokes Shawn Galea, who along with James McGregor has been operating the taxidermy and wildlife replica business for 21 years. "It was neat to stand on top of the whale and imagine it swimming in the water. It really is an amazing creature," he says.

It took 1,600 lbs. of steel, 2,000 lbs. of expanding foam, 55 sheets of plywood, three weeks and 10 guys for the 52-foot long female humpback whale replica to come into being. It's the biggest animal the owners of Caledon's Advanced Taxidermy and Wildlife Design have ever tackled./p> Galea and McGregor can't say who commissioned the mammal- they had to sign a confidentiality agreement with their client- though the Terra Cotta residents have done large projects before (they had a contract with a major retail chain) and have had high profile clients (including several NHLers, former premier Mike Harris and the family of current U.S. president George Bush). However this mammoth piece posed some particular challenges for the pair.

Due to the sheer size of the whale, they had to rent a barn for the project because their 10,000 sq. ft. studio on King Street just wasn't big enough. They also had to rely on miniature models of the whale to make sure it was anatomically correct. "We had trouble getting a perspective because the whale is just so big so there was no rook to stand back and assess. We had to stop our work and use hoists to shift the structure around so we could make sure we were getting it right," says Galea.

Starting with the miniature scale, they dissected the whale into sections creating stencils which they laminated to the walls of the barn. From there they used steel to follow the silhouette and create the outline of the mammal. They made plywood ribs and used shrink wrap to create the skin. Then, they sprayed expanding foam which they then carved back. Galea says carving the foam was the most labor-intensive step- taking the team about a week to complete. "It was slow, frustrating work. But we had a lot of fun. I guess that's what happens when you have a group of guys trapped in a barn together in Caledon," Galea says. "There were a lot of Jonah jokes," adds McGregor, laughing.

Alan Liczyk
Staff Reporter, Caledon Citizen

Advanced Taxidermy
© Advanced Taxidermy. All Rights Reserved.
1-888-691-1216
905-838-9964
416-614-7320
905-838-4123 - Fax
3630 King St,
Caledon, ON L7C 0R5, Canada
We Accept: Advanced Taxidermy Advanced Taxidermy Advanced Taxidermy