Into the Wild

Stony­man Metal Mad­ness re­lies on past taxi­dermy ex­pe­ri­ence to cre­ate an­i­mal struc­tures from scrap metal.

Cabin Living - - Contents - CBC

Stony­man Metal Mad­ness re­lies on past taxi­dermy ex­pe­ri­ence to cre­ate an­i­mal struc­tures from scrap metal.

An­i­mal wall mounts are com­mon­place cabin decor. But an­i­mal yard art is likely a lit­tle more out­side the box. Whether a coastal crab or a tow­er­ing bear, you can ac­cen­tu­ate your ex­te­rior with the­matic sculp­tures suited to your site. We asked Kevin Moyer of Vir­ginia-based Stony­man Metal Mad­ness what goes into craft­ing th­ese var­i­ous sculp­tures.

Coun­try’s Best Cab­ins: How did you get started in metal sculp­ture cre­ation?

Kevin Moyer: I used to do taxi­dermy. And we got out of that. And my son [Josh] started a weld­ing shop, and, of course, he had metal lay­ing ev­ery­where. We had seen a few other things around, and that’s kind of what got us started.

CBC: How does the art of taxi­dermy trans­late into what you do now?

KM: Just the an­i­mal as­pect of it. All the sculp­tures we’ve made have been an­i­mals, and we’ve just used that. Deal­ing with an­i­mals for so many years — mount­ing them, the real thing — it was just easy to go back into mak­ing them out of metal.

CBC: To cre­ate th­ese dif­fer­ent struc­tures, do you cre­ate a wire frame and then at­tach var­i­ous metal scraps around it? Or how do th­ese sculp­tures come to­gether?

KM: Most of them are done that way. We don’t pull any mea­sure­ments. It’s all by feel — zero mea­sure­ments taken.

CBC: Where do you source most of the scrap metal used in th­ese struc­tures?

KM: Farm equip­ment.

KM: We try to use lighter met­als on the big­ger stuff to where they’re not too hard to han­dle. Most of it’s all steel, but we just use lighter gauge steels.

Once in a while, we’ll have to put a stake in the ground — for some of the birds — just to make them steady so that some­thing wouldn’t blow them over. But they’ll all stand on their own. We just may use a stake down inside for safety is­sues. But other than that, you can’t see how they’re fas­tened.

KM: It’s based off of what peo­ple want. Some peo­ple want the rusted ef­fect, and some peo­ple want paint. So we do them which­ever way somebody wants.

KM: The paint we use is usu­ally any­thing free. We get a hold of peo­ple that are chang­ing over their prod­ucts in their store, and they’ve just got a whole va­ri­ety of stuff that they’re go­ing to trash. So we try to re­cy­cle it and keep it from be­ing wasted.

CBC: What types of met­als do you use? How does weight fac­tor into the bal­ance and sta­bil­ity of the sculp­ture?

CBC: How do you fin­ish th­ese dif­fer­ent struc­tures?

CBC: What type of paint do you use to cre­ate it?

CBC: How long does it gen­er­ally take you to craft each sculp­ture?

KM: That big ones prob­a­bly have over 100 hours in them. But the av­er­age sculp­ture is prob­a­bly in the 50- to 60hour range.

CBC: How much do your sculp­tures cost?

KM: The great big ones are $15,000. If you do a sin­gle one, you’re look­ing at $ 7,000 to $ 8,000 for a sin­gle an­i­mal.

CBC: Are you re­gion­ally based in the Vir­ginia area, or do you ship all over?

KM: We’ll ship wher­ever. We haven’t had any­body come from ways away yet, but we’ll ship wher­ever they want them shipped to. That’s not an is­sue.

ABOVE: A large deer stands guard out­side this cabin — hope­fully to keep real deer from eat­ing the plants.

RIGHT: All bird sculp­tures can stand on their own, but some may re­quire ad­di­tional sup­ports, such as stakes, to keep them from blow­ing over. OP­PO­SITE: A crab, painted an ap­pro­pri­ate shade of blue, con­ceals the wire frame be­neath with lay­ers of light- gauge steel.

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