Stuffed Soul (doc_moreau) wrote in fursuit,
Stuffed Soul

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Bondo-Shell Hooves

kittycanuck wanted to see the hooves i made a couple of years ago, and i've been asked a few times in the past as well... so i figured i'd write a little bit here "for the record" in case anyone else is able and willing to endure my hoof show & tell.

So, i began with a pair of smoothwalker horseshoes as a base, and built my frame from there.

I attached the band-iron plate on which my shoes would rest with a hinge to the base... this allows for a little bit of flexibility... i don't know if it's necessary, but it seemed like a good idea. And it was the only way i could do it with the limited tools i have. :)
There is a piece of tire rubber under each hinge, resting ontop of the wooden block at the back of the shoe (this block is basically where ALL your weight will rest, so i wanted it to be a little insulated.)

Anyhow, so after i put that together i used an old pair of shoes as a mold and wrapped aluminum foil around the toe of it, so that i'd have something to put the bondo on other than my shoe. You could use cardboard, metal, plastic, whatever. Though if it's something smooth the bondo will be less likely to grab on. (But that doesn't really matter too much either.)
And after applying the bondo, they looked like this:

I'd recommend using the bondo that comes with fibreglass in it, but i didn't have that at the time. Remember to have some ventilation. x..x

So, a rough hoof shape is formed... it doesn't have to look good yet, this is just to make it strong.

After the bondo had cured i sanded down whatever lumps seemed to look like they would stick out of the hoof once i added the finish layer, and brought them upstairs to apply a layer of celluclay.
Celluclay is what i had... and it's something i was comfortable using, but there are probably much better materials to use on the outer layer. Sculpy, for instance... or a lot of other clay type things.
Celluclay isn't too bad, it's nice and hard while being reasonably light... but it can't get wet.

And here we have one smoothed and looking not-so-bad!

Technically, i never finished these hooves... the celluclay is still bare. But... whatever you use to make the outer layer, you can always paint it. In this case, i should have at least coated it with some kind of waterproof sealer.

So... the hoof is done, but you still have to attach your foot to be able to use it... There are many ways to do this, i simply bolted and duct-taped an old pair of boots onto the iron plate and used some long-pile fur to cover the pastern and make it look like it wasn't hollow.
I remember i was adding this fur and finishing the hooves the very hour before i left for anthrocon. It doesn't pay to procrastinate! (except i had lots of time before that to do other things... yeah.)

This is what they look like in use. ...certainly could be better, but they worked reasonably well. Nice and cloppy!
Though next to Wgg there i look like a bit of a pansy. :) I totally wish i'd not been lazy and made some kind of covering to hide my neck. Oh well...

These hooves are pretty heavy, as you might expect... It's nothing that will make them tiring to wear (but don't worry, the angle your ankle will be held at will take care of that! whew!) but you definitely have to adjust to the momentum your foot has when you swing it around. I'm sure kicking someone with these wouldn't be a very kind thing to do.
And as for comfort... forget about it. But hoof boots tend to make a sacrifice out of comfort in most cases i think... Humans just aren't meant to walk with heels held aloft for long periods of time.

EDIT: I took some new pictures of the hooves by themselves, since i didn't have any:

There's a cd there for size reference too.

There are supposed to be some leather pieces that cover the ducttape, but they're buried in my box of miscellaneous costuming stuff somewhere. ...but you could fur it or whatever too, that shouldn't be hard. A much better job could be done with that than mine. :P

As you can see there's just a hole and an unfinished area where the frog is supposed to be... My idea for that is pretty much the same as what mwbard said below (aside from i hadn't considered what materials to use.) The frog would actually be below the top plane of the shoe, but it wouldn't really be noticeably outstanding. I figured since only the most unfortunate people i came across would be seeing the hooves from below i'd leave that part for later, since i ran out of time. heh.
Also, the 8 screws can be unscrewed and the shoe removed... however, it will look pretty rediculous without the shoes, because they were the platform on which the hooves were constructed. But this is something that could be improved on as well. (such as making a finished bottom so that one could take the rubber shoes off and exchange them for metal ones if they wished.)

Anyway, if anyone found that interesting...

Tags: hooves
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