just starting out in taxidermy

Submitted by Barry Smith on 2/8/02. ( klorrae@yellowbananas.com )

I am a beginner in the taxidermy field and was wondering what tool I should use to flesh my capes. I do not want to buy a fleshing wheel at the moment because I want to see if I enjoy mounting animals first. Any suggestions on what tool and where i can purchase is greatly appreciated. Thank You

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This response submitted by b bishop on 2/8/02. ( bishops@newnorth.net )

you should just send your first one out to a tannery or if you dont have a cape you can purchase one and some horns. When I started I tanned my capes and dried them out hard, and then thinned the whole thing down with a 1/2 inch drum sander and a dremmel tool, talk about desprate! I did 2 this way and they turned out great but took all damn day to do.Have fun. Brad

When I got started

This response submitted by Tony on 2/8/02. ( birdman41301@yahoo.com )

Someone told me to use a bench grinder, the guy who told me is my mentor, Steve, he has been using one for 23yrs! he told me, he would get a pro. fleshing machine whenthey sharpen thierselfs, and when they make one that wont cut your fingers off! He can do a cape in about 35 min! I am a beginner myself, I have completed a bobcat, and a fox. It takes some practice, woks better for me after it has been salted for a while, what the heck, you might like it! Hope this helps. use a rough stone, and keep your mouth closed! hehehe


This response submitted by George on 2/8/02. ( georoof@aol.com )

And I thought the "Pressure washer" was the dumbest thing I'd heard. Tony, please keep your mentor's name a secret. If a fleshing machine is awaiting an ambush to cleave his finger off, I don't think I want to drive on the same road as he takes.

I'm telling ya

This response submitted by Tony on 2/8/02. ( listed above )

he uses a bench grinder a lot and it works well. All it takes is one little slip and you will be fleshing your fingers! anyway I thought I would try to help. You can try it, what do you have to lose? I wouldn't never turn his name loose on here, I have a lot of respect for this man! He is actualy a world class Taxidermist!

Tony, You're right

This response submitted by George on 2/9/02. ( )

A lot of us use "unconventional" means of achieving the same result. Bing scared of the fleshing machine is, however, no more valid that being afraid of the grinder. Any moving machinery can "get" you, but safe procedures are learned, not inherent. I actually cut my thumb off while useing a scalpel a few years back. The only thing holding the thumb in place was the bottom cartilage on the thumb joint and the skin below it. Sixty four stitches later and a month in rehab I was blessed to retain feeling and motion in the hand. Now, evertime I pick up a scalpel, I think about that scar. Cavemen died from sharp stick punctures. Everything we use has it's own dangers and it's our responsibility to recognize them and respect them.


This response submitted by Steve on 2/9/02. ( gossard@gtelco.net )

I have told many people about the grinder i use as a fleshing machine. many of you offer up stupid remarks about how idiotic a notion it is to use it. I have use the same grinder to thin, flesh, and shave hundreds and hundreds of skins from Rabbit to buffallo. I have never needed to sharpen a blade, or change a blade, and if I did finally need a new stone, the sell them for about $9.00 at the hardware store. I also have a wire wheel on the other side for fleshing many fatty skins and big bird skins. I have heard about the 30 min fleshing job with the fleshing machines. I also can flesh a whole fresh deer cape from top to bottom, including the ears, lips, eye lids, and nose septum. I usually don't even need to turn the eyes or lips as i can do it with the grinder. I have only offered up the Idea for those beginners that may have a hard time coming up with 500 dollars to buy a fleshing machine. Everyone can judge for themselves what they like. There is more than one way to do most things. Yeh, more than just the right way and wrong way.

I am a Machinist by Trade,

This response submitted by Tony on 2/9/02. ( . )


what grade stone do you use, steve?

This response submitted by steve in geneva on 2/10/02. ( )

i am always interested in "keeping it simple". i might try this grinding style fleshing. how do you keep the membrane from building up on the stone? also, seems like this method would cause a heat buildup in the hide.

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