Shaving Hides

Submitted by Adam Hiller on 5/22/99. ( )

Can someone please tell me what excactly shaving is and what tools are needed to shave a hide?
Thank you
Adam Hiller

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Shaving a hide

This response submitted by George Roof on 5/22/99. ( georoof@aol.com )

Adam,
Shaving a hide is the last process done before tanning a hide. After the hide is fleshed and salted, it is rehydrated which puffs the hide up. Then using a machine with a circular blade that resembles a farmer's disk with only one side sharpened, the hide is pulled across to shave of slivers of this puffed hide. This process insures that the hide is of uniform thickness from the antler burrs to the brisket and all points in between. When tanned, the shaved hide shows every nook and cranny of the manniken.
IF you decide to go there, think long about it. They make your mounts look 100% better, but buyer beware. The "cheaper" ones are called fleshing machines and can be bought form $600 to about $900 depending on the accessories you want with it. The better models are called fur dressers and they are able to work on chipmunk hides if you so desire. The starting price on these machines start at $1200.
I've bought 3 of the cheaper units before I finally got smart and bought a fur dresser. If you intend to stay in for the long haul, invest wisely.


Every nook and cranny?????

This response submitted by curious on 5/22/99. ( )

Don't ya think every nook and cranny is going a bit far in
taxidermy. I have seen alot of deer over the years and never seen
one that looked muscle bound in the wild. In my opinion some
of these deer today do not look like a real deer. There is a
point when these new mannikins have too much detail and shaving
the hide too thin only adds to that UNNATURAL look (I think).
I'm not trying to insult anyone here just stating my opinion
that these (some) new mounts do not represent what a real (live)
deer looks like. Hope this didn't ruffle any feathers so to speak
but I know from talking to others The opinion I expressed is not
a solitary opinion.


Fur Dresser

This response submitted by Janie on 5/22/99. ( )

George I have a fleshing machine that I would not be with out. Tell me
about this fur dresser machine is it alot better than your regular fleshing machine?


Fur Dresser

This response submitted by George Roof on 5/22/99. ( georoof@aol.com )

Curious,
I do have to agree with you to some degree, but sadly, the industry is moving much like the decoy carving has. We tend to emphasize what nature only hints at. Conversely, if you ever have the pleasure of seeing an Alabama deer on opening day, you will see that you are not completely correct. They are basically hairless and every vein and muscle shows distinctly. When I put my northern tier animals on one of these mannikens, very little shows, regardless of how thin I shaved the hide.

Janie,
The machine I now have is the Fur Dressing Machine model from Raw Hide Fleshing Machine Company in MacCungie, PA (610-398-1948). The head alone starts about $1250 and a motor and stand are extra. I have shaved a hide and then took the shavings and shaved them until I could read a paper through them. (This makes a super repair on torn ears with a little 90 second epoxy.) I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it every day. I have fleshed otters, weasels, and even a flying squirrel on it.


Torn Ears

This response submitted by Janie on 5/22/99. ( )

George tell me more about the super repair on torn ears I hate sewing
and especially the ears Appreciate it. How does it work for fleshing
lips. nostrils and around the eyes?


Torn Ears

This response submitted by George Roof on 5/23/99. ( georoof@aol.com )

Janie,
The dresser works great around lips, eyelids, and earbutts. I've used it, but I still prefer to do it by hand to keep from shaving whiskers off. Once you get the hang of it, its a breeze. My machine can be set so that it only removes an onion skin layer if I want it to.
Now to the ears. I developed this trick because I hate sewing ears too. I posted it in the Delaware Taxidermist Newsletter and McKenzie followed it up by putting it in theirs. Remember, this is for simple tears, and can be used when complete chunks are missing.
I invert the ear over an earliner, and push the tear into place. I take one of my hide shavings and spread it out nearby and cut a piece that will roughly cover the tear. Then run a bead of 90 second epoxy around the tear (You can use superglue just as easily, but it tends to dry stiff and brittle versus the flexibility of the epoxy). Lay your patch over the tear and press down until bonded. Take some sand paper and taper the edges that you can't cut off with the scissors. When a chunk of ear is missing, do the same thing. Then turn the ear right side out and stretch over an opposing earliner so the tear in on the convex side of the liner. Paint the exposed shaved skin with glue and press a cotton ball down over it, let dry completely. When dry, pull the cotton ball off, and the fake "hairs" will hide your repair.
I've used this method for three years and haven't sewn an ear since. Some tattered ears take longer, but it's still faster than my sewing them. Also, when I insert the earliner permanently, the epoxy then seals the repair from the back side. I'm not sure the bondo method would get the same results.


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