I have a 6-3/4"x17" midwest WT cape and my Mannikin is 6-3/4"x16-1/2" and when trying to mount this weekend the cape was way to small, I streched the cape but the eye to nose was so tight that it didn't even touch the mannikin so do I get a smaller mannikin or do I get a bigger cape? Please help! Thanks Bill
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How was the cape prepared? Tanned(comercially or liquatan), DP? Was it pickled and shaved? Was it partcially dry or wet? Is the incision a full dorsal or short Y cut?
Cape was comercially tanned, it was rehydrated and frozen with a full dorsal cut. The mannikin seems long in the snout, is this the difference in midwest verse eastcoast deer?
I'm probably alone in this, but "deer is deer". I get the big Canadians and notice a shorter snout sometimes to match the massive necks, but I've done them from Kansas, Alabama, Florida, S.C, NY, WV, and PA. An eye/nose and neck measurment is the end of the story. Whether it's rutted, pre-rut, or post rut is the only variable.
Since it was commercially tanned, I have the feeling that the rehydration might be your problem. Put a cap full of Downey in a bucket of 120 degree F water for 2 hours. Drain and put in a plastic bag overnight. When I open it, I turn it wrongside out and resew the incision until I get a short "Y". Then I turn it hair side out and put both arms inside the tube and STRETCH it with all my strength. If your measurement match the form, there's no reason to believe it shouldn't fit properly. Someone markets a "stick" for restretching hides so you can work the face details back out. This might fix your face problems.
I've heard about the use of Downey in the soak before. I asked my tanner, and he was ignorant of it's use for this. He always recommends 1 lb. of salt in 5 gallons of water. The cape gets soaked in that for 30 minutes, and then bagged to sweat overnight. George....is that recipe for Downey in hot water for rehydrating a DRY cape back to full size? It would dure change my program of waiting overnight for the sweat! Any salt at all?
I've had the tightness in the neck a LOT, but never in the face. If you can't get it to fit with the recommendations you've been given, I'd recommend getting a smaller mannikin. You COULD shave down the one you already have. I don't know how much taxidermy you do, but if you do many deer, it's a good idea to have several sizes of mannikins on hand for test fitting (necks of 16,17,18,19,etc.) You using a bag? I did a buck today and don't ask me why, but I started pulling the cape on WITHOUT a bag. UMMPF...Grrrr...HEEYAH...UHHhhh!..wouldn't even go over the back of the head. WOOPS! Bag on dummy! OOoooooooooooyeah! Slid that puppy on slick as goose poop. I did have to tug a little, but very little.
Gotta use a bag young man.
Downy is for dry/tanned capes. Carolina Fur Dressing recommends it and it's easy to find and gives a pleasant smell to boot. They DON'T recommend the salt bath. The Downey is a surfactant that just makes water "wetter" and assists rehydration.
The formula is in a atomizer bottle 1/4 downey then fill with water I use during the final fleshing to hydrate my cape then soak it down stretching as I rub it in then put it in the frig to sweat overnight.
Try 4 oz. of baking soda (sodium bicarb Arm and Hammer) to two gallons of water. Soak the hide for about 15 minutes carefully checking all the time. I think it may well let out and fit for you.
Many tanneries fail to nuertralize the capes when going through the tanning process.
You mentioned that the cape was 6 3/4 and the form was, too. I guess the east coast-midwest theory doesnt apply, 6 3/4 is 6 3/4 no matter where you live! Seriously, though, be careful when adding soda to tanned capes, they are very critical at that state, and are known to fall apart. I use the method, but you have to be VERY careful. Take my good advice here. In fact, take a cut off shoulder scrap, apply the soda, and come back an hour later and pull on the hair...
Hey George, I used to pull on capes to get the extra stretch. Then I was in toy-r-us one day and found these blow up bounce balls that kids sit on and bounce around the yard on. Big light bulb went off in my head (maybe headache from ice cream) and I thought why not. Sliped one of these inside the cape (short T cut) pumped up with air and did a little dance with myself and my cut off kiddie bow. Try this (not the dancing part) and no more Popeye forearms.