I was taking a trip through the "search" box for ear information, and came across a rather thorough description of how to remove the cartilage(BY GEORGE). I noticed that George said it was easier to take the cartilage out BEFORE the cape was tanned. I'm probably not alone when I say that I always take the cartilage out AFTER the cape was tanned. I send my capes out for commercial tanning, and wonder about shipping the salted capes with the cartilage removed. I'd be concerned about damage or tearing in the handling. Also, my tannery puts grit in the ears and ties them off with little plastic locking straps. I guess I ought to ask my tanner about that...eh? Anyway, I am always looking for ways to save time. Peeling ear cartilage is a time taker that I really don't enjoy, and the faster I can do it the better. There's a question in there somewhere...eh?
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It is imperative that you tuck the ear and tie it with a nylon electrical tie if you remove the cartilage before sending them to a commercial tannery. You simply invert the ear as you already do, but push the ear tip back inside about a quarter of the way. Then tie it off with a small plastic tie. A torn ear should be turned half way so the tear isn't made any larger than it already is and also tied off.
Doug - Here's a little trick that may save you some time pulling your cartilages. Take your scalpel with a fresh blade, invert the ear and cut a small slit through the cartilage near the bottom of the ear (where the inner ear detail begins). Do not cut through the ear skin only the cartilage. Take a small pointed modeling tool and kinda create a tunnel between the cartilage and skin so that you can insert a small air nozzle into the opening. Crank up your air compressor to about 125 lbs. and let loose with a blast of air. Your cartilage should literaly blow right off the skin. If this sounds risky let me assure you I have done hundreds of deer ears this way and have never damged a single ear. Not every ear will separate completly but you will still save a multitude of time with this method. The whole process once you are familiar with it takes only a minute or two per ear. Let me know how it works for you!
I don't know if I have the guts to try that. I used to "blast" the hide off of coyotes with air like you described, but DANG...that inner ear skin is mighty thin. You've done that a lot...eh? One HUMONGOUS blast at 125 lbs...eh? Boy, I gotta think about this! I despise sewing. And....it seems like the air would take the shortest path out, which would be back towards the hole in the ear base instead of out toward the tip where you want it. Don't see any use of blowing air out the rear hole...eh? What's the solution to that...eh?(And don't suggest beano!).
Doug - If you try this you'll never go back! Aim the nozzle toward the tip of the ear, pinch the opening around the entry tunnel closed tight with your fingers and let her rip! Trust me !
Sounds to good to be true, but I am going to try it. One question, I assume this is after the hide has been tanned? If so by a commercial tannery or your own. The reason I ask is that with some commercial tans the cartlage is very tight to the skin, to tight to work?
Thanks for the tip.
I send many capes to commercial tanneries, and I leave the cartilage on. I find it easy to pull the cartilage later, before mounting. I do get that stubborn skin that pulls the hair through now and then. I really wouldnt reccommend pulling the cartilage before sending them, and sure wouldnt tie off those ears. They come back dirty, and they dont feel "finished" like the rest of the cape. Just my take on this, though...
I have only recently started using earliners and I do my own tanning with Lutan F. On the first deer, I removed the cartilage first then tanned, on the second deer, I tanned first, then removed the cartilage. I found that it was not very difficult to remove either way, but I did notice one difference. On the first deer, The color of the earliners did not show through the earskin like I had hoped, I ended up having to paint the skin. On the second deer, the color of the liner showed through beautifully and I did not need to paint at all. I don't know if this is a result of removing the cartilage after the tan, or if there was some other difference. Anybody else ever expirience this?
Randy - I tan my capes with a formic/liquatan combo. I let my cape dry completly after applying the liquatan, then rehydrate. At this time I remove the cartilage. It may take you a few tries to get the hang of it but I think you will find it to be very efficient.