Hello out there,
First of all, a big thanks to those who responded to my previous message especially George's personal e-mail. Everyone has to be a beginner at some point and it really, really makes a guy feel good to get some honest, friendly advice.
I've did the preliminary fleshing, turning, splitting. I salted yesterday and today did the salt solution step. I'm planning to use the Rinehart cream tan. The cape is currently in the freezer waiting for the UPS delivery of the cream tan which will be here tomorrow (THursday).
Things went fairly well for my first try. But there are a few problem areas namely the face (probably as expected). I'm fairly certain I split the lips and all correctly but I still seem to have quite a bit of material near the lip line. It's that bumpy sort of stuff that I believe is gums? I got what I felt comfortable getting with a scalpel prior to salting and I believe I'll use a skife after tanning to get the rest really thin and clean. Does that make sense or should I do more before tanning?
Also for the "thinning" of the hide after salting and salt-solution soak, I used my benchtop sander. It seemed to work surprisingly well. It's not all that different a method from the mini-flesher (it tears rather than cuts. I got it as uniform and "smooth" as I dared but there are a few bits of clingy-type stuff on the hide. I "think" it's that white membrane I've heard about it. I think most will come off once it's dried out a bit. I let it drain after soaking but it was still a bit wet. I'm mostly worried about not getting enough material off the hide to hinder the cream tan. I really don't want to go through all the work, worrying and then have something like the hair fall out or something because the tan didn't take because I did something wrong. So, any advice or critique of what I've done so far would be immensely appreciated. By the way, this is a northen Michigan deer taken late season so, from what I've heard, an ultra-thin hide probably isn't a real big necessity becuase the hair on these buggers is thick, thick, thick.
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Northern Michigan deer are nice eh! I do some myself as im from Cheboygan. Sounds like you have done a decent job of fleshing, as for the lips sounds like maybe you need to split out a little further...you can do this anytime, as long as your close now your salt and tanning cream should penetrate. Im curious about what you refer to as your salt soak solution? Are you refering to a pickle?