After all the prep work to the deer cape, and applying the salt do you lay the hide out flat to dry or roll it up? I've always been taught to lay it out flat to completely dry, but recently I watched a taxidermy video where they recommended rolling it up, hair out, for a day, shaking it out, and then sending it off to the tannery. What is the best way to do this? Thanks
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I prefer to hang them so as not to allow pools of fluid to puddle up in the cape and increase the risk of bacteria forming. May not be an issue overnight but I just prefer to play it safe. Not saying this is the best way,just what I do.
I use a dehumidifier and it literally dries them out in 2 days, rock hard in 3 days. As the salt sucks the moisture out of the skin, the dehumidifier sucks the moisture out of the salt..
so the fluids can drain, resalt after 24 hours with fresh clean salt for another 2-3 days, hang with a fan on it or dehumidifier to dry hard. You can use the second day's salt for the initial salting on the next cape.
Salt for 24 hours, rinse in cold water till the water is clear, throw in to the pickle. There is no proof that letting it get rock hard dry will set the hair. I have purchased my share of bone-dry capes only to find that they slip when they get re-hydrated. I only let them dry completely if I am going to store it for next year. Take a fresh cape, salt overnight, and then straight to the pickle before any trouble starts. Salting in a cold area is the best place to salt. Warm rooms will speed up the rotting on the hair side, when thinking the salt will stop the bacteria and then we wonder why it falls apart. Keep it cold and speed it to the pickle = no slip.
I lay them flat on a pallet and salt, shake off excess after a day or so, resalt and get a fan on them. I keep checking the salt around the face and change it out if it gets too wet. Once it starts to dry I take a piece of wood and stick it up inside the head and stand the head vertically while the cape is flat. I simply stick it in the mouth hole, one end resting against the nose and prop it up. With the fan going it really drys the face out with all that air exposure. I don't tan my own though, so mine have to be dry to ship.
I apply salt on a flat table and after the salt starts clinging to the skin, I hang it over a saw horse with a plastic container under it to collect all the drippings. I let it drip overnight, shake and then brush off most of the salt, then flesh it with a mini-flesher. Then I put it into a pickle before washing and tanning the next day.