Tired of fleshing deer capes.

Submitted by Michelle W on 12/17/05 at 11:46 PM. ( michellestaxidermy@zoomshare.com )

I don't know about the rest of you but I am already tired of fleshing, turning and salting capes. I havn't quite gotten use to fleshing capes on my fleshing machine with out borax to kinda dry out the membrane on the cape. Is their something I can use that won't hurt the cape or the tanneries tanning solution but will absorbe some of the blood and dry the membrane out?

Got a deer in tonight that was damp from it raining all day. Got it in my shop and caped it out and started fleshing the face when my propane heater ran out of gas ( My shop has no heat or Air Conditioning ). With in about 15 minutes I was freezing. I got the chin fleshed and the lips turned and turned out 1/2 the nose and had to quit. I couldn't feel my fingers and I was starting to shiver a bit. It was running about 35 degrees out side at that point.

I toweled of the hide to get off all the moisture I could possibly get off. I also soaked up the blood on the inside of the cape with a towel. I folded the cape in 3 folds and put it in the freezer with the face on the out side so i can be turning the rest of the face while the main body of the cape is thawing. I plan on pulling the cape out of the freezer in a week or so to finnish fleshing and it will be salted as soon as I get it fleshed. You think the cape will be alright? I don't think the cape has been in temp's higher than 40 degrees since it was caped out.

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This response submitted by Kim Collins on 12/17/05 at 11:56 PM. ( bubbastaxidermy@direcway.com )

will be fine.I is so cold out tonight if I was you I would have left the cape out on the floor overnight only if you were able to get to it first thing in the morning. I do the same thing with the borax so far havent had any problems doing this way. One thing you may want to think of is heating that shop. We hadnt heated our shop until this year but man is it nice to head out to the shop and not have to freeze until it heated up. We got a heat with temp control had a propane tank delivered and just keep it set on like one burner while we arent there. It helps in the drying process of the animals too.

Hope you have warmed up by now.

Kim Collins
Bubba's Taxidermy

Buy a pressure washer!

This response submitted by Chris on 12/18/05 at 9:57 AM. ( )

If you can afford one. Cape out animal and remove flesh with a pressure washer. This does several things for you. It "chills" the cape. It removes the membrane, slime, dirt, etc. from the cape. It literally blows out all the blood, and you end up with a pure white cape which keeps your pickle cleaner. It allows the fleshing machine to take a bite, and speeds up fleshing. If there was any freezer burn in a previously frozen cape, it will immediately rehydrate it. Doesn't take more than 15 minutes to pressure wash, and you'll never try to flesh the old way again!

Chris, she doesn't have heat!

This response submitted by George on 12/18/05 at 10:12 AM. ( georoof@aol.com )

Now you want her to be wet as well? LOL

Michelle, your post just sent a chill up my spine (figuratively of course). Are you fleshing all your hides as they come through the door?

Many people do this and I always caution them. This is a great way to set yourself up for "burnout". In fact the title of your post sounded like that.

I used to do the same thing. Now I cape, roll it up, bag it, tag it and freeze it. When I'm mounting an animal, I'm thawing one hide and fleshing another. This takes the monotony our of the job itself and allows your "creative juices" a chance to recover.

What I'm going to say next is going to upset some of you (so what's new?)

I read a study that said all "artists" are bipolar to some degree. I think all taxidermist are and here's why. One of the traits of bipolar people is the phases of energy. Sometimes they are in a frenzy while others have doldrums.

Some days, I walk into my shop and there's not enough going on to make me happier. I'm into everything as happy as can be, mounting, skinning, grooming, painting, and even cleaning up the mess. Other days I walk in and I sit there staring and dreading starting ANYTHING. Those are the days I go hunting or fishing. I know that my being there is going to create as many issues as I'll ever solve. I'm able to no longer FORCE myself to do a job my heart isn't in to. Maybe you are different, and maybe you never feel as I do, but if taxidermy is just a JOB, it surely can't be that much fun.

Well, George...

This response submitted by Craig on 12/18/05 at 2:18 PM. ( )

you hit the nail on the head from your perspective in your last sentence. But then again not everyone is retired and can do this work at their leisure. Most people who decide to get into a field of work do it because they have an interest in it but after actually doing it for awhile they find that interest wanes. That's why so many people switch careers so many times in their lives, but most come back to the realization that work just simply sucks, lol.

I agree with you George!

This response submitted by Chris on 12/18/05 at 8:46 PM. ( )

But in actuality, she does have heat (if she hadn't let the propane run out!) I was just trying to help her "flesh without the use of borax!" Plus I think it is important to get that blood out of the skin, and wash the hide to get it out of the hair, to reduce possibility of bacteria causing slippage. Plus, as you said, there are things that can make you lose interest in what you need to do. I found that a clean, easy to flesh cape made the prospect of fleshing much easier to look forward to.

George... I totally agree with the bipolar comments, but she can always wear a rainsuit and pressure wash outside! And thanks for the laugh!

Yeah I am burned out....

This response submitted by Michelle W on 12/18/05 at 9:06 PM. ( )

Yeah, I am burned out you could say. I work a full time job at the Albany Marine Base as a Civilian Mechanic. I work about 45 to 50 hours a week doing that. Mon, Tue, and Wed I go to night school from 5 pm til atleast 9 pm for Diesel Mechanics. Plus going to the Dock's (Deer Processor) Thu, Fri night and in the morning and at night Sat and Sun to talk to hunters and try and drum up some buisness. Than I would leave around 9 pm with a deer head most of the time. Sometimes 2 of them. I go home and cape them out and than go to bed around midnight. I still have a little over 3 weeks left of hunting season left. I have been going like this since the middle of October.

I have done pretty good this year I think... I think I have hit Deer #30 as far as shoulder Mounts go along with 3 or 4 hides to tan and some Euro and Antler plaques.

I've been using dry Preserve on all my deer since I started doing Taxidermy 3 seasons ago. I am trying to send my capes off to get tanned but I havn't yet got an order shipped off to a tannery. I was going to go with Key Stone but I wasn't happy with an order they sent back to me and have been on the hunt for a good reliable tannery with a good turn around time since the first part of deer season. i have 2 in mind but an just dreading sending anything to a tannery and something get lost or cut up and not usable. The two tanneries i have in mind are "Waldons Tannery" in the carolinas or "Seminol Fur Dressors" in Alabama.

I am just stressing over the fact I am affraid that I won't get the results I wan't with a tanned cape like I would the Dry Preserved capes. I beleive Dry Preserve capes are much easier to get on the form and I have never run into a problem with DP. I just don't feel I have the time to flesh all those capes and get people their deer back in a reasonable amount of time if I stick with the DP. i have been thinking about gradually switching over to Tanning and doing 1/2 my deer with DP and the other 1/2 Tanned....

Michele, I'd never discourage using a tannery, BUT

This response submitted by George on 12/18/05 at 10:25 PM. ( georoof@aol.com )

...deer are relatively simple and with the paint on tans today, you can do much of it as easily as you DP'd. I use John Rineharts without the pickle. Liqui-Tan and McKenzie Tan can both be done that way though they'd begrudgingly admit it and both recommend a pickle. Still, you can do one or 10 at the same time, not have to worry about rushing to the UPS terminal and certainly not have to worry about how soon it would come back.

But most of all, PLEASE slow down. You only have so much wax in your candle and burning it from both ends isn't doing anyone, especially YOU any good at all.


This response submitted by Kim Collins on 12/19/05 at 12:06 AM. ( bubbastaxidermy@direcway.com )

maybe you need to send you capes out to be fleshed.Thats what we do we cape them off roll them up,freeze and take to the flesher and then when they come back (most of the time in a couple of weeks) its DP or if client wants its off to the tannery or we use Krowtann (love that stuff).We have as of tonight taken in 116 shoulder mounts not to mention all the skulls mounts and other fish,bobcats and today two otters. And yes we both have full time 40 hour a week jobs. So burnout I hear you on that I get it around March its a good thing that hubby never seems to get it. I would never try doing this on my own if our shop wasnt ran by both me and my husband (the kids when we can get them too) no way.
So my hats off to you.

Kim Collins
Bubba's taxidermy

so Michelle, if I told you...

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 12/19/05 at 2:30 AM. ( )

...I used to do about 115 deer a year, taken in from mid October through mid December, and I caped, turned and fleshed and salted every one of them, would that make you feel at least a LITTLE bit better about your day? Hahaha, I hope so! I cape and do all the slop parts in another building, not in the nice warm studio. It gets good and cold in upstate NY, so I stay a bit chilly during that period. While I couldve flirted with burnout (or depression!) I instead learned to cape them faster, split them faster, and knock the meat off with a knife (I dont feel the flesher, which I call a shaver, is the way to do this) and get them right into the salt. It would take me forever to pull them in and out of the freezer, I dont care to handle them twice. Just the same, I can see why many of you choose to do it that way, though. By January, Im beat...but finished!


This response submitted by Jim on 12/19/05 at 5:10 AM. ( )

Send them out and take a break. do something for your self that has nothing to do with your every day ruteens. Check your e mail sent you a good taner. Jim

michelle im in the same boat

This response submitted by paul e on 12/19/05 at 11:09 AM. ( amfpaul@bellsouth.net )

im a manager for a fabrication shop
taxidermy is a part time for me
i went what you are going through now years ago
if you dont slow down your going to get mentally in the gutter
theres a few things that might help
first i changed to only do deer
this is what i enjoy the most
also im particular who i take in as a customer
that also helps
i understand also switching from d.p. to tanning is a leap for some
i think if you went with the paint on tans without the pickle
(fresh hides only)
you will be pleased with the fit on the form
there wont be any major difference
youll also see that they will sew a little easier
and you wont get as much shrinkage in some areas
staying very organized will also help
hope i helped
i remember having to make some tough choices
but i made the decision my mental health and my family were more important
paul e

I am defffinatly taking a little break....

This response submitted by Michelle W on 12/19/05 at 12:06 PM. ( )

I have 10 days off starting this Friday. I hope to have atleast 20 capes salted and drying and have them in the mail to either "Seminol Fur Dressors" or "Waldons Tannery". I just havn't decided which one I want to send them to yet. Waldons said he had a 4 week turn around and Seminol said they were 9 weeks. I don't mind waiting the 9 weeks as long as when I get them back I am happy with the Wet Tans I get back.

I think so far I have about 5 capes salted and 3 hides.

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