why remove ear cartilage ? And what is the bondo method?

Submitted by Tony Dingess on 11/23/99. ( dingesstaxidermy@app-net.com )

What exactly is the reason for removing the cartilage from the ear if it does not affect the tan? I'm flying by the seat of my pants here. I have left the cartilage in and used a plastic earliner, and I have removed the pain in the rear stuff and used the same type liner. Are we trying to avoid too thick an ear? I am looking for the simple (if there be such) route here. I don't like removing the cartilage so is it, or is it not essential?

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Here goes, Tony.......

This response submitted by Tony on 11/23/99. ( tholder85@yahoo.com )

I have tried it both ways, and you are right about removing the ear cartlidge
being a headache. That is why I now use the bondo method on my ears. When you
use an earliner without removing the cartlidge you are at a lot higher risk of
having your ears drum on you. If you want to avoid the task of removing the cartlidge
I suggest you try the bonded ear method and see how you like it. Using this method
all you have to do is turn the ears to the very edge, remove excess flesh, take some
laquer thinner and wipe the inside of the ears to remove any moisture, mix bondo with
a slow enough mixture to allow you enough time to shape your ear and let it dry. You will
get the hang of it pretty quickly and it is sure a lot easier than removing the cartlidge.
It is easy to get your ears too thich when using bondo, so be careful and make sure you
get a good uniform ear.

Good luck,

Oh, yeah, I forgot to say......

This response submitted by Tony on 11/23/99. ( )

Tony, I forgot to say to pour the bondo in the ear and then shape the ear
before it drys.



This response submitted by George Roof on 11/23/99. ( georoof@aol.com )

I'm refusing to get into that bondo for earliners thing today. My blood pressure is already too high.

There is no "simple" way to remove cartilage, but if you are waiting until after you have tanned the hide to remove them, it's no wonder you're flying by the seat of your pants. Cartilage is best removed when the deer is still fresh and warm. Few of us however have time to do this then. We freeze the fresh hide and work on them later. When the hide is thawed, they need to come out quickly. If you allow the it to stay in place, it has a tendency to turn into glue and removal REALLY becomes a nightmare. (Also, hunters who like to "age" their meat and leave the unskinned animals on a meat pole for a week before you get it aren't your best friends either for the same reason.)

On your fresh or raw thawed hide, remove the meat from the ear butt. Insert one of the many ear opening tools on the market between the back side of the ear and the cartilage. Once opened, don't try to work the edges with the tool. Take your thumb and forefinger in gently lift the cartilage to the edges. Invert the skin. Now with a VERY SHARP SCALPEL, draw a fine shallow line across the the center of the ear. Fold the cartilage and the line will snap open. With your thumb and fore finger, gently peel the bottom half of the cartilage away. It will skin out completely over the butt if you wish. I usually cut mine off right at the butt and use that clump of cartilage to lock the skin into the earliner for commercial work. Now the top half should peel right out. Watch it very closely if it becomes difficult. If hair starts to pull through, relieve it with your scalpel. Usually, the top half comes out pretty easily on fresh deer. If it didn't come out all the way to the edges, use your fingernail to scrap those thin swiss cheeze edges off the skin. Now you can flesh the rest of the hide, salt it and prepare for your tan.

Thanks guys!

This response submitted by Tony Dingess on 12/1/99. ( superdardar@hotmail.com )

Just wanted to let you guys know that the info is invaluable to someone getting started like myself! Thanks again.

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