I would like to tan some sturgeon skins to back traditional bows with but I'm not quite sure how to go about it.I think tanning fish for "leather" as opposed to tanning for mounting might require different techniques.Also does anyone have an idea for fleshing sturgeon like soaking it in something before fleshing?The flesh next to the skin is really tight and I don't want to put any holes in the skin.It ain't like skinning/fleshing a bass! ANY help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Craig
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Cut down the side of the fish with tin cutters. Since you just want bow backing material, don't worry much about the fins. In your case, use a table knife and seperate the flesh from the skin. You may also want to call some taxidermist in your area and have them sell you a fish skinning knife. We usually have a few laying around. Use a spoon to scrap the flesh off the skin.
Do you have the Traditional Bowyer's Bible's? If not, get them! They are excellent. In vol. I page 245, John Strunk uses dried stretched sturgeon skin, degreased with acetone. He then glues the skin as you would rawhide or snakeskin.
Check out primativearcher.com, its a site I think you will be very interested in.
Real Fish skin leather is made very much the same way other leathers are - except that instead of dehairing - you de-scale them and then use the Liming solution to pulp and loosen the outer epidermal layer of skin so it can be removed. After that its - kill the Lime, acidify the skin, pickle (you also will degrease it heavily here), neutralize, tan and oil it.