I have the following questions on w.t.deer mounting:
1. Is it necessary to buy a fleshing machine or can it be done using a fleshing beam and a good sharp knife/razor blade?
2. After fleshing what can I use to remove extra layers of skin to thin the cape. There is a knife that has handles on both ends. Is this what I use or can something else be used?
3. What should I do so the mount doesn't dry out while I am working on it. Water spray bottle ok?
4. I have listened and read many comments and suggestions on tanning (all the different products) and simply using dry preservative. I heard home tanning can be a real pain. Some have it proffesionally done. I would rather not. Others swear that dry preservative is done by most taxidermists and has great results without long term problems down the road. Could someone please give me a clear reason why one method is better than the other. It is also argued that once a cape is tanned it has little room for stretching once it goes on the mannikin. So d.p. is the way to go because it has stretch. I know ultimatly it is up to me. But I could sure use some clear sound advice. Thank You!
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Yes remove the red pieces of meat and large fat globs. splint out everything (refer to a tape or book for this) and you can flesh it with a single edged razor blade and beam (this is covered in a previous post) Home tanning is easy if you have a little brains if not go the DP and hope for the best but donot skimp on hide paste (EPO-GRIP ) is the only way to go, no other measure up!!
For tanning the easiest if Liqua-tan. Salt, pickle,shave with razor blade, neut. and paint it on and mount.
If you are worried about being slow shaving, shoot denatured alcohol on it with a spray bottle.
1.It is not necessary to buy a fleshing machine to flesh and thin your hide these machines are expensive. If you are a begginer(like me)it is hard to soak that kind of money into something your not 110% sure about.I would suggest buying a scapel and a few replacement blades (25 is plenty) it will be much easier than any sharp pocket knife. As far as a fleshing beam, you can make one yourself by using a 2x6 or 2x8 board, it will make it easier. I just recently bought a mini-flesher ($196.95) and this makes it even easier.However, whatever you choose to use, you must learn how to use it. Take your time and be pacient.
2.You can use a necker-knife to thin your cape but the scapel will work also.
3.If you use the scapel it will take about 4 hours to flesh and thin, while your thinning, edges and thinner spots will start to dry. I use regular windex in the spray bottle to rehydrate these spots. Its is easy and does not hurt the skin.
4.As you may know there are many pro's and con's between any kind of tanning process and DP. I used a DP for a while and i noticed lots of shrinkage, causing the stitch to pull apart and causing the skin around the eyes,mouth and nostril area to pull. I recently started using Authentic's One Hour Tan and its great. It is easy to use and has good stretch, try it, you'll be impressed.
I hope i helped you out and good luck in the future.
You can save yourself all of this trouble and money if you elect to use a professional fur dresser for your capes. For usually less than $30 you can have your cape tanned AND shaved. All you'll need to do is rehydrate it and mount.
Christian, even though you said you would rather not have it comercialy tanned, go with geo's advice and just have it all done. Sure would be easier for ya.
Good luck, William
Christian, remember everyone was a beginner at one time. My recommendation - is to learn from these guys that have been at it for a while. As you are at it for a while you will recognize some of the names you see on this web-site (John C., George R., Bill Yox etc.) - these guys know the business. Following their advice will serve you well.
Taxidermy leaves allot of options (there are as many differnet ways as there are taxidermists). I would recommend to you spending $30 and have your 1st hide commerically tanned. Even more I would recommend that you have it "wet tanned". Trust me it will make your life allot easier and your taxidermy more enjoyable.
My recommendation is to try that first - not a big expense vs. buying allot of 'do it yourself' equipment only to discover you would rather have them tanned commericialy. If you decide the commerical way is not for you then you're not out anything (the $30 gave you a professional tan and will give you a good referance for how thin you need to thin a cape if you opt to do it yourself).
Personally I have been doing taxidermy part time for 15 years, I do it more for the enjoyment, although the extra money allows me to take a western hunt every year (a nice thing also). I do not enjoy the WORK of fleshing and the worry of tanning (things can go wrong). I would rather spend my time on working lips, eye expresions, hair setting , painting extra. Only my opion.