Hi, I took a class for shoulder mounts a couple years ago, just to do a couple of my heads and have two more of my own this year to do. Over that time and reading the forums it seems most incorporate a "pickle" (which is an acid bath--assuming cause i don't use it). After talking to a fairly well known taxidermist in my area he says you must use it or your cape will suffer later, is this true?
This is the way i was taught:
1) I live in Saskatchewan so i bring the hide in from the COLD and leave ovenight to thaw. Then flesh and turn everything, fleshing i use a scalpel and remove everything even the thin membrane over the skin, this takes me FOREVER (8 hours) yes i know i need to hurry this up. Once done i pour the salt to her, get it everywhere and work it in, roll it up and leave it sit overnight(12 hours).
2) Next day i take the cape with the salt and place it in enough water to cover it, swish it around and leave sit in salt brine for 20 minutes. Then rinse it till it comes out clean and add about 4 oz of each: Germacide, Deodorizer, and Skin prep/scouring agent-suppose to help hide accept tanning better) in with the cape. Swish it around a bit, rinse it and let it hang for a while to let major water drip out.
3) Clean the face up a little better and then apply liquid tan to everywhere and rub it in. I will use a PSE tanning/softening oil around the eyes or nose if freezer burn has stiffened him up a little.
4) With some glue on the manikin i slip the cape on just like that and start to pin him up.
That's the way i prepare the cape, should there be another step in there somewhere? What is the best possible way to preserve my mount for future years? What if anything negative or positive, will happen to it by doing it the above way? The oldest mount I have done is two years and no cracks, yet.
I have had mounts done by every taxidermist around here (except the well known--not to me at that time) and they have all cracked by the eyes at least. It frustrates me if I cannot get the best possible job done on my heads since it feels as if i have let down the animal. Sorry for venting, just trying to get everything pieced together. Hope this all makes sense!
Thanks for your time it is greatly appreciated!
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I pickle all my hides and never had any problems with cracking I feel it is a very important step.
When would i incorporate a pickle in the above process and how would you do a pickle? What will happen to the hides if a pickle is not used?
Clinton, There is more than one correct way to do this (as in all taxidermy). First I would suggest a change in your initial fleshing. Instead of spending that 8 hours cleaning the cape up I would remove the large meat, split open the lips and eyelids, turn the ears and then salt heavily. Allow to drain for a few hours and then flesh the cape. It will go MUCH faster after the salt works a while. Now, if I were using the Liquatan I would re-salt the cape and allow to dry, rehydrate in a salt bath, pickle 3 days(this sets the hair as well as plumps the skin up makeing it easier to shave the skin), shave the skin, pickle 1 more day, neutralize in water w/ baking soda, drain and liquatan. There is no "one way" to do this, rather many good ways and I recomend trying several as you may discover another that you will like better. If you look in the "search" on this site under tanning you will find tons of information. The striving for a better result in your taxidermy will yield it's rewards in a better looking mount as well as one that lasts for many years. Enjoy, Aaron H.
Thank you for your input Aaron! I did my dads mount b4 christmas and will do mine when i get a chance. Thanks again and Merry Christmas everyone!