I've been using arlington cape. Over all, they do a good job (never any holes or loose hair) but the whitetail necks seem tight. Way too tight. I've tried wetting the leather side but it doesn't help. Is there a relaxing agent I should try or look for another tannery?
Return to Gamehead Taxidermy Category Menu
After you resoak your cape put it in a bag in the fridge and leave in there overnight. It should stretch out real nice. If it is still too tight then rub some fabric softerner on the leather side and again leave in bag in frigde overnight. You should now have a stretch of about 2 more inches in the cape. If the resoaking and the fabric softener don't stretch out your cape switch tanneries. Start having your capes wet tanned instead of dry. This will leave more stretch in the capes as well.
When you rehydrate dry tanned capes, always freeze them. The expansion of the water molecules during freezing breaks the fibers of the skin and gives you a better stretch.
So here you sit ready to mount a deer, your are a part-timer.
Darn I have to wait until tomorrow and let the cape sweat overnight.
WRONG, you have to be carefull with this and watch it every second.
I do mean watch it or you will loose the cape.
1 teaspoon of baking soda (sodium Bicarb) Arm and Hammer, you know in the yellow box in the kitchen.
1 teaspoon, to a pint of water.
Mix it well.
Sponge the water on the inside of the cape, pull a bit on the leather checking for stretch. This will give a ton of stretch.
Now if its still tight, you can repeat. Once you have the stretch you want, give the cape a quick rinse in clear water and towel dry the hair side.
As you get a bit of experience you can use a stronger solution.
Shane, All of the above advice is valid UNLESS the cape was not thinned down properly to begin with. I'm betting the neck was shaved "safely" to be certain no cuts happened but that it is not truley thin. I'm also betting that if you shave it thinner now you will see lots more stretch. You can thin it down carefully using a sharp knife and you will not only get an easier fit but a nicer looking mount as well. Enjoy, Aaron H.
I can ASSURE the cape was shaved properly...I`ve been sending my capes and lifesize mammals like lions and tigers to Kieth for the last 4 years...The man does awsome work...I haven`t ever had to fix a hole in any of my capes I`ve sent him, and have sufficient stretch...Maybe your just expecting to much when it comes to stretch? Try resizing your skin by lieing it down on a flat surface and running a 1 inch wide scraper of some sort from the middle of the cape to the edge of the cut...this will gain you an inch or two on width...
Hi Shane, give me a call at the shop when you get a chance. I see we did a few deer capes for you this year, and a few more and a bison last year. I was worried that you had capes we did a couple years ago when we tried synthetics (that would be understandable if you had no stretch with them)but yours were after we wised up and went back to Lutan, and I can see a tight fitting cape every now and then, but not with that many. We do too many deer that fit for people with ease, doing nothing but wetting the leather.
Call me when you get a chance,