Better Stretch

Submitted by Chuck on 2/23/1999. ( )

I am using safe-tee acid for my pickle and kwik-n-eze tanning cream for my tan. The problem is that I'm having a heck of a time with the skins not stretching. I have been leaving the skins in the pickle for 3 days then removing them and shaving. Then return them to the pickle for 1 day, remove neutralize for 20 minutes and tan. I let the tanning cream soak in for approx. 3-4 hrs with the skin rolled up and then place the skin in the freezer. After thawing and washing the skin, I mount the skin on the form. I'm sure that my initial measurments are accurate. Any ideas? Thanks

Return to Category Menu

Please don't take offense...

This response submitted by perry on 2/23/1999. ( )

Are you taking your measurements before you cape the head or from
the skinned neck carcass?

No offense taken

This response submitted by Chuck on 2/23/1999. ( )

Perry, I am measuring before I skin but have compensated, I think, by deducting an inch off of the neck measurement. Maybe this is not a good way to measure. What are your thoughts. Thanks, I appreciate your help.

Most Likely Needs Thinner

This response submitted by Keith Daniels on 2/23/1999. ( )

Chuck, the tanning creams like you are using will generally give you the most stretch you will get, besides a powder preserve skin. More than likely, you need to do a little better job of thining your skins during the shaving process. If you're from an area with thick leathered deer, you'll notice the bigger ones are tougher to stretch than say the first rack bucks and does. If that's the case, then you definately need to thin more on the big deer. The bigger deer will also throw you off more if you measure on the hair than a small one will. Try measuring on the neck meat, then add a little to make up for the meat shrinkage after the deer died. Try about 1/2" on small deer, 17" to 18" necks, and possibly 1" to 1 1/2" on the bigger deer, 21" to 22" necks. You can play it real safe and just use the meat measurement, but I think you'll find you're shrinking things quite a bit, especially on the big deer. Keith

Keith is right.

This response submitted by Perry on 2/23/1999. ( )

I do measure both hair on and bare carcass. Hair length and neck size
do throw the "Hair on" measurements off considerably and incosistantly
to really allow for a general rule of thumb. carcass measurements like
keith said are much better. Another thing to do if you have the resources,
is to by a cheapy mannikin for $20 or $25, or keep one from a recape
job that has about the average size neck that you work on, say 18". After
you have fleshed your cape and before you salt it, slip it over the
mannikin and mark on you measurement sheet some notes about the fit,
was it too big, too small or fit, gap size, overlap size and such. this
will add confidence to your carcass measurement and help in ordering
mannikins. besure to keep your test mannikin clean with lysol and such
after using so you don't contaminate your skins.

New measurment system in order

This response submitted by Chuck on 2/23/1999. ( )

Kieth and Perry, Thank you very much for the info. I'm sure it will help a great deal.

As long as you are working on a new system....

This response submitted by perry on 2/23/1999. ( )

If you don't include this measurement, you may want to... measure
from the tip of each antler to the corner of the corresponding eye.
The corner of the eye is attached to the skull, and the beam tip don't
move much either, those measurements will enable you to set the antlers
properly on the mannikin. You will also be suprise and how uneven
the antlers are and that they don't always grow in the same directions.
you can be a little flexible in how close you get to the original measurements,
remember the antlers and spread will shrink over time, that is why B&C
has a 60 day drying period before official scoring. but the measurements
will put you in the ball park for setting the antlers. Bill will also
tell you to measure from burr to corner of the eye, but what does he know...
HA HA, easy now bill, just jerkin your chain.

Burr measurement

This response submitted by Rob on 2/23/1999. ( )

I'm glad Perry finally addressed the issue of correct antler setting.I was recently at a big game show and was able to measure many antlers from the burr to the eye.I found this measurement to be around 3" (my way of measuring ).Whats strange is that I have never had a deer in my shop with this large a measurement.Most of my measurements are between 1 7/8 and 2 1/18. This lends me to believe the large part of taxidermists are not cutting the skull cap short enough and most antlers are actually incorrectly mounted.Do you guys and gals agree or not. My measurement above is from the furthermost front edge of the burr to the back corner of the eye skin before skinning.


This response submitted by B.Collier Predators &Prey Taxidermy on 2/23/1999. ( )

I agree, a couple of years ago I started taking antler measurements,(Distance from antler tips to nose, Burr to eye. Brow tine tip to nose.etc.) When it came time to mount these deer, after using the measurements, they went together beautifully. Probably the way they are supposed to! I no longer had trouble with the eyes coming up short on the form, which I think was a result of the antlers being set too far back,by leaving the skull plate too long in front. I now take ALOT of measurements, on all heads that come in, it takes a little more time, but the amount of time saved is well worth it.

same here

This response submitted by leanna on 2/23/1999. ( )

it does take more time but I do all the tine and burr measurements too. Each deer is SO different. What I was wondering on the point of neck measurements is what do you think of taking measurement after its been pickled and shaved? I like to measure the neck after I skin it, 3 inches down from ear butt, across. I take a green measurement and measure after shaving again to compare the two. Do you think this is an accurate enough measurement? Before measuring I pull hide out for a stretch but I dont over stretch it.

no neck measurements

This response submitted by Rob on 2/23/1999. ( )

I may get some disagreement with this but I do not measure the neck on any deer.I do measure from the nose to eye to determine face length and some burr and antler correlation measurements.I am fortunate enough to get enough deer in each year that I keep a large supply of quality deer forms on hand ranging in sizes from 15 to 24 inches both rut and pre-rut.After soaking up my commercially tanned skins I simply test fit the hide on various forms until the correct fit is achieved.I have never had any customer complaints with this method.If I need an odd position mannikin or something different I simply test fit the hide to a mannikin and order the correct size compared to my test mannikin.Simply freeze the tanned hide till ready.
This method eliminates any problems with hides fitting on forms.Its a good feeling at the beginning of each day to know you will have the correct forms for the deer heads you will be mounting that day (no more lost time because of non fitting deer forms).When customers bring in deer without any neck no problem.I actually encourage them to utilize all the neck meat.This way I don't have to skin the neck out saving more time.

Return to Category Menu