Advice please

Submitted by Bill on 2/22/05 at 3:49 PM. ( )

Before everybody starts yelling check the little orange button, I did. Would just like more input, and different opinons.

In Nov. 04, my father in law got a call from our local game warnden that a nice big 7pt. had been hit and would we like the meat. So he went to get it. After I got off work I meet him at his shop to help gut and break down. When I saw the deer I decided to do the buck for comp. here in my home state. It was maybe 4 hours from the time it was hit to when I got it to my freezer, and about 45 degrees outside.

Two days later I caped the buck and put the hide back into the freezer until I was ready to work on it.
I'm still a rookie so it took about 2-3 hours to flesh the face eyes, nose, ears, lips and give it a first time shave to get the bigger chunks off. At this point it went to the salt table, where it remained for 7 days. I checked it after the first day to change the salt, again after 2 more days, and again after 2 days. When I returned on the last day it was damm near still as a board. After rehidrating it went into the pickle for 4 days. After that it was tanned for 24 hours, then oiled and shaved down to the blue.
Now because this was going to be a comp. deer(my second one) and only the 8th deer I have mounted I was making sure to be very careful with all aspects.

So here is my problem, today when I finish getting the form the way I want it, I now go for a test fit, everything looks good. I go to test fit the ear liners and as I do so hair, hide whatever you want to call it is slipping all over the place. Not a little, I'm talking chunks, and as I look at the hide better it is slipping all over so badly that there is know way I can mount the buck for comp.

Where did I go wrong, I just finished my first two customer mounts using the method above w/ no problems. This was the way I was trained, and have read in every book, manual, video, or read on a web site.

Could the fact it was road kill have something to do w/ it. Maybe oil, antifreeze, or gas got on the hide.

Any advice would be welcome.
Thanks Bill

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This response submitted by Steve D on 2/22/05 at 4:15 PM. ( )

Dont see you mention anything about the PH during any of this?

Refreezing seems to be the key word.

This response submitted by John C on 2/22/05 at 4:30 PM. ( )

You cannot freeze thaw refreeze capes unless it spread out so it will freeze fast.

Laying flat on a table for salting, the hide really needs air circulation, like on a plastic rack.

What were the temps when you thawed it?

It appears you made several mistakes along the way.

Its bacteria that caused the damage.

ph problems

This response submitted by bill on 2/22/05 at 4:54 PM. ( )

I was able to check the ph after the first day and it was just barely a 2, but because taxidermy is still part time for me I wasn't able to get back everyday. This will be a very hard lesson learned. With the other two I was able to check the ph everyday.
John, thanks for the advice about salting, the method I used was how I was taught. Looks like I will be making an adjustment to that method. Thanks Bill

I question this part........................

This response submitted by Paul B on 2/22/05 at 5:23 PM. ( )

You stated above:

After rehidrating it went into the pickle for 4 days. After that it was tanned for 24 hours, then oiled and shaved down to the blue.

I have always pickled, then shaved, neutralized and then tanned. I'm not sure if the order you did it in contributed to your problems or not.



This response submitted by Wildwood on 2/22/05 at 5:27 PM. ( )

Did you notice slipping in the pickle? You really have to be careful when letting your tanned capes set in room temp. This would be when sweating the cape after oiling. If you don't dry the cape throughly before oiling, water will lay on the skin surface causing slippage. Bruce Rittle adressed this problem awhile back.

took to much time?

This response submitted by Mr. T on 2/22/05 at 7:14 PM. ( )

Salting for 7 days does what for a cape? It obviously does not lock the hair in unless it is bone dry. And only should be done this way if you have no plans for using the cape in the near future. I have very good luck by salting heavy in a cold or cool area for 24 hours max, rinse clean in cold water, pickle for 24 hours max, shave, neutralize, tan in Lutan for 18-24 hours max. No slip. It is just my opinion, but Bill, you took way to much time in every step along the way. Letting two days go by before you cape it out is where everything went down hill.

another opinion

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 2/22/05 at 8:20 PM. ( )

Way too many variables and unknowns for me to say you waited too long, this, or that. I will question HOW long you relaxed it before pickling, what slippage may have occurred during that process, if you neutralized, HOW long, and so on. Going that long for fleshing is kinda on the long side. Also, I dont reccommend fleshing machines to flesh. I know, its in the name, but I call em shaving machines for a good reason. Take a raw cape, flesh it with a shaver, and feel how warm that skin got...

One other thing. Sometimes when a deer dies, it literally falls apart. Ive seen deer die, and we go to cape them and theyre slipping while still flesh. It happens, me and Glen Conley have had this conversation many times.

Sorry to hear the cape didnt work.

You didn't

This response submitted by Alex on 2/22/05 at 9:23 PM. ( )

Leave it in the pickle long enough, It seems that 24 hours cannot give the acids time to go through the Skin all the way through.

I don't know what formula out there does, I have being tanning for 40 years, and unless you have a pressurise auto tanner, there is no formula that makes it through in 24 hours. I leave my skins a week and if the skins are thick I cut a little splitt so I can see the skin inside and the root of the hair ,if its different color than the surface of the skin I leave it longer. also you probably didn't shave it thin enough, which will also cause the skin to require more time in the pickle.

All I can say is......

This response submitted by William on 2/22/05 at 9:39 PM. ( )

Thank God for DP(Dry Preservative)! After reading all the dos and donts advice for tanning I am glad I stuck with the DP method for the last 34 years! Of course I am not going to get into that discussion since there are so many anti DP people out there but it has worked great for me. Regardless of what some may think not all DPs are alike but that discussion is for another day and time!

This is what I do.....

This response submitted by Tony J. on 2/23/05 at 1:24 AM. ( )

When I get everything skinned, I invert all the face and ears into the cape, this is the last thing to thaw when I remove from the freezer.
I invert it into the "Y" insision.
When I put it in the chest freezer, I pace it onto one of those baskets so air can get around the whole cape.
When I thaw, I turn everything, and salt.
( I removed the steaks from the neck area after I skinned)
I let it drip fluids for 5 to 10 hours.
I then wash in DAWN about 2 times letting it soak about 10 min each time.
I then rinse 3 or 4 times till water is very clear.
let the cape drip dry for 20 min or so.
I mix 4 of those "Morton salt jugs" (26 oz.) with 6 gal of water into a big tote.
I add 3oz of safty acid
your PH will be a 0.5 or so
I start low because it will raise!
I put 2 capes into this much pickel.
In 2 days, I shave, back in the pickel for another 1 to 2 days, check PH it raises!
Get the capes out to drip dry, finall shaving.
Now nutralize with baking soda and water.
I always use a 1/2 a sink full of plain water to rinse the soda particals out of the hair ( or it will look like dandruff when the mount is dry)
drip dry.
Lay on towells and roll it up to dry the cape.
unroll, and sew and do finall fleshing around nose and eyes.
paint on your tan.
Turn hair side out.
roll the cape up onto a ball, so it doesn't dry out.
I like to place the towels that you dried it with over it so it won't dry out!
by this time the wife is calling me, saying are you about done.
then I go in, and she makes me take a shower, cause " YOU Smell like a dead animal"
and the rest I will leave to your amagination!

Usually wacth all in the family! lol
Hope this helps, I typed it in the dark!
Tony J. @ Johnson Taxidermy Studio, East Ky

William I am a newbie What DP do you use

This response submitted by swampfoot on 2/23/05 at 3:41 PM. ( )

Can you tell me what kind brand of DP you use . Which is the best?. Im getting ready to get started and I want to use DP as oppossed to the tanning methods. Thanks in advance


This response submitted by William on 2/24/05 at 11:00 PM. ( )

Well I use the one from [a supply company] Supply company. It is a somewhat milder and slower working DP. I have tried others with varying results. Some are so strong or fast working that you can just about watch the hide shrink before your eyes. When I first started I used some that was offered by Van Dykes Supply Co. and it was just to strong. It would cause the hides to draw so much that you could actually hear the stiches popping loose as it dried out over time. I started using the [a supply company] brand about 25 years ago and by also making adjustments in my mounting methods I have had great success. I do not have the cracking and hide splitting that you hear so much about from others on the DP method. I have several mounts that are close to 20 plus years old that look just like the day I mounted them. One of the main keys to doing this method is to make sure you flesh the hide real good. Just follow the directions that are provided with the DP and you should have no real trouble. One thing that leads to a lot of DP problems is that some taxidermist try to oversize a mount,by that I mean take a deer with a 20 inch neck and make him into a 24 inch giant! Unless a customer tells me he wants to make it bigger then I mount it within the actual measurements taken upon skinning. If the customer insists on doing it oversize then I will not guarantee its long term durability . I have had a money back guarantee on my mounts for the last 20 years and have never had one returned due to poor quality. You DO NOT want to over stretch a mount as this will cause problems regardless of if it is DP or tanned mounted. If you keep within the actual size of the animals measuremenst and after it is mounted keep close watch on the eye,nose and face areas in general for the first 3 or 4 days of drying by adjusting any features in those areas then you should be ok. I use potters clay to rebuild the muscle tissues in these areas and the clay stays pliable for the first 3 o4 days so you can account for any slight shrinking in these areas. The drying time for the DP method is longer than by the tanned one but unless your in a big hurry it works fine. It usually takes about 3 to 4 weeks for mine to completly dry out but may take longer depending on the temps and humidity in the area. I have a costant controlled temp and humidity enviroment where I do my work. I hope this will help you some. I am not trashing the tanning method it is just a little more involved and costly than the DP method. I have mounted animals up to the size of ELK with no problems. Good LUCK!


This response submitted by William on 2/24/05 at 11:04 PM. ( )

I am not sure why but the company I get my DP from will not show when printed. I will try it this way...[a supply company] is where I get it.


This response submitted by William on 2/24/05 at 11:09 PM. ( )

They must feel a threat from this supplier cause they have their name blocked. Just email me and I will tell you who.

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