Recently skinned a rattlesnake. I've stretched and am drying now. I want to make a hatband the right way... one that will bring out the color and preserve it as well. Any suggestions?
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If you want to make a hatband the skin has to be pliable. It needs to be tanned and oiled.
Just skinning and then stretching the hide to let it dry doesn't preserve the skin one bit. It will rot on you in no time. You have to flesh the skin properly and then you have to tan it with a good reptile/snake tan. Those you can order through the suppliers. I would recommend either WASCO true tan reptile tan or Rittel's snake tan.
Once it is tanned you have to pin it stretched out on a long piece of cardboard and oil it several times a day for several days (until all the oil is absorbed and the skin won't take any more in). Then you can remove the skin from the cardboard, trim the edges and use it for anything you want to. It will be suitable for hatbands, belts, wallets, etc.
You need to do all this before your snakeskin gets dry and stiff. You cannot resoak reptile skins like you can mammals. Once they are dry that's it, you are out of luck. Put it in the freezer ASAP and wait for your tanning kit to arrive.
Oh boy, I'll get it out of the sun ASAP and into the freezer. I hope it's not too late. Had no plans of skinning one, but when this one(literally) almost struck my toddlers I had to kill and didn't want to waste the gorgeous skin (Mojave Green).
What kind of oil? And once its been oiled and is ready to form the band do you fold the outsides back in and glue it back together?
Order the snake tanning kit from one of the supplier. They come with the oil and the directions. Easy to follow steps.
It is pretty much up to you how you want your hatband to look. Some people attach the skin to some soft leather or felt backing other just use the skin. Personal preference.
Have a nice 3 or 4 foot Eastern Diamondback in my freezer and the WASCO kit is here! I cannot, however, find "lysol in a brown bottle". What does the Lysol do?, Why just a capful?, and can I substitute Pinesol? That comes in a brown bottle... I am eager to start on a nice hatband. By the way, very informative site you have here; lots of good info.
But so does most beer.
Just logged on to this site, hope its not too late. Dont listen to these kids telling you to "oil" or buy expensive junk. You need to wet that skin back down and make it pliable again. The mixture the professionals use and sell to the"kids" that have already replied is a half and half of glycerin and isepropyl alcohol. Let the skin soak in this mixture for 4-5 days then bring it out. To keep it from shrinking and not have holes in it I usually get a 8 in stick and roll the skin up all the while stretching it in width and length, let it dry under a fan for a day, there you go. To make a hat band I would use a silicon and stretch it over a 3/4 in strip of leather. Good luck and I hope you havent put oil on it.
I need to make a cumberbund. The cumberbund is about 6 to 8 inches high and would have 1 inch tucks in it and spread to about 14-16". Reading above, I would need glycerin to soak the skin, but I have to have it made by Tuesday. It is Saturday night. Do you think I can do it? Thanks