I am in the process of building a tumbler, and I was wondering if there is a cheep way to get good hardwood sawdust. From what I have read in this forum it takes a lot of sawdust for one deer cape. (My tumbler is made out of a 55 gal drum) Can sawdust be reused, and is there a cheep place to get it? Also will borax from the grocery store work instead of Puffed borax, or do I need to order that Puffed borax?
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I recommend that you get sawdust from a taxidermy supplier. that's
your best way to ensure consistency and protect your skins.
you can order a large bag (maybe 40-50 pounds for 20-30 dollars)
and it should last a very long time.
the sawdust is re-useable as long as you dry it between capes.
fill your tumbler about 6 to 8 inches deep.place 2 large boxes nearby.
after tumbling a skin, remove at least 1/2 the mix and place it box A.then refill the tumbler with fresh mix.
after the next cape, remove 1/2 the mix and place in box B. then re-fill the tumbler from box A (which should have dried out by now)
you can just keep rotating the mix and use it for many capes. just give each batch a day to dry before re-use.
when you begin to notice a loss of effectiveness with the tumble mix, then discard and replace with fresh stuff.
Borax---the grocery store stuff is fine for capes, (puffed is better for birds),
however, it isn't necessary to add it to the mix. put it on the cape instead. (I have a large tub of DP on the counter. I drop the cape in it and make sure it is completely covered. then toss in the tumbler.
borax will gradually be added to the tumble mix that way (which is just fine)
you don't have to re-preserve the cape either. enough DP will stick to it (inside and out) to do the job properly.
Hope that info helps