Honest question about commercial tanning.

Submitted by Tony on 1/31/00. ( tholder85@yahoo.com )

I am a rookie and I have a question and I am looking for an honest answer. I am considering trying a commercial tannery for my deer capes. My question is this. Can I expect my capes to fit a form with the dimensions measured prior to caping, or am I going to have significant shrinkage? I have home-tanned three or four capes using two different methods and have lost anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of neck size after the tanning process. I am not saying that it was not my fault that I had this shrinkage, it just seems like cape shrinkage is a by-product of tanning. I really want to try commercial tanning, but if I can expect significant shrinkage, I will stick to my current methods. I know a lot of you have the same type customers I have, they want the neck size to be as big as possible, and while I dont expect to make a cape fit a larger form, I dont like to have to use a smaller form either, and neither do my customers.

Thanks for your time,

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I know those customers too...

This response submitted by Mick on 1/31/00. ( MicD63@aol.com )

If you were to take the skin right from the box that the tannery shipped it to you in, and try to fit it over your forms, it will not go.After the hide has been properly rehydrated and sweated in your frige overnight, a little bit of pulling and tugging will return the cape to it raw measurments. The real beauty of the tanned capes lies in the stability of the skin, in that it is much more capable of handling the expansion and contraction caused by the changing humidity and temperatures, without developing cracks in the skin that a dry preserved cape sometimes can.

Tony, It is always a good idea to call the tannery...

This response submitted by Craig on 1/31/00. ( CRtracker@aol.com )

and ask them for a list of references. Every tannery I ever talked to told me their product was the best on the market. The one I am currently working with(you know who I'm refering to) gave me a list of names on request and I personally called them for their opinions. When I was satisfied with that I sent some capes. I will continue to use this tannery as I am extremely impressed with their product and yes, the measurements I take from the raw skin and neck meat is what I use to order my forms.

You will never put a pre-rut cape on a swelled neck form.

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