Been doing taxidermy for 25 years and have had this happen to me personally twice. My friend called me and said his comerically large tanned elk cape turned to a rubbery texture, shrunk and lost its stretch. He ask if I would know why this would happen. I ask him if his soaking water was hot or warm and he replied that he used water that was warm to hot, not cold as it should have been. My question is, if you soak a comercially tanned cape to relax using hot water and it goes "rubber" on you is it the end of the cape or is there some magic formula to reverse the damage. I think it is headed for the "round can" but can anyone help?
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It was not neutralized after the pickle. He could try 1/2 cup baking soda in 5 gallons of cool water soak the whole cape, shave, soak, shave intil it relaxes. I have had this happen a few times. The water should have had some salt in it.
It was also soaked to long. commercial tan, room temp. water- 1/2 to one hour tops then I roll them up and sweat them overnight in a pastic bag. Ive had the swelling happen and Johns advise is excellent. Ive also just sprickled dry baking soda over the hide and used a sponge to to wash it in, and after a hour or so it will be back to normal but you must freeze or mount right away because the hair will go loose. It will tighten back as it dries on the mount.
John and Jim, thanks for the response. I allways thought it was because of the hot water used for rehydration? Like it got cooked or somthing? One would think that a tanner would properly tan and neutralize the cape, after all he has been using the same tanner for years and the tanner does have a good reputation. I will have him try the baking soda.