What is the best way to mark a cape before it is sent to the tannery. From
what I understand aluminum tags are not good in a strong pickle solution.
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The ONLY way to mark a hide.
Find out where they punch their code, that is how they identify your capes and hides from all the others. Then punch your code marks in another part of the hide. I like to punch my capes on the forehead, between the antlers. The skin is very thick there and unlikely to be torn off or shaved through, and the hair is long enough to cover the small holes. take an old phillips screwdriver and grind it into a three sided punch.
George is write, use a code punched true the hide. The way I use it is very simple, I use only one to four digits and punch a four digit number.That gives you 256 different combinations.(4x4x4x4)
The tool I use is a triangular file. On a grinder, remouve the grouves half ways up and sharpen it until the tree edges are sharp. I used the space behind the ears (for black bear rugs). Make sure all slimy tissue is remouved, then with your file make four lines horizontale and four lines vertical. Were these line intercept is were you want to punch a hole. An inche or two between each line, don't try to cramp the holes in a few inch area. Take six to eigh inches.
If I wanted to inscribe 2134, I would punch two holes on the first line, one on the second, tree on the tird and four on the forth. The reason why I make lines is to line up my holes before the skin is puled one way or the other. By leaving the last half of the file unsharpened, if you push it in all the way, you will bring some hair with the file as your pulling it out, this makes it easier to read when you send your skins to the tannery. Don't forget to keep a record book to know witch number you gave to witch customer skin.
Also indicate this number on both coppies of the work contract, it could save you from arguments, better yet, if the skin is fresh do it in front of your customer before he leaves.
Hope this will help some of you, it workes for me,