First, I'm just starting to get into tanning skins, and I've found this forum to be very informational and educational. Right now, I'm working on tanning some squirrel skins before I tackle anything else to make sure I get the process down good. My question is this: Will I need to shave a deer hide, not a cape, for a wall hanging or something similar. From what I've read something like a squirrel or similar does not have to be shaved. I realize on a larger hide, such as a deer, tanneries will shave the hide, but since this will be a wall hanging I don't need the softest and most supple end result. I've searched the archives and haven't found an answer to this question yet. I will be using Rittel's EZ-100 tanning kit for this project if it matters. Thanks a lot!
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Nick , I dont know the answer to your question as I send all my skins out . If your interested in buying any deer hides , I have about 100 of them all salted and fleshed . firstname.lastname@example.org
Animals like squirrels that have thin skins don't have to be shaved but all of your thicker hides like deer ect. should be shaved. not only does shaving thin a hide out to make it softer, it helps you make sure that you get all of the meat and fat off the hide so that your tan will penetrate completly.
That is what I used to do several years ago. I still do it on occasion if the customer requests it. After tanning, (and rinsing)give it a spin dry and nail out in desired shape, on a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood and let dry. No need to oil and the hide will be FLAT, no wrinkles in the leg pits. But brush the hair straight before nailing or you may get unwanted curlys. Then trim off the nail holes with a razor blade or sharp knife.
Thanks a lot for the responses guys!