What kind of media is best for deer and elk hides? and can the same media be used on softer fur such as mink? How much media does it take to tumble a deer hide and can it be reused over and over?
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For Deer and Elk usually Hardwood pitch free Sawdust is preferred. Besides being absorbant to moisture, it also provides some friction that shines the tips of the longer hair. It is also used to tumble fine furs.
In a 4' Wide X 6' High Drum - 100 Lbs. of sawdust is used. This 100 Lbs. of Sawdust plus the weight of the skins in the Drum is what actually makes the skins soft and replaces breaking them by hand.
No - its not used over and over. The sawdust accumulates the natural oils in the fur or hair, as well as some of the tanning oils used. Loose or dead fur or hair are also present. It quickly becomes dirty and if you want nice clean skins - it should be dumped after cycling it through 1 load.