Zebra Tanning

Submitted by Brad on 2/23/05 at 11:26 PM. ( tanner@mnsi.net )

Just curious if anyone has tried tanning a zebra? I had heard you need special equipment; not sure what that means. Is there some type of a bug layer on the skin that makes it tougher to break? Any comments would be appreciated.

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Brad, send it out

This response submitted by George on 2/24/05 at 8:10 AM. ( georoof@aol.com )

The "special equipment" is a special shaving machine to remove the thick layer on the rump skin. The one I saw at Carolina Fur looked a lot like a rotary lawnmowever on a table like a laundry pressing machine. I was amazed at the effort it took to shave the zebra and Rick Morgan told me he only had a few people who were able to shave zebra on that machine. Skeered me away from thinking about doing one myself.


This response submitted by Heath Cline on 2/24/05 at 8:50 AM. ( heath6799@yahoo.com )

Brad, I don't know if you are talking about a lifesize or shoulder mount. But you can shave and tan youirself. I did my own zebra pedestal mount. I tanned it with citric acid and liqua tan. BUT, like George said I would send it out. If I was to do over again I would send it out to a tannery.

shoulder or rugs

This response submitted by Laurier on 2/24/05 at 9:21 AM. ( houlel@onlink.net )

I do much bigger and much heavier skins then that I do all my own tanning with no problem.Braking the skin as it dries and tumbling,is the bigest think. Any questions call me at (705)476-0483

Life size

This response submitted by Mark H on 2/24/05 at 12:11 PM. ( haskees@access4less.net )

I did a foal lifesize myself that died shortly after birth on a private ranch. The skin was very different than the adult shoulder mount that I had done before. Next time I'll ship it out.


This response submitted by David Patton on 2/24/05 at 12:27 PM. ( )

The hide has a layer of cartilage that swells up in the acid pickle. The machine George is talking about is called a 12" Turner and it is commonly used in the furdressing industry to handle the larger hides. It is almost a requirement for zebras. The cape or shoulder mount can be done by hand, but you will still encounter the tough layer at the bottom of the cape.

Best results for rugs and lifesize mounts are achieved by utilizing the Turner machine. This creates the least amount of damages when operated by an experienced user. If you try this on your own, you will probably end up with a lot of quarter sized holes all over the hide.

use a fleshing machine

This response submitted by Laurier on 2/25/05 at 9:28 AM. ( houlel@onlink.net )

If you can use a fleshing machine ,you can shave that skin down ,thin with no problems,and NO HOLES at all.

Wow, Laurier, REALLY!

This response submitted by proskinnertts on 2/26/05 at 5:35 PM. ( Proskinnertts@aol.com )

You mean these tanneries that have been in bussiness for years and years and spend tons of money on equipent and upkeep to do zebras, and the smaller tanneries that send zebras out to the ones with the equipment are wasting there time and money. They only thing they need is a fleshing machine. That is an amazing shed of light, maybe we should let someone know about this.


This response submitted by Laurier on 2/28/05 at 9:50 AM. ( houlel@onlink.net )

no body said any thing about waisting money I only said that you can shave down the skins with a fleshing machine. If you have $20,000.00
to spend on a turner , but the skin can still be done with a fleshing machine. I know ,I do it all the time.

fleshing machine can work

This response submitted by Paul on 3/7/05 at 12:13 PM. ( )

You can use a fleshing maching to shave a zebra. Just use one that is older were the cutting edge of the blad is short 3/16 or so and razor sharp. Go slow, start at the edge and take the cartalige off. It will take a long time and would most likely be cheaper to send it out especialy after you put a few holes in it. Your pickle should swell the skin up first. All these things togeather make it a lot of work no matter how you look at it. Commercial tannners use chemicals and experience with different shaving equip like the turner or round knife to take the cartalige off easier but it is still not an easy task.

good luck


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