I have a beautiful zebra skin which has a fabric backing. It was legally culled in 1930s and I have letter from Comm. of Preserve to that effect. It now has several 10" rips in it and they are worsening. Who could repair these rips for me please?
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It sounds a lot like your hide was tanned with alum. Alum seems to be making a comeback in this business, but the symptoms you describe are to be expected with that junk. Anyway, about the only resort you have now is to put a heavy coat of oil on the hide. I'd suggest a cheap handlotion for that oil. Let it saturate the skin and in a day or two, take a very fine needle and "invisible thread" (2 pound monofilament fishing line) and sew your tears back together. After than, you're going to have to lay the hide out flat, possibly on a sheet of plywood, glue it down on it and keep it that way. Any bending will only create more tears in the skin.
Sorry, that's about all that can be done at this point.
send it to b&js rugs in high ridge missouri. ph. 636-677-0012. ask for ken. they can professionally take care of the above for-mentioned steps for you, they do wonders with this sort a thing. george has got it right.
Just got back from the World show ,where I had a Wholesale rugmaking booth and saw your post. Tried to e-mail you, but it keeps coming back. I have been repairing rugs for the taxidermy industry for the last 16 years and am sure I can help you with your needs.Please feel free to e-mail or call me at your convenience.
Mary's Wholesale Rugmaking