Dry Preservative vs Tanning

Submitted by Steve Wallace on 8/19/99. ( slwallace@airnet.net )

I started this art about 18 months ago and bought several video tapes to help me along. I have read several articles and the first videos
I purchased used dry preservative. So this is what I have been using. I have learned this may not be the best method to use. Need your
recommendations. Also, when measuring animals for L/S mounts the catalogs give details on how to measure. Is it best to measure the animal
with the skin on or is it it better to wait after it has been tanned? Is there a difference with large vs. small? If you were to mount a large
animal(bear)would you measure before or after hide removal? Can you use dry preservative on a bear hide?

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Check out earlier Discussions on this one!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 8/19/99. ( rittel@ici.net )

It might be best to check out the earlier questions and answers on this subject. I believe in offering my own customers more than dry preservatives are capable of. An indefinate shelf-life, washability, and more than just a dried raw skin. For your own personal satisfaction - check out what some of the top Taxidermists use! Although some do use dry preservatives - a vast majority of them use tanned skins! Obviously there must be a good reason for this preference!

Dry Preserve

This response submitted by George Roof on 8/20/99. ( georoof@aol.com )

Far be it from me to argue with Bruce on tanned products, but beware of folks who use "dry preservative" as a curse word. For some reason it has taken a group of hits lately. Dry preservative STILL has a very important place in today's taxidermy industry.
I tan all my haired animals, either in shop or professionally, but I'm not hung up in the recent clique of "tanning" snakes, birds, fish, and small game. I have a squirrel that was mounted over 40 years ago with DP and it still looks NO DIFFERENT than it did the day it was mounted. (It didn't look any better then than it does now) But that is the point. A mount depends more on artistry than the method. Mr. Sam Touchstone says it pretty clearly in his catalog about his "Bess Maid" DP.
I have seen some exceptional work done with DP and a good glue, but I like the flexibility, softness, and grooming qualities that a good tan brings to a mount. To my eye, there IS a difference in how big game looks when tanned, but I'd never be able to tell the difference between a rattlesnake tanned or dry preserved nor a duck or goose. You try and you decide. In my view, each has it's place and to decry something because it's not politically correct at the moment is counterproductive.

PS on DP

This response submitted by George Roof on 8/20/99. ( georoof@aol.com )

I got carried away with political correctness and forgot your major question, bear hide.
From sad past experience, you can NEVER, EVER mount a bear using DP without it eventually smelling like rancid grease. I washed, fumigated, powdered, and sprayed, but eventually all my first bears just smelled bad.
For a beginner, I wouldn't recomment tackling a bear as your first tanning job. Try deer first. With the bear, salt it and send it to a reputable tannery until you get comfortable with tanning. When you get it back, it will be groomed and will never smell bad. I agree with Bruce on it lasting a lifetime. My original point was that, in my opinion, tanning isn't for EVERYTHING.


This response submitted by () on 8/22/99. ( () )

you got it right send those greasey bears to a good tannery!


This response submitted by T. K. on 10/18/99. ( )

I use "Bess Maid" on all my animals with great results! I now received my first Black Bear for a lifesize mount,and from what I gather concerning this,off to the tannery he goes!I had been debateing this matter for awhile but George Roof made up my mind.Thanx george!

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