Washing wet, dirty capes before salting

Submitted by Lance on 11/11/99. ( )

When deer heads have been dragged through or dropped into soil and it gets on the flesh side and/or the hair is very wet, what precautions should be taken? I normally remove cape from skull and then freeze. Once thawed, fleshed, and turned, should I wash with a bactericide, spin, and then salt? Is this necessary? I haven't had problems yet but received a real dirty cape last night and, like everyone else, I don't want to take any chance with future slippage!! Thank you for your advice, Lance

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Do it before Pickling!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 11/11/99. ( rittel@ici.net )

If its unusually filthy - sponge it off and towel dry it, then do your salting and dry it. When you rehydrate it and after its soft again, then I'd advise a QUICK wash to clear it again, a rinse, and immediately into the pickle. Actually I personally would wait to wash it just before the pickle if it was super dirty! Avoid getting it wet during your salting process - if moisture lays next to the roots of the hair it will tend to plup the epidermis and in turn, loosen the hair. If you can, wait. I do most of ANY washing I do, after its been pickled, and after shaving. I rinse it well afterwards and put it back into the pickle until I've shaved and washed them all. Dont worry about a dirty pickle - its soluable dirt! It rinses off!


This response submitted by Lance on 11/12/99. ( )

Just to clarify, if some of the cape is already very wet at the base or root of the hair, will sponging and towel drying be sufficient? Will washing it in a bactericide before salting just get more of the cape saturated with water even if I spin dry and towel dry? Thanks for your assistance! Lance


This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 11/20/99. ( rittel@ici.net )

Yes - the toweling and sponging will eliminate the excess water, which will otherwise seep down into the epidermal area and lay there causing the epidermis to become weak. The Salt will draw away what little is left. A Bacteriacide does exactly what it is intended to do - but this isnt the case - pulping is similiar to when you take a bath and you stay in too long - your skin gets soft and wrinkly - just like any other skin. It isnt caused by Bacteria. Salt does a lot of things for you - it leaches out unwanted liquids promoting quicker drying times, and it acts as a temporary preservative when the skin is impregnated and dried. My advice is - DONT wet the skin prior to salting and drying. It creates a lot of extra work, and you can accomplish the same results waiting until after its rehydrated and ready to go in the pickle. Actually I always wash my skins and capes after they are pickled and shaved. Dont worry about a dirty pickle - its all soluable dirt and rinses away anyway! You should see a Tannery's pickling solution.

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