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Fox tail splitting

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by wetandwild, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. wetandwild

    wetandwild New Member

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    What is the method used to properly salt and tan a fox tail without splitting? I understand that splitting a tail is a good way to guaranty that it gets properly salted, pickled and tanned. But I purchased a red fox tail that was tanned (or possibly dry preserved?) and only a small incision at the tip was evident. I recently mounted a grey fox and tried that method of just splitting the tip. I packed salt in the tail using a coat hanger. During the pickle stage, I worked the coat hanger inside the tail to ensure pickle reached the area, and did the same thing with the McKenzie Brush on Tan. After about the second day in the pickle, however, I noticed slip on the tip ::) didn't get too worried about it. During the mounting process, I noticed more towards the middle of the tail area. I knew I would end up having to buy a new one. Tried transplanting hair back on. Doesn't look right so I now have an add in the wanted section for a new tail. I was just trying to avoid the extra stitching, probably won't try it again unless someone gives me a tip about how to do it successfully. Thanks.
     
  2. wetandwild

    wetandwild New Member

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    Here are some pics for your viewing entertainment. This my second fox, first gray. Finish work has not been completed yet.

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  3. bill@hogheaven

    [email protected] New Member

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    You need a cord to act as a wick running the length of the tail & out the tip to pull pickle into the tail. Fill the tail with the tan with a syringe.
     
  4. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Rick, you did some very nice work on the gray. The tail did you in, however. Greys have lush, fluffy tails and your mount is either twisted, over stretched, or has hair missing. I see you're looking for another and I hope you plan on changing that thing out as it detracts from the good work you have done on the animal.
     
  5. nitt

    nitt Member

    I agree tail is twisted no doubt about it like bill said those fox are slip happy as it is you need to make sure tan penetrates when im tanning I run a small wire up tail every day to ensure the tail opens up and accepts tanning solution otherwise you got problems.
     
  6. wetandwild

    wetandwild New Member

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    Definately going to replace the tail for the very reason you mentioned, George. I appreciate your remarks. Coming from you, especially. Bill, I'll give another try without fully splitting using your wick method. How about salting and drying prior to the pickle? Do you pack salt down in it with a wire also?
     
  7. Rick you've already figured out it can be tricky to do a fur tail without splitting it. You were given good advice by the guys above if you want to keep doing it that way, but, different species have different situations with the tails. The gray fox can be fatty down to the start of the black stripe on top of the tail, especially from the warmer parts of the US. Reds are pretty lean, coyotes tend to be fatty down about half way, raccoon clear to the tip. What you need to keep in mind is, even if you manage to get it salted, and pickled good so the hair stays in the tail, you still have all that fat left up inside. My suggestion is to split the tail far enough to flesh the fat off, or you can be looking at the same scenario as grousehunter is having with his coon a few post down. Is it worth trying to save a few inches of stitching and run the risk?
     
  8. bill@hogheaven

    [email protected] New Member

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    Rick....I answered your question as asked , how to do it without splitting. Actually here in our shop we split them as Keith suggests. A coon would be split the whole length.
     
  9. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Most of us who've done this for some time learned the lessons Keith spoke of long ago. I'll take shortcuts any way I can in skinning and caping as long as I still maintain access to ALL the skin. All my tails get split and though I cringe when I do it knowing the work I'll end up with, it's just part of the job. A bird defatting wheel is ideal for cleaning that subcutanerous fat out of those areas.
     
  10. bill@hogheaven

    [email protected] New Member

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    I just LOVE sewing up that last 2 inches on a split tail LMAO.
     
  11. wetandwild

    wetandwild New Member

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    Splitting it shall be then. Thanks for the advice. I'm getting practiced up on my stitching abilities and if that's not an area that I can successfully save myself time, than I won't shortcut it on the tails anymore.
     
  12. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I cheat. I start at the tip. When the wire is cut to length, I set the tail tip in place insuring that it is NOT twisted. I put a spot of superglue on the hide and set the wire on it. This allows me to run a small needle through both sides and cinch the tail tip and then I baseball stitch it the rest of the way back to the anus. This also allows me to add or remove clay so that the skin is "filled" without having to later comb it out of the hair.
     
  13. nitt

    nitt Member

    clay in the tail never tried that yet always used foam thanks george im gonna give that a whirl
     
  14. wetandwild

    wetandwild New Member

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    Nitt I picked up that too. I have just wrapped batting on the wire and wrapped that again with serving. Might give the clay a whirl.
     
  15. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    OK guys, I can take a hint. I'm old but I try to think outside the box and stay ahead of the times. I gave up wrapping varmint tails years ago. Here's what I do. When I skin an animal out that the tail will strip out freely from (Squirrels, foxes, etc.)I just strip the tail out, cut off the tail bone from the animal and set it aside.

    I made my own tail splitter out of aluminum flashing. I folded a 4x18 piece of aluminum together. I lay a 12 gage piece of wire in the inner bend and Then beat it flat with a rubber hammer. On one end of the fold I made a mark 1/2 inch up with a Sharpie pen. On the other end, I made a mark 1/8 inch up and then with a yardstick drew a line between the two marks. With heavy shears, I cut the folded aluminu and then pulled the #12 wire. Voila' A splitting guide. I could stick the sharp end into the tail opening and gently push it to the end of the tail. A scalpe blade would run between the folds all the way to the tip. Always cut the bottom side and you'll always have a clean straight cut.

    Now to the tail. I lay the real tail out and cut a length of #12 wire 8 inches longer than the real tail. Then I cut 3 more pieces, each one about 2 inches progressively shorter than the one before. I'm a pack rat and one of the things I save is those cheap extension cords. I shave the insulation and keep rolls of that superfine copper wire. Here's where I use it. I set the two longest wires down on a flat surface. I take the fine copper and start wrapping the themtogether toward the base. When I get to the next shorter wire, it's added to the bundle and I continue towards the base untill all four wires have been bundled in fine copper wire.

    I take a pencil sized rope of Critter Clay and lay it on the work table. Pressing the wire bundle into the clay, I start rolling it back and forth. I use the real tail as a reference and roll the clay until it roughly matches the real tail. THEN I PUT IT IN THE FREEZER.

    When the tanned skin is ready to mount, I take the frozen clay tail out and lay it in the skin. I dot Super Glue on the tip to lock me in and begin sewing towards the butt. The wire has been fozen so the clay doesn't thaw as quickly and you can usually get through the toughest part of the tail before it starts to get mushy. When I get to the base of the tail, I run a couple stitches THROUGH the wire bundle. This cinches the tail in place so it won't slip off and you'll know where the butt of the tail is. With a spade bit, I usually drilll a short hole in the form and then push the rest of the wire bundle through the form and curl it back into the form to lock it down. Now I go back and fill around the tail butt with clay to give me a smooth transition. Tail won't move and open the joint and once the rest of the fox is done, it can be formed under the skin as you like it.
     
  16. wetandwild

    wetandwild New Member

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    Thanks, George. The form I've got has a tail wire. I should just be able to incorporate that as part of the bundle, right. I scrapped all my #2 copper when it wad $1.72 per pound (the Chinese needed it for their new hydro plant), so I guess I'll wrap it with serving or sinew thread. Won't be able to freeze it though on this one unless I either cut the wire off or put entire mount in the freezer. May I ask what what the real gain is? Seems very involved when wrapping doesn't take that long just for the tail. You obviously have come to use this method for a reason. I like the splitting guide idea. Will definately try that. (I may have scrapped my aluminum too)
     
  17. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    Lol crossway, stop and think for a sec...freeze the clay, and then dip it in some glue to get it started...and slide her in! Yes, right next to the wire. That clay will "melt" in no time, and the wire will squeeze right into the clay, trust us!

    Heres another tip...before you sew, comb out the tail real good, and spread the hair one side of the incision or the other. Then run masking tape or semi sticky duct tape down either side of the incision, right over the hair. Then sew her up hair-free, and then pull the tape last. ;) Slick.
     
  18. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Damn Bill. What are we going to do now? We've given away all of our secrets!!!!!!!!!
     
  19. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    Oh but do I ever have some secrets... ;)
     
  20. wetandwild

    wetandwild New Member

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    Thanks all, great tips. The hair taping thing? Will definately give that a shot! I've learned more in this thread than I bargained for! I appreciate you all.