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Deer Head Skinning Fixture for one-man shops (Usage pictures added)

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by George, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I had posted this some time back as a novelty under "do you know what this is". Many times in one-man shops, caping out a large deer can be a bothersome task if an antler is broken or assymetrical. It's even tougher to hold the head and saw the antlers off. To assist me, I built the following fixture. I used a 12 inch round plaque, 4 pieces of 1/2 firring strips and a 4 foot piece of 3/4 inch dowel rod. I used drywall screws to secure them to the plaque.


    First I cut 4 pieces of firring strips (strips are precisely 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch) in 8 3/4 inch lengths. I cut them at a 5 degree angle on a miter box. On one end, I took a rattail file and rasped a concave groove in one end of each strip.


    I centered all four on the bottom of the panel so that they formed a 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inch square at the bottom. I marked them and predrilled holes in the panel and connected them with drywall screws. Then I cut 4 dowels so that the INSIDE measurement would be 5 3/4 inchs. These were cut with 45 degree miter cuts on the end and screwed them into a square. I set them atop the firring strips and drilled hole in the center of each dowel so that the firring strips would support the sides of the "square" it formed. Then I cut 4 pieces that were 2 1/2 inches on the OUTSIDE of the dowel cut at 45 degrees. I used the rattail file to groove both ends so they'd "round out the corners" and fit over the dowels in the "square". I cut and sanded the outside corners of the square because a rounded dowel cut at a 45 will gnaw you up pretty good if you don't. That left me with an octagonal fixture to hold the head and allowed the muzzle to fit down inside the cone it created. It fits the face and gravity locks it down so that you don't risk rubbing hair off. Too loose - the head wobbles. A cylindrical fixture will simply make contact in a narrow ring around the face and risk cutting hair. This allows me to fold the hide back and remove excess neck meat and cut off the neck at the Atlas. It also holds the head so that I can take my bone saw and cut the skullcap precisely like I want it. I just have to take care in not cutting too far down and into the dowels. On smaller deer, I simply set a wad of paper down at the cone tip to raise the head up where I can work on it. I may have $10 in the fixture, but most of that is in the round panel. You COULD use something else, obviously, but it has to be wide enough to keep it from tipping over. I simply can't skin out a deer head anymore without it.
    woakley144 likes this.
  2. 7arrows

    7arrows New Member

    Re: Deer Head Skinning Fixture for one-man shops

    Well now I have to build one!!!!!

  3. troy

    troy New Member

    Re: Deer Head Skinning Fixture for one-man shops

    WONDERFUL!! Thank you kind sir. Now I need to go get the materials and get to building it. Off to Lowes! Thanks again.
  4. njwhitetail

    njwhitetail New Member

    Re: Deer Head Skinning Fixture for one-man shops

    That would have been great to have last night around 11:30 when I was finishing up the heads that were dropped off yesterday! I wanted to go to bed but hate freezing a fresh head. Thanks!
  5. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    Re: Deer Head Skinning Fixture for one-man shops

    Well Gman...I made me one. Took me all of 20 mins. 5 mins looking for the damn 3/4 in dowel rod that I never found. Kid must have been playing with it and left it somewhere other than where it is suppose to be. Had to use 1/2 instead. Cut my boards and dowels and beveled the ends on the belt sander, Glue and screwed together in 10 mins, and then another 5 mins looking for the camera which isn't to be found. Becky went to twon and must have taken it with her. So, 20 mins give or take in Santa's little woodshop and It's done. I just hope it works now. Will post a picture when the mrs. decides to land with the camera. Went together like a gem. Nice tutorial. Thanks again. Can't wait to give it a try.
  6. Re: Deer Head Skinning Fixture for one-man shops

    I am Going to make one tonight and try this out. Thanks for the tutorial.
  7. GC424

    GC424 New Member

    Re: Deer Head Skinning Fixture for one-man shops

    made one tonight thanks George
  8. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Here are pictures of the fixture in use in my shop today. The first picture is of an uncaped hide just brought in. That much neck meat is ideal for taking measurements, but afterwards, I like to remove it at the Atlas before I start my "Y" incisions. The first picture shows how the muzzle of the head fits into the fixture and the second one shows how I use the fixture top as a work table to remove the meat.



    After caping the head out, I use it to hold the head while I cut the antlers free. I still use a handsaw as FOR ME it gives me better control than my SawzAll. As you see, I can cut down through the back of the skull to the center of the eye orbit without hacking up my fixture.


    And finally, I use the fixture top as a table again as I lop of the cap. No sliding around and very little mess.

  9. Awesome George,thanks for sharing !! ;)
  10. Marking... that is a great idea george.
  11. kdogg_4

    kdogg_4 New Member

  12. brelo

    brelo Winchester

    Thanks George!!!!!

    We are so lucky to start out with some of the knowledge that you guys spent your life learning.

    Thanks again!!!
  13. Marking great tread

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  14. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Sorry for dragging up an old post, but I had another taxidermist in the shop today, and when I pulled this out, he said he had to make one. I told him it was in the "Tutorial" section and he said he never looks there.

    With deer season approaching and many of you beginners heading into the busiest time of the year, perhaps this could give you a third hand when you need it most.
  15. That looks pretty handy George! I may have to make one for myself
  16. NTR

    NTR New Member

    Guess i'm just a dumb hillbilly, i just use a hole cut out in my skinning table.....
    Nice tho George
  17. This is really great thanks ;D I have been using a cinderblock it works, but this would be much lighter and more maneuverable.
  18. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    Great tutorial! I'm gonna build one pronto!
  19. DOUG H

    DOUG H Member

    thanks george a picture is worth a thousand words to this beginner
  20. 3daddys

    3daddys New Member

    ttt please