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Uggh....taxidermy or butchery??

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by danalley1, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. danalley1

    danalley1 New Member

    Well, I spent the evening attempting to finish splitting and rough fleshing my first "practice" doe cape. Gotta tell ya, you guys/gals make it look easy!

    After cutting thru several areas, I probably got a little gun shy and didn't get it clean enough in other areas. Knowing this, I opted to mix my Krowtann and plan on soaking it for a few days and removing it for another once over before letting soak another day or so. Is this a bad idea? I figured I just needed to jump in, get dirty and experience the affects of the tan and learn/go from there...

    My 13 yr old daughter chuckled at me when I told her "I wasn't sure if I was trying to learn taxidermy or how to be a butcher". (no offense to butchers, they are skilled masters of the meat!) Maybe I should have said "hacker"!
  2. Mike Powell

    Mike Powell Well-Known Member

    Once the cape has been in the Krowtan at least three days, and it is soaked through in all areas (no pink fleshy spots left) then I would go ahead and neutralize, rinse and let drip dry for an hour or so then proceed to do your final fleshing. You'll find it is a lot easier to flesh after the Krowtan. A lot of guys do their final fleshing after or during the pickling process, when using other tanning products. Takes a lot of practice, you'll cut lots of holes and a finger or two along the way, but you'll get the hang of it! Enjoy it and appreciate the gift of giving your daughter something to laugh at!

  3. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    A trick to opening lips, eyes and nostrils, is to use a sharp knife like a scalpel, and slowly just scratch with the tip of the blade instead of sawing through a 2 X 4 stud.
  4. cremmick

    cremmick New Member

    Yes, a little finesse goes a long way. When doing the splitting always have your fingers directly under the skin where you are cutting. Your fingers will serve as a guide as to how deep to cut. Know exactly what your scalpel is going to cut before you do the cut. It's not a race your first time, but a learning experience. Trust me you learn to make accurate cuts real fast, because if you cut too much or too deep your finger will pay the price. Good Luck.
  5. HAPP

    HAPP Active Member

    Doe capes are very thin compared to a buck. And it is very easy to cut through the skin.
    When you work on a buck cape, you will see the difference.
  6. bearrug48

    bearrug48 Active Member

    Keep at it .We have all been there.It does get easier with practice.
  7. Yes it does, thank goodness! Cutting holes well give you practice sewing.
  8. DickGJ

    DickGJ Speak softly and carry a Big Stick!

    Rest assured you're not alone...I just started too and have experienced the same thing until I s-l-o-w-e-d down. I may take 4-5 times longer than these pro's here...but that's the way I'm told it goes until we get more EXPERIENCE under our belts. I'm not sure if you've ever skinned a squirrel or a weasel yet...and I thought there was no way we would be required to turn the lips on the weasel...but found out from these experts that they even turn the lips on a freak'n field mouse! Aargh! Since turning the lips on my first squirrel and weasel, they look like they have some kind of dang gum disease! Pathetic!

    Keep at it...we'll press on and struggle together until we get better. Heck, maybe someday we'll be offering up some advice to beginners on T.net
  9. country

    country New Member

    Tell me about it. I just spent 8 hrs rough fleshing and splitting an elk cape. I still didn't finish. my back was killin me and i was getting flustered :mad: :'(. I just had to walk away. I'm glad to hear it DOES get easier.
  10. danalley1

    danalley1 New Member

    I appreciate the replies and consolation stories. I must be doing something right if I'm doing something wrong! Lol ??? I'd say more, but I'm using my phone and my thumbs are sore from gripping and working the hide with them and my index fingers! Haha....gotta go agitate the krowtann
  11. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    One sided razor blades..must faster and better than scalpels.
  12. I use tazzymoto's yellow thing for splitting lips, eyes, nose. I find that it has really made splitting lips easier. Another sweet thing is that I get 4 blade edges out of those sharp a** carpet blades from Personna.
  13. DickGJ

    DickGJ Speak softly and carry a Big Stick!

    What is this Tazzymoto's yellow thing and where do I buy one? I'll try anything that folks recommend making this procedure easier!
  14. HAPP

    HAPP Active Member

  15. DickGJ

    DickGJ Speak softly and carry a Big Stick!

    THanks HAPP!
  16. danalley1

    danalley1 New Member

    Well, I removed my doe cape from the krowtann, neutralized, rinsed and washed with liquid tide. I let it hang for a little over an hour like Carter did in the dvd. Then the discouragement set in... I knew to start off that I probably didnt have it rough fleshed thoroughly enough, especially in the face detail areas and also noticed at the bottom of the cape, it had some slimy fatty area here and there. I'm just not sure?
    The thick meaty area in the chin and around the nostrils probably didnt penetrate well enough and when I try to thin out the meaty areas, i'm exposing the folicles of the whiskers, will this make them fall out? I'm thinking about just letting this one dry to experience what the whole tanning process does to the hide, or doesnt do if it didnt penetrate fully.
    Watching a dvd numerous times is one thing, but experiencing the affects, textures, stretch, etc. in person is another thing....alot to be said for the advantage of those beginners that have a mentor available i suppose....
    Should I have these slimy, mucousy areas here and there after completing the tan/neutral procedures? The feel of my cape is suspicious enough to make me think that something isn't right, but I could just be panicking due to lack of experience?
  17. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    There should be no slimy spots after the tan, zero spots.

    "a lot to be said for the advantage of those beginners that have a mentor available i suppose..." You said it all right there. You have the best video, the closest thing to a mentor, yet seeing it done goes a long way.
  18. TWinter

    TWinter Winter taxidermy

    Put it back in the tanning solution and repeat the procedure.
  19. danalley1

    danalley1 New Member

    Thanks for the input. I think it tanned properly, after neutralizing, the skin had a different feel to it. From what i understand, neutralizing "pumps" the skin and I think the different feel of it and excessive moisture content freaked me out.
    Frustrated, I allowed it to hang in my garage for a few hours, towel dried it and it felt much more like I thought it should. I did have a few spots of thin fat near very end of bottom of cape that i should've been more thorough in fleshing off and the meaty chin and nostril area could've been fleshed some more also?
    But, all in all, it has a nice white color (facial area appears "dirty"?) and has so far, served it's purpose. I've already learned a bit and gained the understanding that I need patience, time and persistance...
    I'll invest in some stoprot before next green cape experience to ease my mind and give me time for more thorough rough fleshing....