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Alligator Rug Help

Discussion in 'Reptile Taxidermy' started by rflinn77, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. rflinn77

    rflinn77 New Member

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    Hi, wanted to get some tips & pointers. My alligator rug is about done tanning and I am getting ready to put in onto a board. The tricky part is getting the legs cut right so they will lay flat and stretching the skin so it doesn't curl. Any advise would help, thanks.
     
  2. John67

    John67 Member

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    I'll be at the same point in about 1 week. How did you prevent the curling of edges? I'm planning to lay flat on a piece of plywood and clamp a piece of wood over the edges to prevent curling while drying, unless anyone out there has a better recommendation
     

  3. stroh

    stroh Member

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    You will need to screw 2x4 to the bottom of the ply wood. If you use just plywood it will still bow when it drys. I made with 4 - 8' 2x4s and 2-4' 2x4s. Framed it like a wall.
     
  4. John67

    John67 Member

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    Thanks for the tip Stroh!
     
  5. James Marsico

    James Marsico Active Member

    It has to be a dry tan by a experienced big operation tannery and not a wet tan. I tried one wet tanned and it was a nightmare for me. I finally made it work but nightmare discribed the work involved. I also brushed on liquid soft to the scale side after I stretched the last big croc I rugged that was dry tanned and that helped. Leave it nailed down on the 2x4 reinforced plywood board for at least a month. Thats my experience anyway.
     
  6. John67

    John67 Member

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    James, I'm dealing with a 10'4" gator, and it is definitely more difficult to work with due to the lack of pliability and the need to remove meat from the scutes, however, pressure washer did take care of 90percent of the work. It's an experience for sure! Tannery would have been MUCH easier!

    Thanks for the tip on the month long drying period and oiling the scutes/scales!
     
  7. John67

    John67 Member

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    Wow. A 10'4" gator is an amazing amount of work to tan. It's equally time consuming to stake out since it doesn't stretch that much. I cut a relief near one of the front arms , and that was a mistake. So, I repaired the cut, shaped the legs in desired position, and screwed down some cut to fit plywood. Pictures illustrate how I staked the outline to prevent curling of the edges. I expect it to come out well.

    BTW, EZ-100 tan worked well on the gator.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. John67

    John67 Member

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    Another picture
     

    Attached Files:

  9. John67

    John67 Member

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    Final picture
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Ares

    Ares New Member

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    After laying out and nailing a croc or gator skin to a framed piece of plywood, I build 12" walls around the croc / gator skin. I then place a large sheet or several sheets over the skin making sure that the entire skin is covered by a single layer of sheet. After that, I dump multiple 50lb bags of "very dry" playground sand on top of the skin until the highest area of the skin is covered by at least 2" of sand. Afterwards, I level the sand and place plywood on top of it. I place 45lb, 35lb and 25lb weight plates on top of the plywood to press the sand down against the skin. The sand absorbs moisture as it presses down both high areas and low areas evenly in a way that a flat piece of plywood cannot do - plywood laid directly on top of croc / gator skins can flatten the scutes. Once the skin has dried for over a month, I use a stiff brush and an air compressor to remove the sand and dust that stick to the skin.

    Also,
    Once dry, I seal my skins with an oil based (workable) sealer - not a water based sealer - because ANY water based product absorbed by the skin will cause the skin to curl / buckle. Evap coolers, rainy weather or too much moisture in the air will cause the skins to curl as well.
     
  11. John67

    John67 Member

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    What a great idea. Definitely storing that trick in the memory bank!

    Would you mind sharing which oil based (workable) sealer you use?