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Rotten capes

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Jim August, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. Jim August

    Jim August Member

    I have been a taxidermist for over 42 years and have done a lot of my own tanning but now have all my skins commercially tanned.
    I understand why a cape "slips" due to spoilage, but what causes a freshly tanned cape rejected by the tannery to be "rotten"?
    All the hair is there but the skin is falling apart when you touch or try to strech the rotten part.
  2. Paul B

    Paul B Active Member

    I had a perfectly good looking fox a few years ago do the same thing. It had a spot around 6 inches on its back that the skin just fell apart, nice fur but had a bad spot, maybe old wound or infection, who knows.

  3. Sometimes I think the deer had a long struggle while dying. I have had a few just fall apart, not reason just went to pieces.
  4. iowabowhunter

    iowabowhunter Member

    One of the bucks i shot last year was the same way, started skinning out about an hour after i shot him and it was cold out. As i pulled the skin down if just pull big holes in it. It was a buck but had shed his antlers early. So im guessing he had some sort of injury. All the meat in this spots looked fine but skin was just really weird and you could also just stick your finger threw it.
  5. Jtown

    Jtown Member

    I've heard that driving by a tannery smells awful. Is this a cause of rotten capes piled in a dumpster or another process? How common are rotten capes?
  6. Mike Powell

    Mike Powell Well-Known Member

    Tanned hides sometimes have “acid burn”. A skin in part or whole does not get neutralized sufficiently and the hide continues to deteriorate from the acid in the tan. Tannery rarely accepts responsibility, but rejects it as some unknown defect in the hide. I don’t know enough about the chemical reactions and so forth of the tanning process, but I do know I have had perfectly good hides with no evidence of spoilage or slippage that I sent to commercial tanneries for a dry tan that ended up with this problem. The skin would be literally disintegrating or in a very fragile state subject to ripping apart at the least pull. Not many have been this way, mind you, but some.
    Chippers and Jtown like this.
  7. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Also could be thinned to much
    Jtown likes this.
  8. DTS 1046

    DTS 1046 Member

    I just found a Reindeer cape the same way, it has been stored wet tanned in freezer for a number of years, and as I thawed it out, I unfolded it and the skin just tore like a tissue paper. I remember something years ago about acid rot, which I think means that the pickle was not mixed good, and the skin took on too much acid. The cape has been cut way back to the center of the animal and the cape area looks good. Perhaps I should thaw it out and do a baking soda bath and re-oil. I have nothing to lose except time, and I may gain some knowledge.
  9. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Acid rot is not that but a cape that may not here buffered properly. Which means the tan never set properly.
    Caribou are very thin skinned to begin with , so it’s possible it was shaved to thin or as said acid rot. you could try as said you have nothing to loose on a cape already in bad shape