1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

some questions about using dry preservative

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by KatieC, Sep 16, 2017.

  1. KatieC

    KatieC Active Member

    Hi all, I wasn't sure where to post this since it pertained to both gameheads and lifesize. Please move if needed!

    I have some questions about using dry preservative for mounting. I've spent time reading through the archives but still have a few things I'm wondering about. I've never used it before but am changing from tanning to dry preservative.

    Please don't suggest tanning instead; I never planned to use any method other than tanning but have been having such bad reactions after handling tanned hides and leather from various tanneries that I just can't work with them anymore. I've been getting increasingly sick over the last few years and have lost hundreds if not thousands of dollars from missed work time at my day job and medical bills. I've been trying to do some research on what might be going on, but can only find info about skin and respiratory irritation from tanning chemicals. I've been getting a severely upset stomach about 12 to 24 hours after I work with tanned hides. My doctor recommended an allergy specialist but I can't afford to go with my current insurance so am stuck with not knowing exactly what's going on. All of my tanned customer items are being sent out to other taxidermists to finish and I'm getting rid of all my other tanned hides and leathers because I'm done with being so sick. If anyone familiar with chemicals in the tans that could be causing stomach/intestinal issues can give me more info, that would be great! I'd really like some answers as to what's going on.

    Here are my questions for those of you who have had success with dry preservative:

    1. I'm worried that I'm stuck with deer and small mammals only. Are bears totally out of the question now? Or is there a way to degrease them and continue on with mounting using dry preservative? I can't guarantee that any degreasing chemical isn't going to bother me too, I guess!

    2. I've always relied on tanneries to do my hide thinning for me, and have heard that without pickling, I won't be able to shave things down very thin. How does this work? Just shave as thin as I can get and mount it? I generally like my deer capes and everything very thin.

    3. I'm worried about a musty smell or animal smell if the skins aren't tanned. Is this a problem and is there some way to deal with it? My very first lifesize from back in taxidermy school was done with a brush on tan and even that had a musty animal smell afterwards, so I'm worried using DP will be even worse. Not sure if I need to wash things, or how all the steps go without tanning. Or if I need to avoid animals with a stronger smell to them.

    4. Can anyone recommend compatible hide pastes? I've been using Pro-1 but not sure I can continue to do so. I do have some Dermagrip which is think works with DP.

    I think that's it, everything else I've read on DP has made sense to me. Though any advice is appreciated. I feel like I practically have to learn how to do taxidermy all over again! I'm not sure I can even get a product I'm happy with anymore, but I'm going to give it a try, and if I continue to have any health problems, I'll probably have to stop doing taxidermy altogether. Hopefully this works though!
  2. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I had huge allergic reactions both lung and skin, with tanned hides. Turned out to be the tumbling medium I was allergic to.

    When I used DP, I fleshed/ thinned the hide on a beam and then I washed the skin well in Kemal-4. Then I soaked them in DP and water for 20 min. Dried the skin and then DP rubbed into the skin.

    I would use Stop Rot in conjunction with the DP. Use your round knife to flesh and thin just like you would a pickled skin. I have fleshed a raw skin with the round knife, but have never thinned with it on an unpickled skin, others have with success.

    George, JoeyM. and MichaelPas well as others all use DP in one form or another with great success. You can too.

    They make deodorizers that you can use in the wash if you are worried about the musty animal smell. I believe that I read Dermagrip can be used on DP hides. I don't think Pro-i can be used on DP hides.

  3. Dave Byrd

    Dave Byrd Active Member

    Sorry to hear about your health issues, KatieC. I hope the dry preservative works out for you. I've been using it exclusively and have not experience any health problems.

    Your first question...You're not limited to small mammals and deer only. I dp hogs, elk, deer, oryx, antelope, aoudad and other large animals in shoulder, half mount and full body mounts. I've never had the opportunity to dry preserve a bear so I cannot answer your question on that.

    The second question...I don't "shave" or thin my hides. They are fleshed on a beam removing all red meat and membrane. I will flesh deeper on thick necks or other heavy areas of the skin if needed.

    As far as any smell...I've dry preserved all the animals I listed earlier as well as numerous other small game and have had no issues with odor. I wash them all before fleshing with Dawn and a little of the Lysol Concentrate. The Lysol leaves a slight chemical odor (which I like) and once the mount has dried there is no residual odor, chemical or natural.

    Hide paste? I use Second 2 Nature's dry hide paste that is mixed with water. It holds but it does need a little help. I brad detail areas using 20 gauge galvanized brads. I never brad the face though. I'm sure there are other hide pastes that would also work very well if not better.

    I would recommend buying a dvd from Second 2 Nature called "Basic Beginner Whitetail Deer Mounting Techniques with Dan Chase". Don't expect HD quality or current finish work methods. The video was made in the 80's but it does clearly explain how to use the dry preserve method.
  4. KatieC

    KatieC Active Member

    Thanks guys, I appreciate the info. I use Stop Rot on everything already, since I'm kind of slow. I'm hoping I'm not too slow to be working with a raw skin the whole time.

    The old Dan Chase video should be fun to watch, haha. I'll check it out.
  5. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I saw a video once that they DP'd a deer, I believe, on youtube. It looked like a decent video.
  6. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    OK, From the top:

    1) Sadly, you're going to have to forego bears probably. I have done enough of them to kknow that they are super greasy. I flesh and shave my bears before I send them out, so I'm pretty confident in my shaving ability. Even then, they take FOREVER to salt dry because of the grease in them. I just can't recommend a way where eventually your bear won't get a rancid smell to it because of that. I presume that if you washed it enough, the grease would go away, but a bear is actually pretty thin skinned and there's an equally good possibility that the hair will fall out from the high pH soap concentrations. I'd contract them out if I wasn't able to do them myself. Many many moons ago, I got a guy with a sob story who begged me to DP a full lifesized bear with DP to save tanning costs. I did and he PAID ME IN ROLLED UP PENNIES. He was so happy with the bear. He took it home to a small "modular" home and set it in his closed, west facing living room. A week later he's demanding his money back as the living room smells like a can of rancid lard. I gave him half his pennies back, reminded him what I'd told him about tanning, and told him never to come back to my shop ever again.

    2) You've been told wrong. I can shave a deer just as spooky thin green as I can pickled or tanned. Now I use SAWDUST (stay away from salt as it dulls your blade and corrodes hell out of it.) Take your green hide and dip it in sawdust. Then shave the sawdust off. If you feel the hide is too thick, reapply the sawdust and shave it again. The sawdust gives you a good visual marker of where you've been and allows you to get rid of the membrane. Contrary to what some people will say, you can mount a whitetail that hasn't been shaved. Years ago, they were simply scraped, DPd and mounted.

    3) Allay your fears. Actually DP eliminates odors. (WEAR RUBBER GLOVES. DP can dry your skin out as well as your hide. Not using gloves can cause dermatitis. Afterwards, use a good hand lotion. Those are the only hands you've got.) Wash your skin as you usually would. I'd use Dawn or some other mild detergent. Then spin dry the hide (or sling it around your head till you get dizzy and the water has been spun away). Wrap your hide in a dry towel, skin side to the towel. Leave it for about 20 minutes. Unfold it. (Here's where I spray the hide down with Stop Rot). Then DP your hide if you're ready to mount it (freeze it if you aren't). Personally I feel the best DP ever made is put out by Wesley Touchstone and Touchstone Supply. His Bess Maid does have naphtha flakes (moth crystals) and if you're allergic to them, you'll have to look around. Good DP has about 50% unscented talcum powder, 40% powdered borax and 10% Alum. The talc dries the skin, the borax inhibits insects and the alum is an astringent that locks down the hair. (One important thing to remember is that the alum takes time. At some point during DP if you grab the hair, it will pull free. DON'T PULL THE HAIR. When the hide dries, the alum will lock the hair down.) I use DP always on horned animals. As soon as cores are removed, I dump DP in them. No smell, no flies.

    4) If you're not using Stop Rot in your process, I recommend the epoxy based hide pastes. DP constricts the hide greatly so the entire form must have hide paste on it. Skimping on hide paste just invites shrinkage. DP is susceptible to humidity and the hide will expand when in contact with moisture. Another good reason for epoxy. Every suppliers sell DP compatible hide paste but make sure before you buy it. If you don't, the hide paste instantly turns into bubblegum when it contacts the borax.
    Wally Gator likes this.
  7. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Now That is your answer. Thanks for chiming in George.
  8. KatieC

    KatieC Active Member

    Wow, thanks George! No bears for me then. :( I'll need to get some junk capes to practice shaving, since I'm not at all comfortable with the fleshing machine yet. The sawdust sounds like it should help see what I'm doing, good tip.

    Yep, I'm going to start wearing gloves with pretty much everything taxidermy related that I do now. Don't want to develop any more reactions to anything! I might still be ok with alum tans but I don't want to risk getting sick again to find out. Not sure what ingredients the tans may have in them other than the alum. I'd like to avoid the mothball smelling DP. I had some of that a while back and had to throw it out because I couldn't stand the smell.

    Thanks again, everyone!
  9. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Don't get your DP from Research Mannikins if you don't like mothball smell.
  10. KatieC

    KatieC Active Member

    That's where it came from, hahaha!
  11. rogerswildlife

    rogerswildlife Rogers Wildlife Taxidermy Tommy Rogers

    Second to nature DP I've been using it for over 30 years and haven't had any problems plus no offensive smell. I'm with George on the bear tanning! I would never DP one .
  12. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    I was doing a squirrel recently and decided to use DP. Never used it on a mammal. I also used mcKenzie hide paste. The two react to each other and the paste is no longer paste. It resembles foam saw dust mixed with water.
    George likes this.
  13. swampfox2

    swampfox2 Well-Known Member

    I totally agree with George. When I first started, like many others at the time, I used Bess Maid DP exclusively. You don't have the time to drag around with it like you would with a tanned cape because it is a raw skin. Stop Rot came along thanks to Glen Conley, which is a game changer for dp users. It gives you a little more time to work up the cape in the raw state before applying dp and mounting. I started out using powdered hide paste like most of the era,and when the cape dried it pulled in detail areas thus required pinning also. Then along came Ron Carter's Lock Tight two part epoxy glue. Like Stop Rot, it was another game changer for DP users. Unfortunately it is no longer on the market, but one that is almost as good is called headlock. They are a little pricey, but your dp capes will have very little adjustment after 5-6 hours. So you have to get things like you want them before you walk away and once it cures you can't get it off the form with a wrecking bar. If any gets on the hair have your lacquer thinner handy and wipe it off. You get lots of stretch from a raw cape and if you don't use a good glue you get lots of shrinkage/pulling. All this dp talk makes me want to dp another mount. ;) Jack.
  14. KatieC

    KatieC Active Member

    I've been meaning to ask if the DP will work on really greasy small mammals like raccoons, or if I need to skip those too. Not sure what else might be too greasy, just bears and raccoons came to mind.
  15. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    DP will work just fine on Raccoons, beavers, and otters but you MUST degrease them first. After fleshing and shaving, I was them in Bloodout/Degreaser from EpoGrip and then with Dawn. I rinse them and towel dry them. I spray the hide with Stop Rot then I tumble them in corncob grit. Once the hair is dry, I rub in the DP and mount. Never had an issue.
  16. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    Do not use DP with Mckenzie hide paste. I decided to do a squirrel using DP along with hide paste. I don’t know what chemical reaction happens but the paste resembles foam dust and water mixed together.
  17. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Most hide pastes will state if it will work with DP or not and if they don't, make sure before you use.
  18. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    They have Instructions?? Katie would have caught that then as I’m sure any other woman would.
  19. bhymel

    bhymel Member

    Michal P has a recipe for hide past, in the tutorial section . Works great for DP or tanned hides.
    Where you put the skin is where it stays .
  20. bob watkins

    bob watkins Member

    do you use earliness with epoxy or will bondo ears work ?