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some questions about using dry preservative

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

  1. KatieC

    KatieC Active Member

    Awesome, thanks so much.
  2. MatthewCRick

    MatthewCRick New Member


    I am new to the forum and noticed your post about DP. I also think I noticed that you are in MN (very bad for DP)? I was a professional taxidermist and College instructor for Taxidermy for 20+ years. My family has operated a shop since 1914. Sorry to hear about your allergic reactions to tanning. It's not to uncommon. I wonder if you used wet tanned skins or fully tanned skins that you re hydrated. I used to have some problems with wet tanned skins that allows the chemicals to leach.

    I would strongly urge you to not use DP for any mount that you expect to last and or is for a paying customer. I myself and many of my friends had tried many different approaches to DP and it has never been a reliable preservative for anything other than birds and fish. It's simply not a professional grade solution. One of the main problems is that it is very susceptible to the extreme contraction that happens in winter months especially in northern climates. Years ago we extensively tested DP since it offered the huge advantage of potentially allowing us to mount heads sooner in the season and save us the cost of tanning and shipping which would improve the bottom line. All tests over many years were eventual failures. The DP'd skins just will not hold up over time. They are not tanned. Tanned skins are impregnated with sulfinated oil which will help them stretch as need. I would suggest you try using quality fully tanned skins from tanneries such as New Method or Wildlife, in San Francisco. I am relatively sure that there tanning is a derivative of salt and alum which is very safe. You simply re-hydrate your tanned skins. Use some latex gloves if desired but you will notice there will be NO offgassing other than the luster they use in dressing the hair. Also, note that these are not technically tanned skins they are Fur Dressed....same process that is used in making fur coats. If you do want to try DP....I would suggest you try and use bondo for the entire face and head of the mount DP usually starts to deteriorate there first.

  3. Dave Byrd

    Dave Byrd Active Member

    MatthewCRick, welcome to the forum but what a load of crap! If half of the garbage I've heard about dp were true then nothing I'd mounted since '96 would have survived. Your tests that were "eventual failures" probably says more about your mounting technique than it does dry preservative. I've seen entirely too many dry preserved mounts hold up and stand the test of time to believe even an ounce of the nonsense being peddled about it.
  4. KatieC

    KatieC Active Member

    MatthewCRick, over the years I've used both wet tanned skins and rehydrated dry tanned skins from a variety of tanneries. I'm not 100% sure what type of tan may be making me sick, but the ones from the commercial tanneries do for sure. I don't necessarily think it's even the tanning agent, it may be a deodorizer or fragrance used by the tanneries. From what I have a record of, I get a severe reaction from H & H tans, have also gotten sick from another strong smelling tan from an unknown tannery (doesn't smell like Wildlife Gallery or H & H). and have even gotten sick after putting some upholstery leather on an antler mount. I'm too scared to touch anything again, even alum tans just done by individuals and not the big commercial places. Getting violently sick to your stomach from something is a pretty good way to end up with a strong desire to completely avoid it!

    So if the DP doesn't work, I may have to stop doing taxidermy entirely. But there are plenty of people out there having success with DP and the more I read about it, and the more I don't think it's a terrible way to do taxidermy. I was going to experiment with it and see how things hold up over time. I'm not taking any customer work until I'm sure I'm happy with the result. Yep, I'm in northern MN so we do have the cold, dry winters with fairly humid summers. I was going to mount some stuff up once I get my fleshing wheel up and running and see how it goes.
  5. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Matthew, I have to agree with Dave Byrd. For eons I've heard that same load of crap. Now what could you POSSIBLY have different in Minnesota than people in Florida or even Delaware have to make you conclude that it's "bad"? Like a lot of other issues, this one was told once, sold as gospel, and has continued for ages. The most important thing that I have to ask, however, is how you mount birds? If DP is such a terrible thing in Minnesota, then why have the same taxidermists who prolong this lie use DP to mount birds? Why aren't birds having the same issue as animals? Perhaps if one lived in a greenhouse, there could be some problems but your tanned hides will mold just as quickly there. Traditional tanning has taken a back seat to many of the processes out there for the single owner taxidermists. The paint-on "tans" were called "slip cream" years ago. The fancier ones were called "pickle tans" and were said to be a poor excuse for a "real" tan. I have a small buck that has intrinsic value to me in my family room. It was mounted with an open "browsing" mouth in 1985 using DP. I have a dozen others that were tanned and when I say the 1985 deer looks as good (or bad) as all the others I have, you can take that to the bank. I also have a lifesized fawn that was mounted in 1978 using DP and it too looks as good as it did when it was mounted. The ears have drummed and been repaired, but in 1978, Van Dykes began selling plastic earliners. I used them but no glue available at that time held plastic. That deer has been to West Virginia, South Carolina, and here in Delaware and the mount still looks good (at a distance at least). The DP horror story needs to stop.
  6. dwimberly

    dwimberly Member

    AMEN to George. I have been using DP on most mounts now for the better part of 2 decades. All of my whitetail mounts are DP. The only things that I really tan are animals from out of state. By tanning I know, or feel like, I can stop any bacterial that may have started growing while transporting the animal. Also I am not sure of the field care between the time the animal was harvested and the time it arrived in my shop. I have DP Elk, Rams, and other large American game, knowing what I know now, it is the hard way to do things but it can be done. I have never had a minutes trouble with them either. I have my first racked buck hanging in my shop that my dad mounted for me back in 2001 and it was DP. It still looks as good today as it did 16 years ago. Being I am a part timer, my shop will go though temperature extremes from hot to cold and I live in MS where the humidity if beyond awful. Lets be honest, the big difference between DP and tanning is this; do you want your mount to be a raw hide, or a piece of leather?
  7. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    All of my DP'd critters have faired just as well as my tanned critters over the years. I home tanned some, had some professionally tanned and some DP'd just so I could monitor the progress over the years and I have to say, honestly, they all have faired exactly the same. Hot dry shop in the summer, near freezing, damp shop in the winter, they all have gone through it year after year (some of them are at 30 years) and all have remained like they were when first mounted. I prefer a tanned hide for most things because I like to work with them when mounting, however, will sometimes DP for what ever reason I have at the time.
  8. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    James Supply has a glue called "Stick It" works AWESOME for both tanned and DP skins!