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Tanning vs drying raccoon

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by RJoshi, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. RJoshi

    RJoshi New Member

    Hi all,

    I am new to the taxidermy forum. I was going to help a friend with a raccoon, but my experience is with snake skins. I saw some tutorials for skinning and fleshing the raccoon and then drying it on a board and another process for deer where they salted it. For the drying on a board method, is that sufficiently completed? Is there no tanning with chemicals or brains? Is it two different processes, and if so, whats different bout the end results?

    If you were going more for a display mount and wanted to leave the feet attached, what is the best way to go about that? Sorry for the bombardment of questions.
  2. RJoshi,
    Hides such as Raccoon, Fox, Coyote, Fisher, Bobcat etc. all get fleshed, stretched and dried when being prepped for sale for the FUR MARKET not taxidermy. These dried hides are tanned before being turned into clothing and other items. To answer your question drying and tanning are two totally different process. I myself send anything bigger than a fox to the tannery...fox, raccoons, squirrels, mink, are all animals I treat by soaking overnight in Denatured Alcohol before mounting.

    As far as salting hides, this is a method used to remove moisture out of the hide. Moisture causes bacteria which can lead to decomposition and slippage (hair falling out). This is just another way to dry and preserve the hide until its tanned.

    Hope this helps

  3. RJoshi

    RJoshi New Member

    Ok. That makes sense. So once it is dried it can be tanned. So drying is just kind of an intermediate/holding step, but the hide still needs work before mounting/display, etc. Is tanning the only option or are there other things you can do with a dried hide? Did I understand correctly that you are saying that after you flesh, stretch, and dry you can TAN smaller hides by soaking them in denatured alcohol? After that would the hide be display ready? I really appreciate the reply!
  4. Mike Powell

    Mike Powell Well-Known Member

    For taxidermy purposes, there are a number of methods for preserving a skin. Tanning is one method, arguably the best method (at least in the opinion of some) but is the most time consuming and costly. There are a number of quick home-tan solutions (krowtan being one)which you can use and you can read up on these in the archives. There is also the dry preserve (DP) or the denatured alcohol (DA) methods of preserving skins for mounting. All of which have different methods or techniques too long to be related here in one post. All of these are discussed at length in the archives and there are a number of tutorial posts in the tutorial section of this site. Youtube videos are also available if you search using the above mentioned terminology in your search (example: taxidermy dry preserve a raccoon; or taxidermy using dry preservative, etc.) I recommend doing a lot of research and reading taking advantage of the information available here, then proceed.
    Personally, I would salt the hide and let it dry, then do research and go from there.
    elektroyu likes this.
  5. I agree with Mike above, There is a plethora of information on this site. What you should do is continue your research until you figure out what you're looking to do with the specimen, then proceed with the option you want. But to answer your question, you can not tan a dried skin...it would have to be rehydrated, pickled, neutralized and then tanned.
  6. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Also, as you are working with a raccoon, you seriously need to scrape off every bit of grease before you dry it if you have not already done so. Any grease left on the skin will damage it (grease burn) when you try to tan it. Get the skin over something and remove all the grease. When you think you are done, stretch the hide over a board/2x4/plank and scrape hard with the edge of a spoon if you don't have a proper scraper. There is another layer of fat right up against the skin that you need to get off. You can keep putting salt on it to help soak up the grease and to be able to keep a grip on the hide as you work on it.