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Cape Fitting Issues

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by E. Byrd, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. E. Byrd

    E. Byrd Member

    the last 3 deer I’ve done I have taken very careful meat measurements. When I go to test got the capes on all 3 of em the form seems way too big in the neck. Am I the only one with this issue ? I can’t figure out what the heck I’m doing wrong. I was told by a few guys in a taxi group that hide stretchers where a waste of time but I’m starting to wonder.
  2. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Pulling the neck tight back from the head to the shoulders will make your skin too skinny for the neck circumference. Move slack skin forward from the shoulder to the head.
    Stretch for width after the cape is fully rehydrated and relaxed before putting it on the form.

  3. Paul B

    Paul B Active Member

    Are your capes tanned, home or commercial, shaved well, oiled. I use carcass to get a rough measurement, tanned cape later, then order form. I have at least 3 form sizes laying around, slip a cape on one that close, good order, if not go up or down in size.
    Dwb5 and Triple J Taxidermy like this.
  4. E. Byrd

    E. Byrd Member

    They are tanned at home using krowtann. Shaved to the best of my ability
  5. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Proper hide care, thin shave, good oil, proper neutralization along with a good tan following proper pickling will get you the stretch you need. My home tans always stretched to green size or larger when I mastered those steps. That is unless I screwed up one or more steps, which, did happen once or twice.
  6. joey font

    joey font Member

    Stretch the tanned cape and then measure it. Order form accordingly.
    tem likes this.
  7. GWebb

    GWebb Well-Known Member

    Hides usually always stretch length-wise when you are tanning, hanging them up to drip when taking them out of the pickle, hanging them up to drip when taking them out of the neutralizing bath, hanging them up to drip after the final wash. You can take a cape that may be 20 inches or so from the back of the head to the back of the cape and by the time you are finished with tanning it, it could measure closer to 30 inches from hanging. You need to take and stretch it back width-wise before you place it on the form. A problem to this may be if you are using a full length incision, while they are also easy to stretch, I find it much easier to stretch a short incision cape. Put one hand through the back side, one hand through the neck opening and start pushing against each other. You can see it stretching back width-wise, which takes away from the length. If you aren't getting much stretch, which used to be an issue with me, it was fixed by rehydrating my salted capes in water prior to placing them in my pickle. For years I had always read that you could put salted capes straight in the pickle, you can, and they will rehydrate but I could never get great stretch to my capes until I changed. Another trick is to rough up your form and take a large garbage bag and slide it over the form, take your cape that you already stretched width-wise and put it on the form. It will be much easier sliding the cape over the bag than the roughed up form. Move everything into place. If you have a good mounting stand, you can take and get ahold of each side of the neck and gently pull from side to side, this will also help in stretching back the width of the cape. And as Tanglewood previously said, when you are stitching up a cape, you are actually stretching it back out length-wise as you sew, always sew a few inches and take a stout ruffer and pull the sewn cape back up the neck. Hope this helps you some. Good luck.
    jessewild, D.Price and George like this.
  8. woakley144

    woakley144 Active Member

    I was taught to always order the manikin at least 1" smaller that the cape measurement.... Had this problem when I started. After I was told by some masters this little trick, I don't have that problem any more.....
    tem likes this.
  9. tem

    tem Well-Known Member

    when i take mine out of the tan a run a round dowll through the cape. from the nose to the back. then hang both ends on a roap. helps the cape stretch down with ways. not long ways. befor i mount it i take one of thoes excersize balls and put it in the cape. then blow it up till the cape looks fat. leve it there for a while. seems to work for me.
  10. D.Price

    D.Price Well-Known Member

    If you are going strictly by meat measurements and your capes are prepared properly your forms should actually be to small not to big!

    Reason #1) You will be thinning the cape which in turn leaves you more space between the cape and form.

    Reason #2) The meat measurement should be smaller on the carcass than when the deer was alive because there is zero blood pumping through the neck which collapses the muscles, veins, arteries, etc. This is especially noticeable on larger and rutting deer.

    Also keep in mind the smaller the deer the less stretch you will get, for instance try stretching a 2" rubber band and then a 6" rubber band and see which one has more stretch in it. But this should not affect a properly tanned skin.

    Frank E. Kotula likes this.
  11. GWebb

    GWebb Well-Known Member

    I always read that too....but my issue with that is when you take away 1" form the C measurement you are taking away another 1.5" or so from the B and maybe more from the D measurement. By the time you get back to the shoulders on the form you may have lost 5" in diameter. I want my customers to get back the same size deer they brought to me or slightly larger. I always measure the carcass and then the hide after tanning, compare the two and go with closer to the tanned size which is always a bit larger than the carcass.
  12. Michael J Spaude

    Michael J Spaude New Member

    George helped me out with this problem recently. He suggested "breaking"(stretching) the hide over a fence post or something similar. That worked for me and I got the hide to stretch another 3 inches neck circumference. I used the Dry Preservative method so I did the breaking after the fleshing and before applying the DP.
  13. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    It might be as simple as the skin draped on the manikin just needs to be pulled up. It probably fits well just below the ears but then seems to be too small around the lower neck? Start sewing and as you pull the stitches it amazingly starts to come together because it is drawing itself up the form. This happens to a lot of beginners and even some of us older guys until we start sewing. I do have a cape stretcher but hardly have to use it!
  14. Ryan b1

    Ryan b1 New Member

    I have the same issue with my capes. Odd thing is I order 1” smaller and shave to my best ability but the problem I have isn’t with the neck it’s with finishing the stitching at the back and getting the hide over the shoulders. Any advise?
  15. Ryan b1

    Ryan b1 New Member

    I have the same issue with my capes. Odd thing is I order 1” smaller and shave to my best ability but the problem I have isn’t with the neck it’s with finishing the stitching at the back and getting the hide over the shoulders. Any advise?
  16. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    upload_2020-12-11_7-52-15.jpeg upload_2020-12-11_7-52-15.jpeg upload_2020-12-11_8-3-5.jpeg upload_2020-12-11_7-54-4.jpeg

    Here’s a sequence of how folks may measure their capes.
    First one is over the skin loose like so many hunters and beginners try to use. Wrong
    Second one is measured by pulling the tape tight and then let’s take one inch off cause of hair. Again wrong but it’s nice to show this to your clients cause they have an idea on how big their necks will be when mounted but don’t use this either as the animal is dead and lost blood etc .
    The third is measured neck meat . Still don’t use this but it gives you an idea.
    The forth is ok to use as it’s not fleshed but as you can already see how it already is bigger
    The last pic is a properly fleshed cape . This is what I use when I order a form. Now the reason I use this is I know I still have to pickle and shave and may gain anywhere half inch to an inch but through tanning I still may end up with 25 inches I’ll stay with 24 inches. It’ll make fitting easy, more fuller looking deer and seams wont show and little shrinkage. But this is done if your tanning and understand what your tanning and oils do. If your sending out, wait till you get your capes back and remeasure to double check.

    Attached Files:

    TripleC and ARUsher like this.
  17. ARUsher

    ARUsher Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the pictures and great explanation Frank!
    Frank E. Kotula likes this.