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Bear Rug Help!

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by WhiteRabbit87, Nov 28, 2020.

  1. WhiteRabbit87

    WhiteRabbit87 New Member

    22
    24
    Maine
    Hello! ive been teaching myself and i hate to ask for help, but ive run into a problem that i just cant find much info on to read. I have been working on 2 black bear rugs, and i have made a terrible mistake im trying to fix. i was able to tan them successfully, theyre nice and white on the hide side, and the heads are mounted. I think they came out pretty good considering! BUT...after i mounted the heads, i draped them over some lawn chairs to dry. i stretched them as they dried but tried not to touch the heads so i wouldnt mess them up. well now im at the stage where i need to attach the backing and finish them and they wont lay flat. i realize part of this is the trimming and sewing in the armpit area that i need to do, ive put slits there to help visualize the shape it will be in, but the middle of the back has a "pocket" or "bubble" where it conformed to the chair it was draped over. i just spent an hour on the floor tying to stretch and pull them back into shape after misting the skin to slighly rehydrate it. Im getting some stretch but the deformity is not flattening out. my knuckles are raw from pulling it as hard as i could. i tried standing on it and "pushing" the hide with a crow bar even. i just cant get it back in shape. ill admit im not very strong, but im stubborn and i need to get this fixed!
    does anyone have any advice other than "dont do bears yourself?" because i feel like if i had dried it flat, i would have been able to complete this without any trouble. sure it was a ton of work, but not as bad as what i thought it would have been from reading here. this could have happened to any hide i suppose, if it was dried over something like i did, and will never do again!!
    do i need to rehydrate this even further and dry it again? my only other idea is to nail the front shoulders to a frame, mist it down again, and hang weights at the bottom to pull the sides down and even out this "bubble" in the center.
    anyways, thanks for reading this and any ideas i might not have thought of yet would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Ok we use or make a rug stretcher to help in rug making
    Ive used 2 -4x8x5/8 “ plywood 6-2x3x8 white pine lumber to make an 8’x8’ stretcher. On the center top you make a cut out so the heads can fit in here and mark a center line so that you’re centerline goes from the center of the rug shell to the bottom. Then make a line every 6” to the left and right and then do the same horizontally. mount your bear, place a small furring strip ( I screw this on the bottom of the head) lay the head in the cutout, screw the furring strip down.
    Go to the tail and center that from your board and tack that down good, and then tack the center down from there you stretch the skin out on all sides being equal and tack. Cut out the extra skin that needs to go in the pit areas and sew tight. Once dried , you’re now ready to carry on sewing .
    You’ll have to hydrate your hide in order for this to work.
     
    WhiteRabbit87 likes this.

  3. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Research Mannikins has a DVD that will give you ALL the information you need on making a bear rug. It will tell you how to solve your problem and show you how.
     
    WhiteRabbit87 likes this.
  4. WhiteRabbit87

    WhiteRabbit87 New Member

    22
    24
    Maine
    Thank you guys! I've gotten it a bit flatter by pushing it as hard as I can with a piece of wood, outwards in all directions after I rehydrated it half way. Im going to look into that dvd for sure, as I will be doing more bears in the future. Using a frame while it's still wet in the first place would've made this much easier. Live and learn!