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Shaving a cape...the hard way.

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by zubba, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. zubba

    zubba New Member

    How do people thin their capes with our a fleshing machine? I've read about the skife...but doesn't that mainly work for around the face? Would a fleshing beam and knife work? Or who do most people do it?

    Would it make sense for someone doing about 10-15 mounts a year to buy a flesher? Thanks a lot....I appreciate it.
  2. send your caps out to be tanned . i only do about 15 deer a year and thats what i do . it is only about $40.00 dollars a hide. save you a lot of time you could be doing something else.

  3. Ihntdeer

    Ihntdeer New Member

    Find a good tannery and they will thin out almost everything except the face area
  4. Aaron H

    Aaron H foxfiretaxidermy.com

    Or.....you just do it like when there were no fleshing machines--use a knife. It's not such a big deal to flesh or shave a deer cape with a knife on a beam. I have a fleshing machine and I do my own tanning. I also do a lot of thinning with a knife and use a piece of 3" PVC pipe for a beam. The commercial tanners are great and I do use them for some things but don't forget that there are lots of ways to get this job of taxidermy done. A good fleshing knife is the inexpensive Rapella fish knife sold in most sporting goods stores, about $10. Get the short blade version. This knife is very easy to make sharp which is important in shaving capes. Sure, it takes time and maybe you prefer to pay a tanner, but if you do the job yourself you gain experience and keep that $35-$40 in your pocket. Enjoy, Aaron H.
  5. zubba

    zubba New Member

    Thanks Aaron H. That was what I was looking for. But why the 3" PVC? Does the PVC work better than and 2x6 fleshing beam? Thanks again.
  6. I used a butcher knife the first few years. PVC would work fine its smooth but you still need a skife knife and some smaller pointed beams for eyes and nose.

    Grind a single bevel on one side of the knife and scrape. One year I did 65 heads with it so yes you can do a good job.

    2X6 you will need to round of the edges into a single arc, hardwood works better than softwood.

    I use two oak smaller beams now for the face along with a skife knife, I do pull the skin down very thing before the Krowtann.
  7. tod

    tod New Member

    This is my third year and i do about 20 heads a year, late this last season I bought a round knife or fleshing machine got my self some doe capes and started to train my self in the use of it. I AM STILL LEARNING but it is not as hard as it is on your back of course i have had 3 discs fused in my neck, I picked up a tip from another taxidermist on here and he uses single edge razor blades to flesh out and turn the eyes nose and lips. It works VERY WELL but be sure to wear a rubber glove on your hand under the blade, believe it or not it will save on the cuts if you go through while fleshing especially the nostrills .another thing is to use a fleshing ball or mandrel to get the right curvature on the skin of the face while doing thinning with a razor blade. Its like anything else the more you practice the easer it gets.When you send your skins out you don't get that practice that experience carries over on other types of animals they all have to be prepaired some way before mounting right? good luck Tod.
  8. Yotecaller

    Yotecaller New Member

    I just use the electric mini flesher. Works great on shoulders and face!! I can even do the tear ducts with it. Heck of a lot cheaper than the large flesher. ;)
  9. Aaron H

    Aaron H foxfiretaxidermy.com

    The reason I prefer the 3" PVC pipe is it is very smooth, fits inside all but the smallest deer capes and if you heat one end with a torch you can distort it to fit over something solid (in my case it's the horn of an anvil). Then you can store the pipe wherever and stick it onto your anchor when you need to use it. The face I have always done with my fingers inside and shave against the hand pressure. I do have a small fleshing beam for noses and such but hardly ever use it. I guess it's all in what you get used to.--Enjoy, Aaron H.
  10. packem out

    packem out New Member

    What is the beam used for?
  11. John L

    John L Active Member

    I was taught to throw the cape over a basketball and shave with a razor blade. Works great but takes foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  12. Aaron H

    Aaron H foxfiretaxidermy.com

    Packem Out, A shaving beam is used as a base to lay the skin over to allow you to cut away fat and red meat from a skin. Also to help you to thin the skin down once pickled or tanned. Usually made from wood but sometimes items as mentioned above. I have used a baseball bat in the past. Enjoy, Aaron H.
  13. furhound

    furhound New Member

    Hello gents;

    Pardon me for resurrecting an old thread but this is on my topic and I'm new here. I'm processing Whitetail hides as furs. I'd like to get them as soft ( and presumably thin) as possible. This is for personal use and things need to be as close to $0 as possible. I've tried shaving with razors but it is slooooowww and invariably inconsistent in the depth of the cut. The currier's knife is a bit of a mystery. It sounds along the line of a cabinet scraper where you sharpen a fine edge and then burr it over. In woodworking that limits the depth of cut to a few ten-thousandths of an inch. I make my own blades for just about everything but in this case, I don't know what to make. Can anyone describe the details. I'm guessing a 10º hollow grind razor edge and bent over a good 1/32". A few folks also mentioned using them. Any advice on the motion? Just push like fleshing or some sideways slicing. On wood I find pushing at a 10º to 15º angle allows the shavings to clear

    I've also read a bit about using sanders and wire wheels after tanning. Any insights into that?
  14. furhound

    furhound New Member

    Ok. It's coming into focus. Different edges on the two blades or just "a hot spare".

    I've been plowing through all the other reading I can stomach on shaving. There was a few comments about using a drawknife and just pushing away. I tried that and simply found that with a blade sharp enough to slice flesh it went right through in an instant. The difference I see is that I use my fleshing beam which is a chunk of 26" diameter tree. Others talk about 4" PVC. Perhaps a smaller radius beam will focus the cut? Still. It's all a daunting proposition when dealing with a full fur. I'll plug away.

    It may be like using a pole lathe. When I first started it seemed impossible to hold the tool, pump the foot up and down and engage and withdraw the gouge with the change in rotation. 3 years later it's still impossible because I just don't do it enough. OK. Bad example.
  15. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    I know you don't want to poop out the money, but a fleshing machine would solve all your problems, you would thin a tanned deer hide down in 30 minutes. And no sore fingers, just a smile from doing it over the hard way. Buying a car is better then walking for free.
  16. furhound

    furhound New Member

    Well.. My needs are limited to about 4 furs for a cloak, 6 for a bed covering and maybe 2-3 for knee high boots. I could just buy them outright for about what a machine would cost. I'm one of those historical re-enactor freaks. The process is almost as important as the result to me.

    I'm already into Ritell's for more money in EZ-Tan 100 than I'm comfortable with. It's a good product and Bruce is a good man, very helpful. I'm just really, really cheap.
  17. We found out today the best way yet to fform a piece of pvc pipe. As we were cleaning some skulls in a pot of very hot but not boiling water, my son used a piece of pvc to pull out a coyote skull, after he fished around a bit we saw that it was very maliable(sp), we could put a bend in ot without kinks. So did some experiementing and made a couple small tapered fleshing beams.

    You can also flesh a complete cape by keeping a single edged razor blade at a 90 degree angle and dragging it down the cape, with some practice you can get pretty good at thinnng the hide. tough on hands but it works.
  18. mdupertuis

    mdupertuis Active Member

    I'm with Mr T on this one. I wish I had just bought a fleshing machine right away. Once you get it adjusted right and get the hang of it, it is a life saver. 20-30 minutes and you have a thinned cape ready to mount. And as I get older, I really like avoiding being hunched over fleshing a deer as much as possible.
  19. Bobbi Meyer

    Bobbi Meyer I luv to ride my tricycle, I luv to ride my trike

    I think since furhound is a reenactor and he said the method was just as important I think the beam and knife would about as close to historical accuracy as you could get...of course you're gonna have to give up the EZ 100 for some brain tanning.
  20. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Active Member

    I use a mini flesher. I've sent some things out, but I've heard so many horror stories about tanneries that I always worry.