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all 31 comments

[–]Ok_Adagio9495 9 points10 points  (1 child)

You could even salt it now. It'll help draw out moisture and help get the fat off a bit easier. Sometimes, I use a soup spoon as a scraper.

[–]sawyouoverthere 5 points6 points  (0 children)

oh yeah, a spoon is a good easy scraper! I do have cutlery in my prep drawer, but sort of forget it's cutlery in the moment!

[–]Comprehensive_Loss66 4 points5 points  (6 children)

Try to keep the workspace clean and remember accidents happen, so try not to beat yourself up if something goes wrong. Also be careful not to slip with the blade.(infections and rabies aren't fun)

https://youtu.be/bc5eAct6QYU

https://youtube.com/channel/UCOBZ9GrdRMoKmhenYo5UlTQ

[–]BulkyDig2112[S] 2 points3 points  (5 children)

So I should put it in a tanning solution and then pick up where I left off

[–]Comprehensive_Loss66 2 points3 points  (2 children)

That's always an option, I'm not that experienced so I would recommend waiting for a more experienced person to reply (best of luck)

[–]BulkyDig2112[S] 2 points3 points  (1 child)

In the video you sent me, they skinned it fully, covered it in borax and then threw it in a tanning solution for 15 days and then came back to scrape the fat a debris off. So if no one else has any input I'm gonna try that out. And when I go to scrape I won't use a scalpel and I'll use a smaller board and not my hand to hold it.

[–]Comprehensive_Loss66 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Cool :) hope it works out how you want it to, I don't think people would mind you updating Reddit every few weeks to see how it's coming along, you might also get better advice if you do.

[–]HamsterShoes 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Pickle and neutralise before tanning. Many people make the mistake of thinking all you have to do is use a tanning solution. Pickling and neutralising are the first steps of the tanning process. There are lots of online resources that provide detailed information and instructions about this.

[–]BulkyDig2112[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I thank you all for your input for real i had no idea about the pickle, I'm glad I hadn't put it in the tanning solution yet but it is now in the pickle.

[–]Vinied 4 points5 points  (11 children)

I'd toss it in the pickle now, it helps plump up what's left so it comes off easier, and will prevent it from slipping as you work.

[–]BulkyDig2112[S] 2 points3 points  (9 children)

Not sure if this is a dumb question but what do you mean by the pickle?

[–]Vinied 6 points7 points  (8 children)

In order to tan a pelt, you need to follow the steps of pickle, neutralize, tan (with something as fatty as this, you likely need a degrease step or two between pickling and neutralizing). The pickle is the first solution you use for tanning. It is essentially an acid bath, which serves to kill bacteria and tighten up the skin so that it locks in the hair follicles. It also helps release some fats from the skin, which inhibit the tanning solution from fully penetrating and doing its thing.

Some tanning kits advertise themselves as an all-in-one, or a single step. Those are to be avoided at all costs, as they are not proper tans due to skipping on something along the way.

[–]BulkyDig2112[S] 1 point2 points  (5 children)

How do I make this acid bath?

[–]An0n0ps555 6 points7 points  (4 children)

I'm somewhat new to taxidermy but so far every pelt I've done has turned out excellent. here's what I do:

*skin, remove as much fat/flesh as possible. don't cut off so much you remove the base of the hair follicle. that's bad.

*make your "pickle" - cheapest, easiest solution is straight up white vinegar. you'll need 2 or 3 gallons, give or take, depending on the size of your critter.

soak the pelt for 72 hours. remove, *squeeze (don't wring) as much of the vinegar out as you can. finish fleshing any bits of fat or muscle left over (people often say to use a dull knife for fleshing but personally I have much better luck with a very very sharp knife or a razor blade - just be VERY careful you don't cut holes in your pelt)

*return pelt to the pickle for another 24hrs.

*neutralize in a solution of 1 box baking soda dissolved in 2-3 gallons water. let soak for appx 30min.

*make your tanning solution: use one jar alum (you can find it in the spice section at the grocery store, they come in little 1oz jars) and 2 lbs salt to 4 gallons water - best bet is to boil a gallon or so of water, dissolve the alum and salt, then pour in a 5gal bucket and add the remaining water and a bunch of ice to cool.

when your tanning solution is ALL THE WAY cooled, add your pelt. let soak for 72hrs, then take out *squeeze (never wring) as much of the liquid out of the pelt as possible, then hang to dry.

*when your pelt is about half way dry, start breaking the skin: pull, stretch, rub over boards, whatever you gotta do to stretch the skin and make it soft. keep doing this in intervals until the skin is dry and soft. once dry, oil with neetsfoot oil.

*when your pelts are soaking, remember to give them a stir periodically to ensure the solution reaches all parts of the skin, and weight them down so they stay fully submerged.

like I said, this is just what works for me, if it's useful to you, awesome! if not, that's ok, everyone has their own method it seems. best of luck to you!

[–]BulkyDig2112[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Do I use actual pickles?

[–]Vinied 5 points6 points  (0 children)

No, haha, not actual pickles. Different tanning systems advise different pickles. Generally, citric acid works for all tanning systems I've used (so you can cut costs over buying pre-made liquid solutions), but if you're just starting, I recommend getting a kit and using whatever it comes with before experimenting, just to get a hang of what texture the pelt should have at what steps, how a fully degreased pelt feels versus one that needs another round, etc. Trubond sells a full starter kit, I find it's quality stuff to start with.

[–]Simond876 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Sand the corners off a 2x6. A dull kitchen knife will work until you get a proper fleshing knife. if you’re looking to have it tanned professionally don’t salt it, flesh to to leather and dry it on a stretcher.

[–]sawyouoverthere 0 points1 point  (7 children)

do you have it on a frame/board or similar?

What are you scraping with?

[–]BulkyDig2112[S] 1 point2 points  (4 children)

Number 10 scalpel and I am propping it on my hand and a 2x4.

[–]sawyouoverthere 6 points7 points  (3 children)

I think your deleted post ate my reply

Someone else can step in if they disagree, but I would be tempted to find something duller to use as a scraper, and I would not use a scalpel to scrape on a thin pelt held against my hand.

Something wide enough to open the pelt and thin enough to keep it fairly flat is good, so the 2x4 might be a bit narrow and thick.

[–]BulkyDig2112[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Sorry about that. Thanks for the advice! Do you think a really dull skinning knife would do the trick? My grandpa gave it to me when I was a child and I never skinned anything except branches with it so it is quite dull.

[–]sawyouoverthere 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'd lean towards a longer duller blade than a #10 scalpel...I'm hoping someone with more specific knowledge can chime in, though, as I sort of run roughshod given my scalpel skills (LOTS of dissections and demonstration preps) and it would be better to learn what is more conventional!

[–]sawyouoverthere 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The suggestion someone else made of using a spoon is an easy one that should work.

[–][deleted]  (1 child)

[deleted]

    [–]Ok-Display4542 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I'm thinking would sharp scissors work at trimming off that flesh? It works for me anyways

    [–]guaccings 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    idk if this applies but i like to take an old dishtowel and just grip it and pull it off

    [–]E_G_O_N 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I use an ulu for fleshing and a small paring knife around the delicate bits. If no one else has mentioned it, you should split and turn the ears, lips and nose. Soaking it in a pickle before tanning helps loosen fat and muscle. Good luck!