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#175914 - 01/07/03 10:51 PM new to tanning (please help me)
coyote lance Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 12/07/02
Posts: 51
Loc: Amarillo, Texas
Hey, I am new to tanning and was trying my luck on a couple of rabbit hides because they are real easy to get and I do not want to ruin a good coyote hide. My question is how to flesh the thing and should it take a long time? I have worked on a jackrabbit that I shot yesterday, got it skinned quick, but I am having a real hard time getting the fat and membrane off. I have worked for about 4 hours so far and am about half way done! I am doing this by attaching the skin to a boad, pulling up on the fat/membrane and cutting it away with a razor knife. I tend to cut small pinholes in it while I am doing this and realize there has got to be a better way. I have heard of using a spoon to scrape it off, does this work? Do I need to grind the spoon so that it is sharp? Any advice would help, so please be generous.

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#175915 - 01/08/03 02:01 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
River Runner Offline
PM is my life

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 8930
Loc: Bloomington, WI
The best thing to do considering what you have to work with would be to use a fleshing knife.
(handle on each end of a double blade) and a fleshing beam.
You can make-shift a fleshing beam out of a 2x6 piece of lumber if you have to.

Don't lift the membrane and whittle it off with your knife.

Using the fleshing beam you'll lay the skin flesh side up, flat out, on the beam and scrape the membrane off with your fleshing knife. You'll be leaning against the beam with your waist and by hanging part of the skin over the edge of the beam you'll be holding the skin in place with your body.
Push the fleshing knife away from you, down the beam, across the rabbit skin. Hold the knife so the wide blade lays flat against the skin.
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#175916 - 01/08/03 12:49 PM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
coyote lance Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 12/07/02
Posts: 51
Loc: Amarillo, Texas
I understand what you are saying, but should the layer of fat and membrain come off in one piece, a bunch of small pieces, or should I just scrape it over and over removing it in layers? Do I treat the skin with anything before I do this, or should I have done this just after I skined it. It is in a pickling solution now.

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#175917 - 01/08/03 03:28 PM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
tmwelch Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/10/01
Posts: 48
Loc: Kill Buck,NY
try salting overnite after skinning and the worst of the fleshing.Then put in pickle.You can even finish fleshing after soaking in pickle.Then use the pickle as a holding solution until you are ready to neutralize before tanning.With some skins its much easier to get the hard fleshing done after these other steps.tom

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#175918 - 01/08/03 06:46 PM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
River Runner Offline
PM is my life

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 8930
Loc: Bloomington, WI
Lance if you have your pickle at a good safe PH level, pickling it first will actually firm up that fat and membrane making it easier to scrape off.
Sorry I didn't bring that up in the first post but I had no idea you wern't salting them or pickling them prior to the final fleshing.

The fat and meat will scrape off in strips or layers, depending on your fleshing knife and how much of the blade actually comes in contact with the hide on your fleshing beam.

The membrane will scrape off like an elastic tissue, you'll know when you start removing it.
Also if the hide is damp instead of drenched it will be alot easier to keep the membrane ahead of your knife instead of slipping over it like your working in grease.
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#175919 - 01/08/03 10:09 PM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
coyote lance Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 12/07/02
Posts: 51
Loc: Amarillo, Texas
Thanks guys, I found a couple websites today that suggested soaking the hides in a mixture containing: 2# salt, 8oz battery acid, and 2gal. of water. Soak it in this for a week and it says the fat and membrain should be easy to pull off by hand, then it says to return it to the solution for another week. After this second week, you should be done after a through cleaning and stretching untill dry. This almost sounds too easy, but at this point I am willing to try almost anything. Thanks again,

Lance

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#175920 - 01/08/03 10:14 PM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
River Runner Offline
PM is my life

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 8930
Loc: Bloomington, WI
WOW!, I don't know about all that

Lance, I gotta tell ya, I think you should test that out on a piece of fur your not so concerned with first.
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#175921 - 01/11/03 06:39 PM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
Lance H Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 580
Loc: KS
Lance,
River Runner gives good advice borne of mucho experience. I'd also encourage you to visit www.taxidermy.net in their forums. There's one on tanning with an archive that will answer every keyword-based question you could possibly have. Good luck.

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#175922 - 01/15/03 07:17 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
Silver Fox Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 07/22/02
Posts: 297
Loc: North Branch Mi.
I have a quick question for you River Runner. My buddy is getting into Taxidermy so he has the flesher and all that stuff that I can and have used. What I want to know is what is a good product for hair on tanning? I don't really have the room for the tanning that has to soak so I was really looking for good "instant" tans or whatever you want to call them. Also, would I need different products for different furs. Mainly what I'll be getting is deer, varmints, and squirrels and rabbits. Sorry for all the ?'s.

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#175923 - 01/15/03 08:37 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
River Runner Offline
PM is my life

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 8930
Loc: Bloomington, WI
Ohhhh Silver Fox. Questions like this make me real uneasy.
I have a very hard time recommending a one step tanning solution to someone because I don't believe in them. Tanning a hide is a conversion process. Converting the hide to leather. There really isn't a chemical on the market today that can convert an animal hide to leather in one simple step.
There's a few companys that claim they have a product that does so, but what they really have is a product that temporarily preserves the hide.
Preserving the hide is another story. You control the rate at which the hide decays with no leather qualitys what so ever. These hides aren't really tanned and will eventually decay. A tanned hide will last almost indefinitely, and be soft and stretchy like a tanned hide should be.

Ok...enough preaching right?
I really can't tell you what you want to hear. I can tell you that whatever you choose to use, you can use on all your hides. There is no special tan for different species.
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#175924 - 01/15/03 09:06 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
Silver Fox Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 07/22/02
Posts: 297
Loc: North Branch Mi.
Thanks for the honesty. With what you said what would be the best process/materials for tanning in a relatively small space. If you would like to e-mail your response so we aren't cluttering up the forum, my mail is

xxx@xxxx.xxx

Thanks again.

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#175925 - 01/15/03 09:15 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
Anonymous
Unregistered


I don't think it is clutter. If you would be kind enough to continue this thread I think others would profit too. Thanks

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#175926 - 01/15/03 10:33 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
R Buker Offline
Retired PM Staff

Registered: 04/25/01
Posts: 8340
Loc: Parkers Prairie, MN. USA
Clutter away. I'm reading intently. I've decided that I want to get into tanning in a small way. I've been trying to reasearch some of those "one step" and "kit" tanning processes. Still undecided so haven't ordered anything yet.

Randy
_________________________
Be a gamehog. Kill 'em all. The bigger the better.

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#175927 - 01/15/03 11:38 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
River Runner Offline
PM is my life

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 8930
Loc: Bloomington, WI
I took your e-mail address out of your post, Silver Fox. You did nothing wrong. I just don't want you to get bomb shelled from the spam harvesters.

Anyway...
Well, you really don't need a lot of space regardless of the type of tan you use. My tannery is only 6000 sq ft. I know, your thinking, "what? I have to put up a seperate building?". No not at all. Keep in mind I do a lot of volume.
You could set up a place to tan hides in a bathroom if you had to. All you really need as far as that goes, is a place to hang the hides when they are wet, running water, a floor drain would be handy, and something to soak the hides in during the stages. 55 gallon plastic drum opened on one end would work.

As far as the best process. That's all going to be opinion. But I swear by Rittel's because I've used it for so many years and they sell the same chemicals to many popular tanneries around the country.
Any tan that requires a pickling process will be your best bet. The One Step by Ronco products are mostly brush on and go tans.
Pickling skins in acid kills any and all putrefying bacteria and multiplys penetration to give an outstandingly even tan.
Some chemicals are harder to dispose of then others. That plays a big role in some areas.
I have a chart here that lists a few pros and cons on some of the tans here on the market today.
I'll draw it up and post it later when some of you get a chance to see whats been posted thus far, and comment.
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#175928 - 01/15/03 11:44 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
Silver Fox Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 07/22/02
Posts: 297
Loc: North Branch Mi.
Thanks River. My friend has a little 12x12 shed we put up, but it's a pain to go over there every day or two to check stuff. He said he would keep
an eye on it for me, but with both of us just getting into it, I would rather do it myself. The only free space I have is in my garage and there is no heat or water or adequate lighting for that matter.

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