Rehydrating African skins

Discussion in 'Taxidermy' started by TexasAg, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. TexasAg

    TexasAg AH Member

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    Looking for help on how to best rehydrate African capes. I do all of my Dad's and mine mounts from Africa (so far 21 total) and have had issues in rehydrating the thicker skin capes. Wondering if any taxidermists would give me some help on how to best rehydrate these capes. Thanks in advance.
  2. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    Africa...are there other continents to hunt?
    I know there are a few taxidermy forums that could answer this one quickly. I've heard good things about: Taxidermy Net
  3. TexasAg

    TexasAg AH Member

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    I've looked at that forum a while back, however a lot of people keep their method secret. I'm hoping somebody here will help me out. I'm working an Eland I took in Zim and it's been a pain. Next I have to do Dads' and my elephants, good luck to me on that :)
  4. Dinsdale

    Dinsdale AH Senior Member

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    Yaa,good luck with that:rolleyes:

    I've been in a tannery that can do that work;

    How would you even think you could break and shave an elephant skin at home?

    Yikes
  5. TexasAg

    TexasAg AH Member

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    For saving $5,000, I'll try just about anything.
  6. Dinsdale

    Dinsdale AH Senior Member

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    Guess I'd try Bruce Rittel...

    For general info for everyone else reading along...

    In Zim elephant tanning on flats or ears is around $12 sq ft...In the states its about 18-25;last I checked around.

    Prepping a shoulder cape about $4500 in the US thats shaving the trunk, ear halves etc down to mountable thickness.It usually is done with several men to manipulate the skin,while the shaver cuts down the thickness of the skin.

    John B who posts here worked for one of the all time greats in the industry tanning.

    What can happen for capes difficult to rehydrate is they are poorly prep'd and can become air dried.They will no longer will become flexible enough on a cellular level to absorb and chemically treat the skin to become leather.

    One reason to ask when you are checking an outfitter to see if your reference can supply you with the taxidermist they are using,to see how cape quality was.

    Often salt becomes contaminated or poor quality salt,affects trophy quality.

    If you see fresh bags of salt in the skinning shed,chances are you will be OK.

    Dinsdale
  7. LordRusty

    LordRusty CONTRIBUTOR AH Member

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    Looks like that's my cue ... what is needed to relax those wooden African hides ;) ... is a good commercial relaxing agent. Bruce Rittel used to sell all this stuff but has sold out to another company that I have not heard a lot of good as far as carrying things and back ordering most items.

    Available from WASCO - Wildlife Artist's Supply Company. In the U.S. and Canada, call our toll-free phone line at 1-800-334-801.
    Website WASCO -- Wildlife Artist Supply Company
    Knobloch's Relax R

    This oil-based skin relaxer can be used in the dehydration solution to help relax dry salted skins or tanned skins prior to mounting. Simply add two ounces of Relax R to every five gallons of brine solution. Soak the skin until partially pliable, remove the skin and proceed with the salt bath or pickle.
    [​IMG]


    Code Item Description Price
    LT240 32 oz. Relax R 13.70

    It is very labor intensive to break these thick, bone dry skins. The relaxer is an assist ... the bulk of the work is done by hand ... in a professional commercial tannery, it is done by machine! I always send my hides out to a commercial tannery. I am a Taxidermist, and I'm happy mounting the skins that come back from the tannery, ready to mount! Something to seriously consider! ;)

    Hope this helps!

    John.

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