Sounds neat, I spoke with a fellow that you know last night. Lee Secrest. I wrote him some time ago and he wrote and asked me to call him and ask him my questions of braintanning. I was very curious about his method and it is very appealing to me. You guys are just so awesome with your extreme talents in braintanning. I know I'm so green to braintanning but I sure feel lucky that I didn't have to pay such a steep price of years of learning this. I'm well aware that because of the computer and all you guys sharing your knowledge of tanning that it has saved me years of trial and error. I learned something that I hadn't expected to in regards to hair on hides that Lee shared and that was that the freeze drying aids in producing much softer hair on hides as well. I'm sure I will have to spend my share of time just practicing this first hand but it sure was nice to find out. I really felt a bit put down on BT.com with the fellows thinking that I was baiting em with questions. As if I were trying to learn inside secret tips or something, truth is I do believe that there are secrets! I think the next coyote hide or other hair on after pickling I will freeze dry and see how that works in the softening.
In MI the Dept of Natural Resources will let the deer lie to rot on the roadsides. If I find a deer freshly killed I will call them or the local sheriff dept and get a carcass license for them. Some of them can be pretty lousy ..whole sides destroyed but I don't know, just half a hide is better than no hides.. found rainwater to be really good for taking the blood out of my hides hung in the rain. I learned Lee uses salt to draw blood from his. I was mistaken to think that he didn't use salt but he advised that he does use it and for good reasons! I'll salt next year for sure and not having salted will cost me time in rehydrating.
My form for my little ermine came out ok, not great as I was slow in getting the products needed and it's body wasn't fresh for molding. I now understand the sooner you can get them into the mold after skinning the better;) Seems I learn the hard way most things but as long as I've learned it was worth it. I called an almost local taxidermist yesterday in re: to ermine eyeballs and was told that I could make my own with epoxy from the auto parts store. I think they'll need to be painted afterwords but works good. I'm not sure I could find eyes the correct size for this particular creature so perhaps learning to make my own will be my best bet anyhow. At least for simple black eyes. I find the lip areas on my critter so be still quite stiff. Perhaps freeze drying it would have been an aid to getting these areas softer or more brain or tan penetrable.
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