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Old 12-08-2008, 11:21 AM
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Default Fleshing out a deer hide - Update 12/31/08

I killed a 6 pointer a few weeks ago that had an unusual black stripe down it's back so I decided I wanted to keep the hide. I got to work on it the other day and thought I would do a little pictorial tag along as I progress through it. I do not currently have a fleshing beam and neither do I have the preferred tools so I just started and improvised. I spread the hide out on a flat work table and modified a cedar wood arrow straightener made by our own Nugefan to work the flesh off. All I did to the straightener was sharpen the end to a chisel like wedge with my pocket knife. It worked like a charm and never once put a hole in the hide.

The main thing to be concerned with is not to score the hide with a knife blade when removing it from the deer so it is best to leave on a little flesh on it if you think you might cut into the hide.

I saved the bucks brain and this will be my first attempt at brain tanning. I have it all fleshed out now and will try to get it stretched today in a 2 x 4 frame I made up a few years ago and will take pic's as I progress.

I wetted the hide down then folded it up until I get it to the stretching frame.
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:23 AM
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AL keep us posted with pics as you go.

I woulda kept it too, with that black streak.
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:29 AM
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Before I start fleshing it out I remove the tail bone by peeling back the hide a short ways from the base of the bone, just enough I can get a good grip on the bone with a pair of pliers. I use two sticks about the diameter of my little finger and place one below and the other on top of the bone just in front of the rolled back hide. With firm pressure applied to the sticks on the bone itself I then pull on the bone until it shucks out of the tail. Works best if you have another person either pulling or holding the sticks but I was able to do it by myself. This technique will work for any animal tail such as squirrels, fox, or whatever. Once the bone is out you can pour salt into the now hollow tail. If you have a drink straw run it down into the tail as far as you can get it then pour the salt into the straw working it out slowly as you add more salt. This straw method will allow the salt to penetrate further into the tail because the moisture of the hide will cause the salt to clog up before it gets very deep into the tail.
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Old 12-08-2008, 01:16 PM
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Default Looks good

Looks good, keep us updated on how it turns out. Nice looking hide too. Any plans for it?
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:22 PM
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Looks good, keep us updated on how it turns out. Nice looking hide too. Any plans for it?
Thanks! No real plans other than to just have it laying around the house with all the other critter parts I have. I also want to try my hand at brain tanning and thought this one would be a good one to get started on.

I now have it all stretched for the first stretching. I placed my frame on top of my utility trailer so I could work on it without having to bend over. I also placed a large piece of plywood under the frame to support the hide while I stretched it. Now I need to go refresh my memory and do a little research on hide curing and the brain tanning process.

I made the frame with 2x4's and started out putting the nails in about 6" apart. I realized later I should have just put them at 3" apart but it was not a problem because I would just add a nail when I needed one between the others.
I used 3/16" nylon rope to start but didn't have enough to make it all the way around the hide. I keep a bag full of old T-shirt strips I use for just about anything that needs to be tied up so I finished it off with them. BTW, if any of you try this with the nylon rope I suggest you burn the end of the nylon rope and while it is still in a hot melt state pull it through a rag or wad of paper towels to create a pointed and hard end on the cord. This will make threading the cord through the hide a lot easier.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:30 PM
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I thought I would try skinning this bucks ears to see if I could do it and to see what I might be able to make from it. I was surprised that it wasn't that difficult to do. Surely someone has done this before but I do not recall anyone doing it. I'm thinking it might make a nice little coin purse. Any suggestions?
I stuffed it with a couple of paper towels so it will dry and not stick to itself.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:34 PM
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Knife sheath, tobacco pouch?
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:34 PM
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Neat work and lookin' good Al!!!!

I would have never thought to skin an ear out and make a purse out of it...

COOL!
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:38 PM
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Al, keep us updated. I've been interested in trying it myself and WHEN you're successful, I can use this as a how to guide. Thanks for posting this!
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:48 PM
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VERY nice job Al! Make sure you get EVERY bit of the hypodermis off. More details comin` after I get this deer ground up and in the freezer..............
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Old 12-08-2008, 07:03 PM
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VERY nice job Al! Make sure you get EVERY bit of the hypodermis off. More details comin` after I get this deer ground up and in the freezer..............
I'll take any advice offered! Should I have removed the hypodermis before stretching?
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:04 PM
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nice looking hide, good job Al
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:41 PM
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I'll take any advice offered! Should I have removed the hypodermis before stretching?

I do, when I`m foolin` with a hide. I remove it durin` the scrapin` process, on a beam. The reason for complete removal, is because it is waterproof. If it`s not cleaned off, the brain solution will not get good penetration into the hide.

Not tryin` to be disheartenin` here, but a winter-coat deerhide is not gonna last, unless you hang it on the wall. Winter deer hair is hollow, thus brittle. Summer deer hair is solid, and will last a little longer. A deer is just one of those critters that does not do well for a braintan with the hair on. One good thing though, once the hair is gone from it, you can scrape the few hairs and epidermis off, rebrain it, and have a super nice skin.
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:52 PM
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A purse? Bag to hold round balls or maybe a flint and steel. Maybe for tobacco, possibilities are endless. Looking good.
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Old 12-10-2008, 08:01 PM
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Too cool Al. I still don't know how you got your big hands and a little knife in that ear? Did it come out with the stick method or just the knife? Your trailer sure has seen the sights of the big city, or should I say the woods? LOL
Clay
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:28 PM
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I still don't know how you got your big hands and a little knife in that ear? Did it come out with the stick method or just the knife?
Clay
After doing the second one I discovered an even easier method. Actually, you only need a knife for the first inch or so. Once you get past the red flesh you can work a thumb in between the skin of the ear and the gristle working first the outside portion or back of the ear. Once you get it separated about 2/3rds of the way towards the tip you can then turn it inside out and continue to work it off with your thumb and fingers peeling it around the edges then separating the inside. It doesn't take long at all. I then filled them both with borax versus the paper like I initially used on the first one.
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Old 12-21-2008, 02:55 AM
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Do you have a update on how this has turned out for you? What did you do with the ear?
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Old 12-22-2008, 08:57 AM
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Ear'd make a great little neck bag.
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Old 12-22-2008, 09:36 AM
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Do you have a update on how this has turned out for you? What did you do with the ear?
I ended up skinning out both ears and it was easier on the second one. Both are now cured out and all I need to do at this point is brain tan them and I suppose smoke them so they will stay soft if they get wet. I will then have to figure out how best to make them into little pouches perhaps with some lining. The interior skin is thin like a rabbits skin and very delicate. I may reinforce the back side with some leather or felt, just not sure how I am going to do it yet and of course I need to devise a way for them to be worn on a belt or strap.
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Old 12-23-2008, 03:26 AM
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I ended up skinning out both ears and it was easier on the second one. Both are now cured out and all I need to do at this point is brain tan them and I suppose smoke them so they will stay soft if they get wet. I will then have to figure out how best to make them into little pouches perhaps with some lining. The interior skin is thin like a rabbits skin and very delicate. I may reinforce the back side with some leather or felt, just not sure how I am going to do it yet and of course I need to devise a way for them to be worn on a belt or strap.

You could make 2 small slits one on top of the other and use a small piece of tanned hide that would run through the slits and stitch the ends together and your belt would just slide through the newly added strip.
Or you could do it without the added piece and just use the slits kinda like a duty belt is set up. Come to think of it they look just like a handcuff case! Wonder what the chief would think of a new line of gear
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Old 12-25-2008, 07:31 PM
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Looks good so far Al I have two skins in the frezer fleshed out. Im wanting to buck skin both of them (hair off). I made my own fleshing beam it was easy if I get a chance I'll post a pic. I hope mine comes out good its my first attempted at it . I want to make a arrow quiver for my recurve.
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Old 12-31-2008, 07:43 PM
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I read where you can take off the hypo dermis while the skin is dry so I decided to give it a try. I did not read anywhere how to do it so it was the trial and error method for me. I peeled some of it after raising ends with a knife s I could get a grip on a piece to pull on but scraped most of it off with a large blade that was very sharp and held it at a right angle to the skin. Seems to have worked pretty well but I still need to go back and work the edges a bit more and I plan on doing that after i take it out of the frame. The piece of skin in the last photo was a piece i pulled off.
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Old 12-31-2008, 07:49 PM
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Al, be very careful as you pull it off dry. Sometimes it wants to take a nosedive and go too deep.

A little trick you can use to clean up small areas where a little bit still hangs on, is to buff it VERY LIGHTLY with fine grit sandpaper. Be careful not to cut through though. Your hide is lookin` good, and you did a real nice job of stretchin` it in the frame.
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Old 01-01-2009, 08:19 AM
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I'm gonna leave ya'll to that "dry scrape method", it and me just don't get along. I've done 25 or so hides by the wet scrape method with no problems, and ruined two good hides by punching them full of holes attemping "Dry Scrape". I know Nick preferes the "Dry Scrape Method" but it so far has not worked well for me. Find one that works for you and stick with it.
Ken
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Old 01-01-2009, 08:28 AM
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That looks great Al. My brother has a hide he is stretching right now. I gave him a few Flint Scraper Blades to try with the fleshing and he said that they were the way to go. He said that coastal chert peeled the flesh off like butter.
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