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Old 12-02-2018, 12:33 PM
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kmacisaac kmacisaac is offline
 
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Default Saving hides for fly tying

So I was fortunate enough to harvest an elk this season and I've just completed the cutting and wrapping. I got to thinking that I would like to save a chunk of the hide for fly tying. I'm not familiar with tanning, and I've looked up everything from salting to borax to get the job done. I was wondering if I could simply stretch the hide and let it air dry in my garden shed. I'm not big into tying but slowly getting the knack and I like the idea of reusing some of my own harvest.
Any suggestions appreciated.
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Old 12-02-2018, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmacisaac View Post
So I was fortunate enough to harvest an elk this season and I've just completed the cutting and wrapping. I got to thinking that I would like to save a chunk of the hide for fly tying. I'm not familiar with tanning, and I've looked up everything from salting to borax to get the job done. I was wondering if I could simply stretch the hide and let it air dry in my garden shed. I'm not big into tying but slowly getting the knack and I like the idea of reusing some of my own harvest.
Any suggestions appreciated.
Salt it to draw the moisture out, also be aware that different body parts of hide have different apps for fly tying. I cannot remember what they are, but if you Google it, it will come up.
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Old 12-02-2018, 12:57 PM
ponokajoe ponokajoe is offline
 
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Salt , borax and alum mixture will cure your hide but not tan it. The borax helps keep bug away. I usually cut pieces about 8 in square from different parts of the hide or the whole skin if a muskrat or similar. use some brads or finishing nail to stretch the piece out fur side down on a piece of plywood. clean off any obvious meat or fat. Rub in the mixture and apply fairly heavy. Leave for a day or so . When you check it , it will probably have some fluid on the surface.Soak this up with a rag and reapply mixture. Leave for a week or so. Make sure you let it air dry. Good to use after that. Remember to use different parts of the skin.Hair off the lower legs is way different than the stuff off the back. Don't forget the ears. Great wing material there for smaller patterns.
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Old 12-02-2018, 01:33 PM
raw outdoors raw outdoors is online now
 
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Funny I am trying this also but with the two whitetail I shot. the crotch, belly and tail fur is beautiful white. I nailed the hide flesh side out spread salt and put it outside in the shade we will see what happens.
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Old 12-02-2018, 05:16 PM
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kmacisaac kmacisaac is offline
 
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Thanks for the feedback gents. Like I said, I'm pretty novice in the tying game but the chance to catch fish with the fall harvest is the appeal to me. I've looked at the different hair selections and I think I should be able to have a few good patches available of the hide I have.
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:31 PM
220 Swift 220 Swift is offline
 
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Field and Stream has an article on the net, search it if you are interested

if i recall-
2.5 lbs salt
1 lb alum
5 gallons of water
1 fleshed deer hide

last year i did 2 hairless hides
this year i am doing 1 hair on hide.

Nutters has the best deal on Alum that i have found. $2.99 for 375 grams i think.
$1.25 for a 1 kg salt container at Dollartree.
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Old 12-04-2018, 12:24 AM
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A person could also experiment a bit... Take a small piece of fleshed hide with good "fly suitable" hair and soak it for three or four days in water with wood ashes in the water. When the hairs will pull out easily...while wet, nail the hide to a board and hand pull the hairs. Then the hair comes out of the hide with the hair root intact. Dry the hairs and keep just the hairs for tying flies. Then you don't have to preserve a hide or worry about bugs. Whole tail hairs can be long enough to make nice streamers.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Bullets View Post
A person could also experiment a bit... Take a small piece of fleshed hide with good "fly suitable" hair and soak it for three or four days in water with wood ashes in the water. When the hairs will pull out easily...while wet, nail the hide to a board and hand pull the hairs. Then the hair comes out of the hide with the hair root intact. Dry the hairs and keep just the hairs for tying flies. Then you don't have to preserve a hide or worry about bugs. Whole tail hairs can be long enough to make nice streamers.
And then you would have bags of hair pointing in all directions. Might be alright for dubbing, but a nightmare to try and get nicely oriented hair for tails, legs, antennae and wing-cases. Keep your materials properly stored, every year of so toss a mothball into the drawer and you will never have a problem with bugs.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:04 AM
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Off in the Bushes Off in the Bushes is offline
 
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If you want to save yourself some trouble talk to a taxidermist and ask for the trimmings from the cape when they are doing mounts.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:19 AM
Pikebreath Pikebreath is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ponokajoe View Post
Salt , borax and alum mixture will cure your hide but not tan it. The borax helps keep bug away. I usually cut pieces about 8 in square from different parts of the hide or the whole skin if a muskrat or similar. use some brads or finishing nail to stretch the piece out fur side down on a piece of plywood. clean off any obvious meat or fat. Rub in the mixture and apply fairly heavy. Leave for a day or so . When you check it , it will probably have some fluid on the surface.Soak this up with a rag and reapply mixture. Leave for a week or so. Make sure you let it air dry. Good to use after that. Remember to use different parts of the skin.Hair off the lower legs is way different than the stuff off the back. Don't forget the ears. Great wing material there for smaller patterns.
Fur from tanned hides is ultimately easier to store and use,,,, but I understand the desire to utilize fur from an animal you harvested yourself. I have done this many times as well.

Ponoka Joe's post is an excellent treatise on how to prepare your hide. I would add that if you can negotiate for a bit of freezer space, you will have far less long term storage issues (no need for smelly mothballs). I seal my dried pieces of untanned hide with fur and feathers in zip lock bags with paper towels against the skin and place in a cardboard box in a corner of the freezer. I have hide pieces going back 25 years in that box that are still good to pluck a feather or clip a chunk of hair from.
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Old 12-13-2018, 07:54 PM
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I keep lots of different pieces from all kinds of animals. The more the better. Cut it up into sections and I dye them as well so all my buddy’s keep white tails and whatever else I ask them to then I dye a bunch of colours and share them with them. You can also freeze it until you are ready to use it. Either pull out a whole piece or cut a section of fur to use. Most everything I use to tie I get for free which makes it a very cheep hobbie and I tie hundreds of flies per year. Great way to keep it cheep and make it even more of your own creation.
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:29 PM
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What do you need to do to cure an Whitetail buck-tail? same process?
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Old 12-14-2018, 06:03 AM
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Yup. Same thing
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Old 12-14-2018, 06:54 AM
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A few years ago I tacked a Deer hide from the seasons take to a tree and let the birds pick it clean.

I had figured on tanning that hide and I figured I could feed some birds and save myself a bit of work in the process.
Well the birds did their part but the hide freeze dried so I put it in the garage and forgot about it.

The next summer someone was looking for fly tying material and I remembered that hide. So I offered to trim off a bit for his fly tying and toss in other material like Grouse feathers and squirrel tails I had laying around.

But again I forgot and when it came to mind months later I had lost the messages with his name and contact information.

And so it is today. The hide is still good and still waiting for me to do something, anything, with it.

I tell this story to illustrate that it doesn't take tanning or a lot of work to preserve a hide and to caution others on good intentions and the effect age has on ones memory abilities and energy levels.
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Old 12-14-2018, 08:53 AM
calgarychef calgarychef is offline
 
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I tan a few hides and I make some as simple rawhide. For flytyihg I would just tack a piece in some plywood and let it dry. Make sure it’s well fleshed first and it should last for a long time just as is.
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