Thursday, 25 February 2010

Munt Jacket

A brace of Muntjacs made their way to Diplo HQ a couple of weeks ago - much needed protein top up for the freezer and Diplo Junior has plans to make himself a jacket. The Fallow deer here-abouts are pretty easy to skin but I'd forgotten just how tenacious these little critters are. There's very little fat on a Muntjac and in places (around the flanks & shoulders particularly) the flesh and the skin are almost inseparable. Much swearing and delicate knife-work later we had them both stripped and ready for a few days hanging before making their way into the freezer.
The hides have moved on to Shed 2 for curing and tanning. A salt petre cure, after removal of any stray bits of flesh and the tricky membrane that remains attached, takes 4 to 5 days. This is followed by a week's drying - when dry the last few bits of membrane and sinew can be scraped and rubbed away. Next is a good wash in Sodium Carbonate solution and a few rinses through with fresh water.
Meanwhile the tanning solution of Ammonium Alum Sulphate, Sodium Carbonate and Salt is prepared and the hides dunked in for a 4 to 5 day soak. This is where we're at right now. Next stage is a good wash in a Borax solution, much rinsing, drying and oiling. Let you know how we get on. MORE PELTS !

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Here We Go Again

The obvious course of action when handicapped by not enough workshop space is to jam another motorcycle in there. The charming little XT225 was rescued from the back of a 20ft container on Saturday morning and offered a new home at Diplo HQ. Missing a battery and suffering from a couple of punctures, the bike seems otherwise pretty sound. It's had the usual minor bumps associated with "field" bike life, nothing too serious and a surge of optimism is pointing us in the direction of applying for a V5 and getting an MOT test done - this little orphan may yet return to the streets.
Knowing the bike to have stood for at least three years with a half tank of av-gas it seemed prudent to whip the carb off and subject it to a thorough de-lousing. The air box is a bugger to get out but I'm very glad we persevered - it is in a shocking state, the filter is long gone, leaving a residue of decomposed crumbly element foam stuck all over the inlet tract. The carb is actually seized solid inside with fuel goo. I don't know whether av-gas deteriorates in a different way to regular un-leaded but I've never seen anything as bad as this before - the dark molasses coloured residue has the consistency of chewing gum and is equally reluctant to let go. The Diplo chemical cupboard has been opened and we've tried cellulose thinners, meths, paraffin, de-greaser, acetone and many more products which will have to remain unidentified. We've made a start on the tank - not so much a rust issue as a goo problem, well goo and rust combo.Let you know how we get on. MORE ETHER !