Thursday, 25 February 2010
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 !