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Crafting With Fur

Hunting/Farming/Taxidermy, any topic that may get heated debate.

WARNING things may get a bit rougher here than the other forums.

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Juska
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Crafting With Fur

Postby Juska » Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:27 pm

I know some of you aren't into the whole taxidermy thing, and I respect that, so if you don't care to talk or see photos of me working with real fur (mostly rabbit, anyway) here's a fair warning. There won't be any gruesome pictures or anything, just me working with already tanned pieces. I'm not a huge fan of ranch farming for garment purposes only, but to each his own. I respectfully ask that if you don't like the subject not to comment, thank you :) There's already a thread on here for that anyway, I think.

There are probably going to be photos of already tanned animal faces being pinned down to dry so if you don't want to see that, don't scroll down.

So anyway!

The other day I made a small bag out of an old tanned rabbit hide that I've had for probably close to ten years. I just wanted to see what I could do with it, since it has just been lying around for years. I'm a "crafty" kind of person so I like to play around with things. So then the next day I wondered what it would look like if I added the silver fox face I had to the top of the bag as a flap...well, the way it was tanned made it look all goofy, it was crooked and hard around the nose and the ears were folded over to one side, so I attempted to soften the leather and fix it. I have it pinned onto a cardboard box to dry, hopefully in a better shape. So now that I know I can kind of do that, I've ordered some more scrap faces and some rabbit hides to make some better looking pieces out of.

So, if anyone is interested in my process, I can post pictures as I go along with the new ones. I'm just doing these for something to do, I don't intend to sell them really. All the stuff I buy is from a seller that gets wholesale scraps, like tails and bones and faces, and sometimes whole furs that aren't usable for anything but crafts.. I like to put things to use when otherwise they have none, and to use natural products. Not to mention it's probably a bit cheaper than buying decent faux fur anyway :P
Pet parent of Emo the border collie mix, Conte the schnoodle and Namira the harlequin cat!
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Re: Crafting With Fur

Postby Ash » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:38 pm

I'd like to see them. The other day, I saw a ball python skeleton painted gold that a girl had cleaned, reconstructed, and glued. It was amazing, and I'm really tempted to buy it... So I like stuff like bones and fur, so would definitely be interested in seeing some of your stuff. ;)
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, 3 tarantulas
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Juska
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Re: Crafting With Fur

Postby Juska » Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:25 pm

Here's the re-hydrating and re-forming process on the silver fox face. The first photo I took to see what it would look like as-is on the bag I made. Obviously he was a little...off. The bag in the photo isn't finished yet either. His whole face in the first picture was about as hard as a piece of rawhide, I never thought I'd be able to actually "fix" his face as well as I did! The right ear was folded down on itself and I was afraid it would snap in two if I tried to unfold it...but after I soaked it, it came right apart. I was amazed.

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All I did to it was soak him in lukewarm water (I was told to use cool or room-temp water next time, lol) for about ten minutes, stretched the leather a little with my hands, put cardboard on both sides of his ears in the shape I wanted them in, paper-clipped them onto the ears, and stretched and pinned down the face to the correct shape. Let dry overnight. He's still slightly damp but his shape seems like it will hold now. The last photo is after I dried his fur a little on the cool setting with my hair dryer.
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Re: Crafting With Fur

Postby DeweysMom » Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:49 pm

Wow! What a difference a little moisture and manipulation makes! So glad you posted this, Juska - I have a coyote pelt someone gave to me and the ears, face and feet are all smooshed in and very road-kill looking, even though this coyote was professionally hunted and tanned. I'd love to straighten everything more into a natural-looking position, and then maybe I'd display him out in the open instead of hiding him in my walk-in closet.

So it was really just as easy as you've described above?? Dampen, manipulate, support in new position, dry??
Dana

2 Dogs - a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, & an Australian Shepherd; 3 Cats; 2 horses, 1 mule; One very spoiled raccoon and the love of my life, Dewey James, and the recently added but much adored, Bobby Lee, brother raccoon to Dewey
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Re: Crafting With Fur

Postby Juska » Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:32 pm

Do you know what method they used to tan it? That's a very important factor in what you can do to "fix" it like I did. For example, if it was tanned with alum, which is a popular method, soaking it will most likely just cause it to fall apart. You have to be careful about that.

When my coyote faces come in and if I have to straighten them out, I'll post a more detailed "guide" to what I do with it.
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Re: Crafting With Fur

Postby DeweysMom » Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:26 pm

Do you know what method they used to tan it?

No, I do not have a clue. I can, however, ask the person who gave it to me, as he is the one who hunted it and had it tanned.

Thanks for letting me know this (for saving my hide, so to speak < :lol: I just LOVE a good pun!!>), as I had no idea there were that many options for preserving hides.
Dana

2 Dogs - a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, & an Australian Shepherd; 3 Cats; 2 horses, 1 mule; One very spoiled raccoon and the love of my life, Dewey James, and the recently added but much adored, Bobby Lee, brother raccoon to Dewey
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Re: Crafting With Fur

Postby Juska » Fri Dec 26, 2014 2:34 pm

Yep, ask them and find out.

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Got my coyote faces. Looks like I'm gonna get some more rehydration practice, lol.

I'll post photos as I go along.
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Re: Crafting With Fur

Postby Juska » Fri Dec 26, 2014 9:19 pm

Used pins like these, and paperclips for the ears.
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Soaking them in the sink, in very slightly warm water. I tried soaking them for 10 minutes in cool water but I ended up having to soak them for another 9 and used lukewarm water. They're both in the plastic bowl in the bottom, with water in it, and then the metal bowl with water is to hold them down in the water so they're completely covered.

And yes, it smells like wet dog.
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First soak
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Second soak (see how I was able to work the ears back into shape after the second soaking)
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Piece of non-corrugated cardboard for "carding" the ears. You use it as a rigid front and backing to make the ears stand, similar to how they crop a puppy's ears with those plastic things in their ears.
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Box to pin the hide to. Make sure it'll hold the pins in place so they don't move around as you stretch it.
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Pinning down the face into place
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Cut ear-shaped pieces out of the cardboard, two pieces for each ear. They don't have to be perfect but make sure they completely cover the ear. These are oversized to make sure the whole ear is covered.
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Did this to both faces and now they're in the storage room to dry for a few days. Don't do what I did originally and take it off the board before it's completely dry, or it might get messed up. Though, with my fox face, I did take the cardboard out of the ears while he was still very, very slightly damp so the ears dried a little more naturally, and not standing pin straight up.

More photos to come when they're dry.
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Re: Crafting With Fur

Postby DeweysMom » Mon Dec 29, 2014 12:23 pm

Thanks so much for posting step-by-step instructions along with the pictures. I still haven't had a chance to ask the person who gave me the hide how it was tanned, but plan to get in touch with them shortly. I can't wait to get to work on my coyote pelt and hopefully will have as much success with the face as you've had with yours.
Thanks again!
Dana

2 Dogs - a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, & an Australian Shepherd; 3 Cats; 2 horses, 1 mule; One very spoiled raccoon and the love of my life, Dewey James, and the recently added but much adored, Bobby Lee, brother raccoon to Dewey
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Re: Crafting With Fur

Postby Juska » Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:07 pm

I made a bag out of a cross fox face and a charcoal grey rabbit hide I had. I didn't take photos during the process because I was kind of winging it, lol, but when I make my next one with one of the coyote faces I'll take pictures while doing it. I'll post photos of the cross fox bag when I get home today.
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Re: Crafting With Fur

Postby Juska » Mon Dec 29, 2014 3:58 pm

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Much better. Now off into to the cardboard box to completely dry and go back to being a tanned hide, then they're ready for crafting.
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Re: Crafting With Fur

Postby Juska » Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:21 pm

Here are the photos of that cross fox cross-body bag I made.

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Before...

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...after! There wasn't much I could do to hide the really white leather on this face, also his ear tips were bare, so he looks a little goofy. But I wanted to try something on the smaller side.

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Lined inside with muslin.

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The back.
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Re: Crafting With Fur

Postby DeweysMom » Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:56 pm

I think it turned out pretty well for your first attempt!

I wonder if you could use some kind of dye or something on those white areas you mentioned to make them a little less noticeable?? Might check with a taxidermist and see if they can recommend something...
Dana

2 Dogs - a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, & an Australian Shepherd; 3 Cats; 2 horses, 1 mule; One very spoiled raccoon and the love of my life, Dewey James, and the recently added but much adored, Bobby Lee, brother raccoon to Dewey
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Re: Crafting With Fur

Postby Juska » Sun Jan 04, 2015 4:39 pm

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Materials (sans coyote face)

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Lined inside!

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All done.

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I totally forgot to take photos as I was making this one. Doh!

I still have plenty of stuff to make more bags though so I will try my hardest to remember to take pictures next time XD
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Re: Crafting With Fur

Postby Ash » Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:36 pm

Ooh, I like that one. :) While animal pelts/taxidermy isn't really my "thing," I can still totally appreciate it and find it beautiful. Love going to museums with nicely taxidermy animals as long as the mounts are done well. Bone recreation is what I'd be most interested in doing, personally. I'd like a snake skeleton, so maybe when one of my snakes kicks the bucket I'd try it.

But your handbag looks really pretty. You've definitely got talent.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, 3 tarantulas

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