[Jacob-list] Re: Pelts
Jacobflock at aol.com
Jacobflock at aol.com
Fri Nov 3 14:51:03 EST 2000
Fred Horak here.
When you take a sheep in for butcher; be sure to ask to have the skin
removed carefully so you can have it tanned. Slits and cuts in the skin at
butchering mess up a pelt.
Immediately after skinning, (sometimes butchers do a fast freeze of the pelt
which you can pick up when you pick up the meat order) set the pelt (which
seems to weigh 700 pounds) over a board or rail without nails to get the skin
to ambient temperature (skin is hot after skinning, frozen if the butcher
quick freezes). Remove any excess fat or flesh tissue as soon as possible by
using a small piece of wood (like a wooden ruler) which is used on edge, ie.
vertically? Not taking off the excess fat causes "fat burn" (a hard or waxy
area on the skin side of the finished pelt).
After removing the fat and flesh, place the skin on a board, skin side up and
cover it with a quarter inch of salt...especially the edges which have a
tendency to "curl". You may use 3 pounds per skin but salt is cheap and the
key to a good pelt. Salt melts fat....rock breaks scissors, scissors cuts
paper...and don't put it in the sun. The salt liquifies the fat so place it
in such a manner that the melted fat runs off.
After 48 hours, shake off the first salt application and salt it again and
leave it to dry a bit....never in the sun not in front of a heater...just
natural air drying. Never ever allow a raw skin to be placed skin side up in
sunlight because this causes extreme "fat burn". A well salted and air dried
hide can be stored for months in a dry area without a major loss in quality.
If in doubt about how good a job of cleaning and salting one does, the better
course is to ship the salt dried pelt at about two weeks (which now weighs
about 5 pounds) to the tanner and have the tanner deal with any problem
Some no-nos: Do not ship frozen pelts in cardboard boxes. Do not ship pelts
at any stage in plastic bags. Ship them in a sturdy cardboard box lined with
newspaper or other absorbent material. Processing for a pelt can take from
five to ten weeks depending on deer season. Pelt tanning generally costs
$30-$50 per pelt depending on the tanner and process. Jacob pelts can be
sold for $45-$75. There is a process that allows a pelt to be washed in a
regular washing machine and dried in a dryer without the wool turning
"yellow". Watch your margin between cost and sale so you don't get taken by
Before tanning a pelt, consider the pelt color...Jacob pelts get a premium
for color; white wool pelts are more a commodity. Consider the fleece.
Hairy/kempy fleeces will tan as hairy/kempy (unkempt) pelts. Crimpy fleeces
tan as wonderful soft wool pelts. Fred.
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