Relax… and Stretch Your Capes Out
A Must Have For Stretchy Capes
Over the years many taxidermists have dealt with the issue of shrinking hides. You send your cape off to be tanned, you take your measurements, order the form, and get everything ready. But when you begin to mount and slide the cape on the form, it doesn’t fit. You end up having to trim the form or worse, have a nasty looking stitch down the back. It’s a frustrating situation. We always want our hides to be stretchy and easy to work with.
We’ve been asked many times how we get our stretch and the main reason is the thinness of the hide. It must be shaved thin to allow the oil to penetrate and give the hide some elasticity. But there is another secret that not many people know about and it’s a product called Kemal-4 by Knobloch’s. It’s a detergent type degreaser and cleaner but it has an excellent relaxing effect with the oil we use. We found that when you wash the hides before you mount them it allows the hides to stretch even more, than if not using a washing/relaxing agent. We’ve taken measurements after oiling the hides on 20-22-inch deer, that stretch to 24-25 inches after the Kemal bath.
We wash the thawed cape in a mix of Kemal and warm water (about 1-2 ounce per 4 gallons of water). It’s important to agitate the hide while in the bath. The whole process only takes about 5 minutes and it will also help clean any excess oil or dirt out of the hair. You will feel a noticeable difference after the bath. After rinsing spin the cape out in a washing machine on spin cycle, or if you don’t have access you can just hang to dry for half an hour and squeeze out most of the excess moisture.
The low pH is helpful in case you misjudge the amount you use, so you won’t need to worry about slipping issues with this product. This combination has worked wonders for our skins over the years. This is a great additive for normal to large sized mammals (deer, elk, moose, sheep, etc..). The product runs about $50 per gallon but it goes a long way using only an ounce or two at a time. We stand by this product and love how it works with our tan. So if you’re having any issues with you post-tanned skins give Kemal-4 by Knobloch’s a try.
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