Green fur pelts are dried by pulling them over a wooden stretching board and tacking them down. The pelt draws tight against the board as it dries, which can result in difficulty when removing the pelt. A wooden wedge slid in between the full length of the green pelt and the board will create a gap that will it make it easier to pull the dried pelt off the board. Two different sizes of wedges are needed---a thin one for small pelts, such as those from a mink or muskrat, and a thicker wedge for large pelts, such as those from a fox or coyote.
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Things you need
- 1 1/2-inch wide lath material
- 1/2-inch wide half-round wood trim
- Tape measure
- Coping hand saw
- Medium-grit sandpaper
- Fine-grit sandpaper
- Liquid wood sealer
- 1/2-inch wide paintbrush
Prepare the lath material for the smaller pelts. Cut the lath to the same length as the stretching board to be used. Rip the lath to 3/4-inch wide strips for wedging mink pelts; leave it full width for muskrat and similar size pelts.
Cut the half-round wood trim to the length of the stretching board to be used. Use this for making the wedges for large pelts such as raccoon, coyote, fox and bobcat pelts.
Cut one end of both types of wedges to a rounded, tapered point.
Sand the wedges smooth with the medium-grit sandpaper. Round off all the sharp edges and tapered point. Complete the sanding with the fine-grit sandpaper, stopping when you have achieved a perfectly smooth finish.
Paint the wedges with the liquid wood sealer and leave them to thoroughly dry before using.
Tips and warnings
- Slide the wedges, point toward the head, in between the pelt and board before pulling the pelt down and tacking it into place.
- When using the half-round wedges, the flat side goes against the board and the round side goes against the pelt.
- The wedge goes on the underside of the pelt. The wedge will leave a ridge in the dried pelt; this is not a problem as furriers use the backs of the pelts, not the underside. It is not desirable to have the ridge on the back of the pelt.
- Slide the wedge under the top side of bobcat pelts, because the underside of this particular animal's pelt is what fur buyers are interested in.
- Lath material often has a rough finish and needs considerable sanding to smooth. Putting a rough wedge under the pelt can result in pulling hair out of the pelt or ripping the flesh side when the wedge is pulled out. Be sure the wedges are perfectly smooth.
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