Gator hide curing? - Mississippi Hunting and Fishing Forums
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Someone had a nice tutorial on how to cure your gator hide for display on the old forum. I looked and didn't see it on here. If anyone has a link or the creator has it saved can they please post it again.
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Old 08-01-2010, 05:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Give me some time. I will get it posted in a few weeks.

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Old 08-01-2010, 05:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by gatorman
Give me some time. I will get it posted in a few weeks.

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Team Amos Moses
Thanks.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Ok. After many requests, I will now post my method of curing an alligator hide for one's personal use and display. This method has been used on four gators taken by Team Amos Moses and has worked great for the display of the gator hides. It is not a professional method, but has worked for me. I have constructed this method by reading everything that I could find about curing a gator hide. Please feel free to ask me questions about it, but realize I am simply an outdoorsman like the rest of you, and that I am not a professional taxidermist.

First, you MUST make preparations for curing your gator hide prior to begining the process. Several have stated on this forum how to preserve a hide after skinning a gator. The hide can be stored in this manner until you are ready to begin the tanning process.

I have never stored a hide by rolling in salt and freezing. I have always had everything ready to begin the tanning process before the hunt and begin immediately after killing the gator.

After checking in our gator, we immediately ice the gator down before going to bed. The next day, we skin the gator using the "horn-back" method. An incision is made down the center of the ventral side of the gator from the chin down through the end of the tail. The gator is then carefully skinned. We leave the feet on the gator, making a cut from the center of the foot straight to the center cut on the belly side. Care must be taken to remove all of the bones and meat from the feet. Cut the toes off of the toe bone at the last joint and toe nail will remain on the hide. Care must be taken to remove ALL of the tail bone. Remove as much meat from the hide, especially from the tail and the back under the thick hide and scutes.

After skinning is complete, remove the meat, bag and store.

At this point, I take a pressure washer and GENTLY wash the flesh side of the hide. You CAN tear the hide if not careful! This is a very simple way to completely flesh your hide to remove almost 100% of the remaining flesh.

We take a barrel with us to create a brine solution to place the hide in. We mix 25 gallons of water, 50 pounds of salt, 1 pound of Borax, and 1 pint of bleach. Mix thoroughly using a boat paddle. It is tough to get 50 pounds of salt dissolved into solution but it can be done. Salt the hide with a 1/2 inch of salt and roll tightly. Tie the hide with large rubber bands or pieces of inner tube like you use to tie a gator's mouth with. Place into brine solution. The salt will wick the brine solution up into the hide and help with the preservation process. I leave it in this solution for a week or more.

When you are ready to tan the hide, you must time the remainder of the process to fit your schedule.

Remove the hide from the brine soultion, unroll it, and wash it with a hose to remove all of the old salt. Pour out the brine solution and start over with the next solution. Make a solution using Lutan-F and salt. Lutan-F is a powder that can obtained from many taxidermy supply sites. Add 1.5 ounces of Lutan-F per gallon and 10 ounces of salt per gallon. I usually mix up 10 gallons for one hide, but had to mix 15 gallons for a bigger gator hide. Completely immerse the hide in this solution. Make sure the hide is completely covered by the solution. You may need to place a weight on the hide to keep it under the solution. THE HIDE MUST COME OUT BETWEEN 24 AND 48 HOURS!!! When you are ready to remove hide, add a small amount of sodium acetate to the solution, stir, and let sit for 90 minutes. Remove the hide and wash thoroughly with a hose. Allow it to drain for 30 minutes or so. Apply warm (I set it out in the sun) True-Tan Reptile Tanning Oil to the flesh side. Rub it thoroughly. Lay the hide on a sheet of plywood flesh side down. Bigger gators may take two or three sheets laid together to make it fit. Start at the tail and begin nailing the hide down to the plywood. Stretch it as you go. Use 1 inch finishing nails that can easily be removed after the hide is dry. Place a nail close to the edge of the hide through every other scale. Stretch the feet and legs out at the angle you want them on the display. I cut the excess hide off to make a perfectly flat mount. I stretch the extra pieces out and nail them down as well. I use these for jewelry and such. Once the hide is completely stretched out and nailed down, rub oil on the scale side of the hide. Place a fan blowing over the hide and let it sit for a month or two. It will take this long to completely dry the hide.



Once dry, pull the nails, and place the hide on a board you want to use for permanent display. Nail the hide to the board using either aluminum or brass nails. DO NOT USE anything with iron in it. It will rust. Stainless steel carpet tacks DO NOT WORK. The hide will rust the nails over time and you will have a mess. I know...I got one right now.

I hope this helps. Like I said, it has worked for me.





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Old 08-03-2010, 05:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Come on guys..............where is the APPLAUSE
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheStump
Come on guys..............where is the APPLAUSE
Great Job. It does sound like quite a process.
Stump, I think you have to go to Australia or New Zealand to find the APPLAUSE.
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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SMART ELLIC!!!
Awesome job on the skins!!!
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Old 08-04-2010, 05:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the compliments. It is a very time consuming process. But, it is worth it once you have it mounted and in place.

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Old 08-04-2010, 06:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I do taxidermy and we use Denatured Alcohol to preserve the entire gator skin (head and all). It's pricey but it's a lot simpler to do. Clean hide just like you said with pressure washer, take the eyes out of skull, and tounge, if you want the mouth open prop it open with cut off broom handle, submerge hide in drum of Denatured Alcohol. Come back in 3 to 4 weeks and strech it on your board, install glass eyes coat with clear gloss sealer and thats about it. It kinda mummifies the head and all.
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onastring
I do taxidermy and we use Denatured Alcohol to preserve the entire gator skin (head and all). It's pricey but it's a lot simpler to do. Clean hide just like you said with pressure washer, take the eyes out of skull, and tounge, if you want the mouth open prop it open with cut off broom handle, submerge hide in drum of Denatured Alcohol. Come back in 3 to 4 weeks and strech it on your board, install glass eyes coat with clear gloss sealer and thats about it. It kinda mummifies the head and all.

Post some pics if you have 'em. I'd like to see how it comes out.
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