Rattlesnake

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This is a small portion of the last rattler that I skinned. I turned plain unknown wood wodn to desired size then applied the skin (already tanned and well dried) with CA glue. After that was dry I gave it 7 or 8 coats of CA, when real dry I put it back on the lathe and sanded to 12000.

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tipusnr

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Wait a minute! Let me get this right....you skinned a rattlesnake in order to make a pen? And I thought I was cheap!! Definitely a unique pen Bev. My hat's off to you!!
 
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Denise, I tried doing this with a pater at the join but the skin would not cooperate and lie flat. Now I thought of doing it without a seam, that may be the best way to do. The piece that has the smallest lines is from the tail section and the bigger pattern is from the middle of the snake. No, I really didn't kill the snake for his skin. Where we live, we do not kill them in the wild, this one insisted on being in the yard to we had to get rid of him. Every once in a while that happens. I still have one skin in the freezer and am getting ready to process it. I take it out and fasten it to a board all stretched out and cover it with salt. A nice 1/4" thick layer and set it out in the shop for at lease 3 weeks or longer. Then when it is completely dry it is brittle so I rub all the caked on salt off and coat it with a heavy coat of glycerine on the backside and rub it in good. Let it set again for a week or so and wipe it down. Then brush all the little dried flecks off with a fine brush and wala? you have a nice skin. My hubby thinks I'm nuts but it is really easy to skin a snake!!
 

Scott

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Bev,

You know, there is more than one way to skin a snake! ;-)

Great pen! Have you seen any of the rattlesnake pens made by Jay Pickens or the Baldwin Brothers? Essentially, they glue the skin to the brass tube, then cast it inside polyester resin, and then turn it to the shape you want for your pen. It kind of allows the seam to hide. But you wouldn't get the "feel" of the snake skin like you would with yours. Excellent job!

Scott.
 

C_Ludwigsen

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THAT is a truly incredible pen, Bev. Congrats. Isn't there a saying to the effect of "Thy pen doth drip with venom".... If not, there is now ;-)
 

Daniel

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Bev,
Nice job withthe skin. I wanted to offer anouther formula for curing it though. from several years ago when i tried my hand a taxodermy.
i cup of borax soap to one gal of water, with a few drops of formaldahyde.
I got the formaldyhyde from a local vet. you only need three or four drops per gal. then soak the skin for a day or two. this stops all decaying of the skin. you can use it straight out of the jar this way while it is still soft. it will then harden as it dries out. I pickeled an entire deer hide this way. It is not tanning the skin just curing.
 

Kurt Aebi

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Mar 26, 2004
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North Springfield, Vermont, USA.
Bev,

Nice job with the Snake Pen and thanks for the tip about buying from Ryan at Woodturningz, I told them that you had referred me and I got $5.00 off the total and you got credits from my purchase.

I am a taxidermist, I haven't done any snakes, but deer heads, etc. I have done. I read Daniel's post and wanted to let you know that there is a substitute for formaldehyde that is safe to use (Rittel's Preservz-It formaldehyde replacement solution and is available from WASCO (Wildlife Artist Supply Company in Georgia www.taxidermy.com 800-334-8012) and they also have a product called Snaketan. The stuff ain't cheap, but it will produce a supple leather from your snakeskin (so they say - like I said, I haven't tried a snake yet) i deal mainly with WASCO as they have a very good inventory and is owned and operated by a world class taxidermist - so I believe she would only sell things that really worked. I you do choose the formaldehyde approach - be extremely careful as it is a known carcinogen. Use Dawn dishwashing detergent to wash the raw skin to remove any fat or grease after you scrape the skin and before you salt it down. Using the tanning solutions, you may not need to let the skin sit as long as you did. Usually with mammal pelts, I just salt for 48 - 60 hours and then proceeed to fleshing (scraping th efat & stuff off) then tanning.
 
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Thanks everybody for the kind words. Thanks for the tips to both Daniel and Kurt. I only have one skin left but have printed out both your ideas and will save them for future use. We only kill the rattlers if they are in the part of the yard that is cleared. That is about 1 1/2 acres out of 12.We love to see them out in the desert and in the mountains and that is their territory.
 
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