I dont have alot of experience with trapping, and was wondering what the main difference was between a fleshing beam and a wood stretcher? Can a wooden stretcher be used as both or do i need to get a fleshing beam and make up a few wood stretchers. I used to trap alot of rats and we would always flesh them on the stretcher. I have no experience with fox, marten, lynx and those are the animals i want to focus on this winter.
A wood stretcher is much thinner and lighter than a fleshing beam. The beams I use for fleshing are about 4" thick and heavy. You can press into it and it doesn't move or bend. Most my wood stretchers are also adjustable. For the animals your focussing on you don't need one. The first wolverine or otter you get you'll want one.
For fox you can easily use cheaper wire stretchers. I like the adjustable wood for lynx and marten I use marten or lg mink boards but I mink oil the boards so they don't rip furs when I pull them off.
Make sure you flip/turn your fox before dry to much or the legs will get stuck inside.
PS: I flesh all these critters on the stretchers as well.
Ok that brings up my next question. After i skin the animal can somebody give me a quick detail of how i should prepare the fur. Do i let it dry awhile with fur in and then how long do i wait before i flip it to fur out to finish drying? Or do i have all this backwards? When i did muskrats all i ever did was skin them and stretch them fur in and sold them to the fur buyer that way.
First it depends on your drying room conditions. I dry my furs in a heated garage with a fan. It stays about 70 degrees in there. Fox and lynx are my number one target and take about two hours max fur in then I flip them. Last year I skinned all my fur taxidermy style (paws, lips, penis sheath, etc... left on). I always tie a cord around the pad area so when I flip them I can easily pull the legs and arms back through.
Marten only take about 30-45 min. If you wait to long on them you will rip them. Make sure you don't over stretch them they shrink tight on the board and are really hard to take off.