Invicta Flies - Preserving Feathers & Fur
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There is great satisfaction in tying one's own flies.  Taking that enjoyment a step further is preserving your own materials.  If you hunt or trap, or know someone who does, you can minimize the waste of the animal by using the fur or feathers in flytying.  Often, local taxidermists will have scraps you can pick up for very little money or free, usually already tanned.  Processing stations may also have skins, but you should make sure these are as fresh as possible.  Preserved hides need not be messy or smelly.  If done right, you can have a quality hide that is safe and a pleasure to work with.

There are many methods to preserving skins, and it is best to review a few to decide which methods will work best for you.  There are a few books on the subject, the best I've seen being "The Complete Book of Tanning Skins & Furs" by James Churchill.  Look these over and talk to others with experience before purchasing materials or obtaining fresh skins.

First Step & Fleshing

Borax (good, easiest)

Alum (better, easy)