cross cut rabbit strips [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: cross cut rabbit strips

08-23-2001, 10:55 AM
Hey everyone this is my first post, I'm a new member, and am looking forward to talking to all of you.
Anyway... Has enyone ever tried to cut thier own rabbit strips from a skin. I have a couple of good skins that I aquired just for this reason and thought that you might have a couple of tips before I get started. Thanks

John Desjardins
08-23-2001, 11:37 AM
I'm no expert at this but from my feeble attempts at this I can offer the following hints:

Hold the skin taut when cutting.

Cut from the back side of the pelt, .

On the cross cut strips be very careful to only cut through the skin, and not into the fur. I've lost 1/2 of the fur by cutting too deep on some strips.

Don't try to cut a strip the length of the pelt. Shorter lengths are easier to control.

Good luck.

08-23-2001, 11:55 AM
I've cut pelts but only straight cuts and taper cuts for tails. If the strips are thin enough you get a crosscut effect but need to wrap more times.

I used the same technique as JohnD, cut from the pelt using a pair of Fiskars squeeze scissors using the tips of the scissors.

I would go chat with the ladies at the fabric store. Every time I've asked such a question at the check out counter, any craft savvy gal in the vicinity would come flying over to offer advice.

Maybe you could ask a fur-coat maker, they would definitely know. Is Walter Dyer's still in business in Boston?

08-23-2001, 03:32 PM
All the fore mentioned information is sound advise. If you are really going to get into it, a wooden frame with brads as tack areas work fine. Keeping the rabbit pelt taut is the trick. And as was mentioned cut the pelt side, but not hard enough to cut the hair fibers. Using industrial safety razor blades wedge between comb teeth will control the thickness of each strip. You can cut a gang of them at a time. Don't cut the skin end completely. Start you're first cut further in from the end and finish before the end. Then you won't have clamping problems.

My advise, just buy 'em already cut. It's not worth the time and trouble to get down to the real basics.

08-23-2001, 04:11 PM
The price is probably 20 to 1 in favor of the pelt, but once you factor in labor...

Other than tapering into thin tails, cutting very narrow strips for palmering, or forming certain shapes that you want, pre-cuts are the way to go for 'normal' applications.

Dble Haul
09-05-2001, 09:59 AM
As someone has already mentioned, the important part of cutting rabbit strips is keeping them taut. I discovered a while back that there's an easy way to do this. There's a gizmo that people use to filet fish; it's a cutting board with a toothed clamp on one end to grab the fish's tail while scaling and fileting. It turns out that this gadget is also very handy for holding one end of a rabbit pelt while it is cut with a straight edge razor into strips. Works for me. ;D


Ken_ D
12-11-2004, 06:13 PM
The big downside to buying pre-cut rabbit strips: you are a the total mercy of the supplier. Unless one buys the 'name-brand' magnum strips from the famous Oregon company, the strips in the little plastic bag are some of the sorriest, scuzziest, saddest, mangiest, thinnest, strips on the planet....cut from the poorest grade pelts ever....If your marketplace offers better, good on ya !!!! NOT SO HERE !!!! c.r.a.p. (ola)
Doing one's own means there is some control of the process, by using decent pelts from the git-go. There are several grades of pelt, ranging from garment grade, down to the ones razor/scissor/sharpening folks use to test their edges on.

12-12-2004, 12:43 PM
If you are using lots of strips, cutting your own makes sense, I use 2 white and one red each season, so cutting them makes sense, otherwise buy them, some are better than others..., in two sizes...
I do the same a Ray's suggestion, a rack is neccessary for good cuts. First, square of the skin, use the trimming as dubbing. I made cutters of different sizes (width) by using Shick Injector razor blades. You can do the same by splitting two edged razor blades. Just cut spacers exactly the size of the strips you need and then glue the assembly together with one top and one bottom piece. Blade-spacer-blade-spacer etc. Make sure there is enough wood contact on each spacer for the wood glue to take hold. Duct tape holds the lot together. The blade is about 1 inch long and the cuting edge is about 1/2 inch with the other 1/2 inch glued in. For cross cuts, I'll wet the hair enough to comb it straight, when dry, then I cut! My cutters typically last for 6 skins before the blades get too dull for good cuts.
God luck!

12-12-2004, 01:01 PM
I agree with Ken, most of the strips you find on the pegboards in the flyshop are pretty miserable. I finally found a good source, The Fly Fishing Shop, one of the sponsors of this board, so I guess I can post a link (?).

I've been using their "stripped whole hides" both cross-cut and straight, and they are superb IMHO.
All the usual disclaimers- I've no connection, just a happy customer, etc. etc.

Ken_ D
12-12-2004, 01:45 PM
Excellent posts, men.... I never ever have minded paying proper money for proper's only when the goods are substandard, being passed off as "el primo" I struggle. Thanks for the cutting tips.

This link may be of interest. Note the prices for 100 plus pelts........

It would be very interesting to compare the quality of dyed pelts "pre-zonked" from the shop link above, to the uncut dyed pelts as supplied by the folks back east.