The slide specimen below is from the flesh side of the same whitetail cape.
STOP-ROT is a tool. Nice things about it is that you don't have to plug it into an electrical outlet, and using it doesn't cause you to break out into a sweat.
Like any other tool, the more you learn about it's use, the better use you can make of it. Like any tool, the more you use it, the better you get with it. It doesn't take long before the tricks that used to be difficult become just another matter of routine.
These photos should help to give you a better understanding of skin structure, and also help you understand the effectiveness of STOP-ROT as a pre-treatment for skins.
You will be able to see how STOP-ROT has bonded the extra cellular fluids of the skin, and in turn bonded to the slimy membrane (hypodermis) of the cape. That in turn makes for easier physical removal of the membrane in fleshing. The combination of chemical work, and physical work has done a lot of the work that would normally be done with the combination of acid and salt.
The work at the microscopic level, like you see here, is what provides me with the leads for the next round of potential developements and applications.
What appears to be a fresh whitetail cape in the photos is a whitetail cape, but it is NOT fresh. The cape had been treated with STOP-ROT and then frozen for fourteen months in the same thin plastic garbage bag you see pictured. If you have any experience what so ever, you already know what this cape would normally look like.
A photo of the thinnest place on the membrane is presented here. To give an idea as to how much magnification was used, the somewhat "egg shaped" spot you see in the right hand corner section of the photo "might" be a blood corpuscle that has not ruptured.
The fairly even dispersal of the iron blood pigment heme appears as the obvious. A lack of oxidation of the same might also be considered to be obvious.
This section may also be regarded as containing cellular structures in the living animal. There is a lack of definition of readily recognizable cell membranes.
STOP-ROT AS A PREPARATION FOR TANNING
These next three photos should help to show at least one of the reasons as to why STOP-ROT helps with efficiency in an acid pickle.
As you have already seen in the above photos, there is a "drawing", or wicking action of some sort going on with the slimy membrane and STOP-ROT.
When the flesh side of a treated whitetail cape is exposed to the air, it appears that the wicking to the slimy membrane continues as surface evaporations take place. After not a lot of drying, the slimy membrane is no longer slimy, and becomes a real breeze to flesh, by hand, or by machine.
I have been getting about a sixteen to twenty hour time window before the cape starts getting dry and hard enough to start dulling scapel blades. You did read that time frame correctly.
By keeping desired areas wet with STOP-ROT (lips, ears, eyelids, nose pads), some really serious fleshing, and shaving or thinning, can be done right up front with the scapel.
The first photo shows how the STOP-ROT has flushed the solubile fluids from between the supporting collagen fibres of the skin. The reddish-brown sections are fluids that did not get removed, normally the whole skin would look like the dark spots.
The second photo is a crop and enlarge section of the first photo.
NOTICE: The integrity of the collagen structure appears very much preserved in these photos.
The photo below is the best photo of a section of collagen fibres that I have been able to pull off yet with the equipment I have. You can "almost" make out the helical twist of the fibres in this photo. This was a crystal clear (literally!) image to the eye through the microscope. It's a shame I haven't been able to figure out a way to produce better quality photos so I can share some of this stuff I see on a routine basis.
Regardless, feel free to print it out as a wallet size print that you can carry with you, it's still probably better than the one you are currently carrying.
STOP-ROT is available from these taxidermy supply distributors and tanneries: Order on-line from high lighted suppliers!
Wildlife Artist Supply Company 1-800-334-8012
Quality Taxidermy Supply 1-888-527-8722
Taxidermy Arts Supply TASCO
Lonestar Wool & Fur 1-919-989-2000
SIVKO FUR, INC. 1-607-698-4827
James Taxidermy Supply (formerly Kings)
WHITETAIL DESIGNER SYSTEMS 1-866-849-9198