Trappers know how important a well-made fleshing beam is to pelt preparation. The best beams are smooth, round and narrow enough to allow someone to work the pelt. Carving a traditional wooden fleshing beam, however, can take hours. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) offers several advantages over traditional wooden beams. It is lighter, its surface is less porous than wood and the material is very simple with which to work. Moreover, you can make a new PVC fleshing beam in less than one hour.
Cut a 48-inch length from an 8-inch diameter PVC drain pipe. Split the pipe by cutting at the half-way point of its diameter on each side. The result will be two half pipes. Set aside 1/2 of the pipe.
Mark a 3-inch width centered at one end of the half pipe. Using a straight edge, mark a line extending from the right side of that mark to a point 1 foot from the pipe's opposite end. Cut along that line. Repeat the procedure on the opposite side of the pipe, or beam. Sand both sides using a belt sander to remove sharp edges. Narrow one end of the beam with the belt sander to create a blunt, rounded point. The resulting shape should resemble a narrow ironing board.
Cut a notch that is 1 1/4 inches wide by 1 inch deep in the beam's wide end. Mount the beam on a fleshing-beam stand so that it lies securely with little movement possible. Adjust the notch's width as needed. The finished beam should be smooth and sturdy enough to allow you to work a pelt confidently.
- Wear protective gear when working with power tools.
- Some pelt workers prefer a slightly roughened surface. Sand the finished beam as required to achieve a work surface that suits your needs.
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