Make the job of fleshing animal hides easier with this excellent PVC fleshing beam design.
Whether you’re a trapper who prepares furs for market or a hunter who tans hides as a hobby, thoroughly removing any fat or meat from a hide following the skinning of an animal is a crucial step. A well designed fleshing beam will help the job go smoothly and quickly, especially if you’ve got a number of hides to process.
While wood – generally a prepared section of a modestly sized tree trunk – is the traditional fleshing beam material, large diameter modern PVC pipe has taken its place as a preferred material for many trappers. PVC has several advantages: it’s inexpensive, is naturally smooth and requires relatively little preparatory work, it’s lighter and harder than wood, is easily maneuverable, and comes in various diameters for differently sized hides.
While some trappers use whole sections of PVC as fleshing beams with little to no manipulation, the design shown in this video does require some work to effectively shape the pipe. While this construction is a little more elaborate than many, it is also smartly designed and more flexible in its applications.
While Coon Creek Outdoors does not provide detailed plans or a lot of measurements for the construction of this fleshing beam, you ought to be able to replicate the design simply by examining the video.
One of the take-aways I pulled from his build is the angle and height of the beam. He indicated that he prefers a 55 degree fleshing angle and a slightly higher board. Traditional plans for fleshing beams often called for shallower, even horizontal angles, and beams at midsection height, which had you doing a fair amount of repeated bending or leaning into the fleshing motion. The steeper angle compels him to use his arms more than his back, which sounds like an excellent idea to me.
I also like how he has made the structure conducive to easily changing out one size PVC beam for another, by virtue of a simple slot or “locking” feature. The addition of two sections of blue plastic drum on either side of the beam is also a stroke of inspiration. Those wells will catch the greasy droppings from the scraping process and make cleanup a lot easier.
Again, this is an impressive design and is, in my opinion, well worth considering for anyone who is in the business of processing multiple hides. Is there anything you might do to improve this design even more?