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DIY Crosscut & Zonker Rabbit?


Ben Lubchansky
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Does anyone have any tips for making your own crosscut and zonker strips. I'd much rather spend $7 on a lifetime supply ( or nearly) from 1 rabbit pelt than get nickle and dimed for 3'- if it can be done effectively.

Ive tried freehand with scissors, and using a straightedge and razor from both the fur and flesh sides. So far nothing is satisfactory.

Thanks!

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Guest rich mc

from what i have heard and read about cutting the strips.razor blades or x acto blades work. skin must be hung and stretched tight and cut from the hide side. some have made a tool holding multiple blades at a set distance apart . rich

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from what i have heard and read about cutting the strips.razor blades or x acto blades work. skin must be hung and stretched tight and cut from the hide side. some have made a tool holding multiple blades at a set distance apart . rich

 

There are tools available that can be used to cut the hide. I bought one at one of the fly shows several years back. They work very nicely. Mine has about 7 sharp blades taht can be set to varying distances apart for standard and magnum strips as you desire. The trick on cutting the hides though is not to hold them tight against the backing so as not to cut any of the hair. Some use a clipboard and hold the hide only at the one end and then cut the hide holding the other end so that the strips are cut evenly. You can buy hides that are zonked (cut into strips). Most all of the fly shops carry them including Bass Pro Shops.

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Ben,

 

I have been cutting strips from a rabbit hide I found at a Hobby Lobby a while back. My equipment is a sharp Exacto hobby knife and a small (about 6 inch) embroidery hoop from the craft section of Walmart. They cost 1-2 dollars. Stretch the section you want to cut hide side up in the hoop. Observe the lay of the hair to achieve a straight cut or crosscut strip. Mark the hide side with a ballpoint and ruler for the width of strip you want. Cut from the hide side. Careful. Don't rest the hoop on your knee. I use a piece of heavy cardboard to protect the surface where I rest the hoop for cutting. This is not high volume production, but it gets me the strips I need. I don't mind the pen markings on the hide since the flies are for my own use. The ink comes out over time. If you don't like marking on the hide, I suppose you could lay a strip of masking tape on the hide, mark the tape, and cut through the tape and hide to make your strip. Or use the edge of the tape as a cutting guide.

 

The hide didn't cost much more than a pack or two of bunny strips as I recall. But I haven't seen any lately. Where do you get your hides?

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Wow, thanks for the great leads everyone. I really appreciate the feedback. I had almost thrown in the towel and concluded that hand cut zonkers (fairly effective with scissors) can just be used in lieu of crosscut for palmering as in the hairy fodder. And I still think they can for personal tying. But crosscut looks so good. Anyway, My wife has the hoops upsatirs and I'm about to try that.

Heres a link to a site with hides http://www.anglersworkshop.com/items.aspx?catid=1033

I like this places selection, price and selection of hooks in particular and they had everything I was looking for in materials all from one place - those shipping costs will eat you alive. Otherwise I sure prefer buying in person at shops (none near C-U) or at shows.

Thanks again.

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I found this video on how to make a cutter. Very simple and a whole lot cheaper than buying the tool made specifically for the job. think I'll make one Sunday!

 

http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to/video/how-to-make-your-own-zonker-strip-cutter-287262/

That was great. I'd wear gloves around that multiblade cutter, however. I don't see those double edged blades a lot anymore. Any ideas for a source on them?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mike G.'s suggestion of using an embroidery hoop worked like a charm. I found that the key is to keep things taught. The best way to do this is to make your cuts incrementally, scoring all the lines first with a fresh razor and then going back to cut a little deeper, perforating the lines; and, finally teasing them apart or cutting all the way through. Next, free the pelt from the hoop and trim out your series of strips leafing a 1/4" tag on each end that allows the strips to stay attached to each other as a group until you need them.

Note that I only used the widest part of the hoop, and that I placed the last working edge at the midpoint allowing me to work continuously down the pelt.

This yielded excellent results.

DO resist the temptation to work over your thigh!

 

The cutter in the video above would certainly work in conjuntion with this hoop idea, but yeah, wear gloves! That thing is stitches waiting to happen.

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I found this video on how to make a cutter. Very simple and a whole lot cheaper than buying the tool made specifically for the job. think I'll make one Sunday!

 

http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to/video/how-to-make-your-own-zonker-strip-cutter-287262/

Nice site with lots of other tips. If you made the tool,I'd love to see it some time. I didn't even know what you use zonker strips for, but now I not only see how to make them, I see what to do with them!

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As for the double-edged razor blades, I've found them at our Meijer store. Wal-Mart quit carrying them. I haven't looked, but would think Walgreens would also carry them. They are getting hard to find. Think I'm going to start stocking up 'cause one of these days they won't be around anymore! :( They are also the greatest for trimming spun deer hair.

 

Brian

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  • 5 months later...

Though I am still a fan of the embroidery hoop, I have to report on a simpler way of doing the job that I just found in one of Skip Morris's books. He clamps the edge of the hide in his vise, pulls the hide taught with one hand, and with the other hand cuts the strip on the hide side using a razor blade.

 

KISS :(

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  • 4 months later...

Though I am still a fan of the embroidery hoop, I have to report on a simpler way of doing the job that I just found in one of Skip Morris's books. He clamps the edge of the hide in his vise, pulls the hide taught with one hand, and with the other hand cuts the strip on the hide side using a razor blade.

 

KISS :(

 

Very funny. About 2 weeks after my last post on this topic i figured this above idea out on my own - it works great and is a cinch. I now keep one of those fat black paper clips permanently on the stem of my vise for this purpose it is easy and very cost effective. I'll demonstrate it at the Tie-In this Sunday. Over all I'll bet you get $60 worth of strips out of one $7.50 skin.

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You are the man on this one, Ben.

 

Your key is buying the whole rabbit hides. Once one has the hide, one can cut strips to any size and shape as needed-no fancy expensive tools required. Again thanks for sharing your source for hides. I wish I had known about that earlier.

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