I would like to hear some more on a few items.
I for one have always been one to stretttccchhhh my fur. I was glad to hear the comments about pulling down the hide on a marten. If you run your hand down firmly on the skin sides of a a pinned marten you can always come up with some extra that could have been pinned longer. I do my share of firm strokes prior to final pinning. I can put you over on size quite often. I loosely pin my back feet and start stroking. Pin the middle of tail and work the base of the tail left and right. Then go to the back feet.
Something else I do that adds to the length. I spit my noses right to the end as if skinning for taxidermy. try it. It gives you a little more length as the nose area can spread and flatten to the board.
Yukon Jeff Wrote "Presentation is nice but should not take anything away from a otherwise perfect fur."
I agree here. Pinned or unpinned the perfect fur is hard to screw up unless you really try or don't know what your doing. A trapper should not be loosing money on a perfect fur if it is put up to the minimum standard acceptable.
I also like the statement by Yukon. "He went on to tell me that when your fur hits the grading table, you want the grader to go wow!"
I can't speak for the big auction grader but I am sure it has some affect. But I can talk for the local buyers. A nicely put up lot of fur means more money for them. They don't like to see a nice bunch of put up fur get away.
Presentation can mean a lot.
I feel every bit as important to the discussion here would be the care and presentation of the less than perfect fur.
I would like to hear from the perspectives of fur graders and trappers alike.
Personally I have made a lot of money with a sewing needle and thread on a number of species and marten are no exception. On any given lot of marten that comes home you find problems. A common one is pitch. Not from being trapped near it. Just pitch it has picked up over the season. I trap a lot of my marten in March. Pitch can be dealt with to some degree. But a lot of times the matting that is involved one is left no choice but to pluck. But their are also those spots that are void of guard hairs for a variety of reasons.
Not uncommon to find imperfections in the hide.
A trained eye on a trapper can brush snap and spot, an area that is less than desirable. What to do? I always skin and roughly board my marten fur out first, brush and snap. Just to view what the final fur will look like. Any imperfection is cut out and sewed up.
I then dry skin out and turn as most.
What would you do?
This is what I do. This spot isn't as conducive a a lot of spots as the striping is thrown off. But it still looks better and my guess is would not be down graded. Ron would this be noticed by a grader?
I find marten fur to be quite forgiving. Myself I won't let a marten hide go to auction looking any less than it is or than I can make it. I cut out any bad spot that I observe. It will be eventually taken out before use anyway. What is the industry's perspective on this practice? Might be opening up a can of worms but I feel they are buying the animals potential one way or the other. I might get to benefit from a little added time on the prep. Would like your opinion on this practice Ron?
I skinned and prepped a lynx a few years ago that had been shot with a rifle. The bullet had run down the belly fur for about 12 inches leaving about a half inch of fur for the entire distance. Leaving quite a line down the belly that for sure would have decreased the fur value greatly. An hour of sewing and it was a $450 cat at Nafa.
Some one mentioned it earlier but wanted to reaffirm.
Brushing your fur prior to sale is important IMO. Especially if selling to a local buyer. I think even to Nafa it can't hurt.
They may be tumbled there but not brushed.
By combing thoroughly you separate a lot of the underfur and giving the fur a loft that it would otherwise not have.
I have not seen tumbled fur but can imagine it really makes a difference. My guess is a thoroughly combed fur would look better in the end than one that had not been. Just a guess however.
My method on all fur it so start on the head with a good brush. Safari brand at costco or sams? Is a good one.
I brush advancing a quarter to half inch at a time with multiple strokes per area.
With separated underfur the hide takes on a much fuller look. This is especially important with lower grade furs, and early furs.