Second Soak

This is the first step of the final stretch.  After the heads have dried, they can be unroped from the stretcher and removed from the barrel.  Sometimes they are tight, and that is why we put the parafin wax on.  Make sure that both heads have a blue tape marking so they can be put back in the same place.  We use pans designed to go under hot water heaters for soaking.  These are nice and flat, but they have lettering at the bottom, so we place a small towel down on the pan, then put the skin on top.  We fill the skin with ½” of water both inside the bowl of skin and on the outside.  We put another small towel inside the skin to keep it from floating, which might cause some part of the head to not be underwater.  Our final stretch process will take about 2 hours for the first skin, and we usually break for lunch, so we stagger the soaking start time by 3 hours, so that each one will be in the water for 12 hours.  A typical soak will start at 9pm and midnight, so that we can begin the next morning at 9am.  I often check them at around 7am and add just a bit of water that has condensed overnight.  We use towels to try to remove the water without getting any on the mimi, which need to remain dry.

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