Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Thanks very much Helleri, these are truly interesting aspects on snakeskin, and even more encouraging for me personally. I have a pair of rattlesnake boots in progress right now, and I admit being a bit apprehensive on what to expect as far as durability.
I must admit, just as I thought when I made this choice, the snakeskin does distinctly make a statement in being unique.
This pistol instantly becomes more fascinating, I've never seen this on a gun like this, only on swords and weapons in Sudanese context.
Rattlesnake is among the tougher (as is any viper really) kinds of snakeskin out there. The scales are keeled and they are rather thick. You don't have to worry too much about rattlesnake getting damaged with normal wear. If made properly the snakeskin will only be a shell that is glued and stitched on, in order to cover the structural leather beneath. Which would ideally be a shell cordovan (horse hide) leather.
You will want to get a soft bristle brush (a tooth brush should serve well) to remove food or dirt from under and between the scales if they get soiled. As well as a canister of rose water glycerine (the glycerine is the important part, the rose water just makes it smell good), in order to hydrate the skin every few months so it doesn't start shedding scales from drying out.
It also might not be a bad idea to by a snakeskin of the same species or that looks similar enough and some pliobond (brand name glue). That way when you do loose scales - which will happen over the years - you can tweezer pluck off a few scales from your spare skin and dot glue appropriate replacements. You may want to ask the cobbler for any "off-cuts" of snake skin used to make your commission.