Skinning. The first operation is to separate the back and breast shells with a strong short knife, or chisel. If the force of the hand is inadequate, a mallet may be used, taking care not to strike so hard as to crack the shell.
These two bony plates being covered by the skin, or by scales, the scapula, and all the muscles of the arm and neck, in place of being attached to the ribs and spine, are placed below, from which cause the tortoise has been termed a retro-verted animal. The vertebral extremity of the scapula is articulated with the shield, and the opposite extremity of the clavicle with the breast-plate in such a manner that the shoulders form a ring for the passage of the windpipe and gullet.
After the turtle is opened, all the flesh which adheres to the breast-plate, and also to the upper shell, is removed, while attention is paid to the parts as above described. The head, fore-feet, and tail are skinned as in quadrupeds; but none of these must be removed from the upper shell, but left attached.
All the fleshy parts being removed, the shells are washed out with a sponge, and carefully dried. They are then slighty rubbed with the arsenical soap.
Stuffing. Wires are now passed through the middle of the legs, after the skin has been rubbed with the preservative. The skull is returned to its place, and the whole of the head, neck, and legs stuffed with chopped flax or tow. The parts of the skin which have been cut are then sewed together. The back and breast-plates are then united by four small holes, being bored at their edges, and united by strings or small wires. The junction of the bones may then be attached with the cement, colored so as to correspond with the shell.
If the calipash is dirty, it may be cleaned with a slight solution of nitric-acid and water; afterwards clean washed, oiled, and then rubbed hard with a woolen rag, to give it a polish.