Hair on tanned hide safe to use?
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musicman980
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« on: September 13, 2017, 02:55:32 PM »

Hey everyone, I'm looking at tanned north american badger tails - the seller says they MIGHT be alum-tanned. I'd like to use this hair to make a badger hair shaving brush, but I don't know if the chemicals used in this tanning process would contaminate the hair and make it not suitable for rubbing on a face.

I've been reading this forum about alum tanning, and how it can potentially be washed out. Badger hair absorbs a lot of water, and I'm afraid it might absorb any tanning chemical along with it. Does anyone know if this hair can be safely used in an environment where it could potentially touch minor open nicks on a face during shaving?

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Bruce Rittel
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2017, 09:51:19 PM »

In my own opinion - Alum is an Aluminum Suphate (chemically) type of Tan. unfortunately it only loosely bonds to the skin so it can be washed out. I've heard of guys using it to actually Pickle (it tightens the skin or cape making it easily to shave) and only goes in and out of the flesh), and then Tan their skins or capes with something else. They feel the Tanning agent they use will wash out the loosely bond Aluminum Sulphate and replace it with the Tanning agent they use. It could be EZ-100 or another popular Tan - I know a lot of Taxidermists that simply use it as a Pickling Agent (pickling Agent Range 2.3 to 2.5 pH) and then instead of Tanning  (simply making the pH higher - in the same solution) with it at a Range of 3.8 pH (where Alum would normally fix chemically) they simply apply the Tanning Agent they now use. No problem! However, if it's been tanned that way using Alum, it has to be recently (usually a year) - because over time the Sulphate in the Tan will weaken the skin and influence it.

If it was only recently Tanned that way (using Alum) - I'd personally retan it, using something else. I don't think it might influence the Tail hairs but it would eliminate the Sulphate influence on the hair - reducing any liiabilty about using the Tail Hair as a Shaving Brush!       
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 05:00:41 PM by Bruce Rittel » Logged

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musicman980
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« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2017, 10:36:26 PM »

Well I actually don't even want to retan the thing if it isn't necessary, I'm not in it for the skin. I'd ideally just get the tail and shave the hair off to then tie in a knot separate from the skin! If the hair isn't toxic that is... That's the dilemma, is the hair toxic as it is with an alum tan? Or are you saying the hairs from a fully tanned tail are safer?
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Grandulln
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2017, 04:17:34 AM »

Dont worry, remember that little white stick your grandpa used to stop the bleeding when he cut himself while shaving ? That's alum, it is also used in deodorants etc.
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Tanglewood Taxidermy
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2017, 08:31:22 PM »

Dont worry, remember that little white stick your grandpa used to stop the bleeding when he cut himself while shaving ? That's alum, it is also used in deodorants etc.

And it is used in canning and making pickles.
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musicman980
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2017, 11:11:26 AM »

Oh, well that is reassuring. She did say it "might" be alum tanned, so out of curiosity, do other tanning chemicals in other processes become inert after they tan the hide, or would you still never want to use the hair cut away from the hide?

Do tanning chemicals even soak into the hair, or do they just soak into the hide?
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Tanglewood Taxidermy
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2017, 09:35:48 PM »

Thousands of ladies have worn fur coats and collars made of tanned skins that came in contact with their faces on a daily basis with no harm. Granted, they were always dry.
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musicman980
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2017, 10:50:33 PM »

I do not want to rub wet hide on my face... My plan is to shave the hide and make the loose hair into a brush knot, which then goes into a handle, and voila - shaving brush. The skin of the badger will be trashed.

My worries come from other tanning chemicals besides alum that could potentially soak into the hair itself, which would then come into contact with essentially open cuts during a shave.
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Tanglewood Taxidermy
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« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2017, 11:41:57 AM »

I was speaking of the hair. No fur clad lady ever touched the leather. The fur is what rubbed on their face. The badger's fur will rub your face when lathering, so, the only difference is that yours will be wet and I don't know what the fur coats are tanned with.

If this really has you worried about it, you can purchase untanned badger tails as a safe option.
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