Thanks for the replies re: ph levels
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Taxidermy.Net Forum  |  Taxidermy Discussion Categories  |  Tanning  |  Topic: Thanks for the replies re: ph levels « previous next »
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New Member
Posts: 5

« on: November 11, 2006, 03:32:23 PM »

Thanks for the quick replies! To answer your question Cyclone, the directions didn't refer to the PH levels at all during the degreasing stage. Only times it is mentioned is during pickle and neutralizing. My concernes came up with what my natural water level was because of info I had read from others who had slippage after neutralizing. Comments were made that some people may of been having the problem becuse of the natural PH level of thier water. Being new to this I had no idea what could be true or not. To make the situation worse the directions supplied by the taxidermy supplier didn't agree with what they put on their web site instructions. Things like the web site said the pickle has to maintain a PH of 1-2 and the sent instructions said the pickle must be 1-2 ph but didn't have to maintain that after the skin is added. That didn't make sense to me if your to raise the ph to neutralize. So to be safe I tested the pickles level all the way through the 72 hrs and it never went over 2.

  I started to wonder then if I'm rinsing and the natural ph is high could I be neutralizing before the degreasing is done. Then thoughts lead to what about the ph level in the degreasing soak. I tend to dive into everything in great detail as you guys probably see here by now lol. If I do another down the road I think the simpler way would to be to take the route where you just add the degreasing and deoderizing to the pickle.

  jrosbor .... sounds like you have done a few! If I understood things right I figured the sodium bicarbonate brought up the ph and the pickle safe-tee acid brings down the ph. My directions here instruct to have the ph of the neutralizing bath at 4-5. The water natural ph is 8 and adding sb I expect will raise it. So my thoughts before you said the ph should be higher than 4-5 was to add some safe-tee acid to bring it back down to 4-5 as they suggest if the ph is too high. But your comment that the PH isn't what does the neutralizing makes sense since you don't concerne yourself with the PH level of a rinse. So just a guess here ...... the reason for keeping the PH level to a recomended level during the neutralizing bath is so the sb works at it's best??? Now I'm either really lost or am actually understanding but just feel like I'm lost ! lol The next question then would be, should I bring the ph down to 4-5 in the neutralizing bath or just add the sb and go ahead with what ever it is since it will be over 8?
New Member
Posts: 5

« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2006, 03:35:35 PM »

Grrrrrrr ..... sorry for the seperate thread. When I replied to the other it timed out and said to re-submit. I didn't realize becuse of that it would start a new topic instead of just a reply like I had started doing.
Silver Member
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 203

« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2006, 04:34:40 PM »

The bigger tanneries have on staff chemists for this very reason.  Making leather is a combination of art, skill, and science.  What I was saying is that in the case of neutralizing, the water isn't doing the neutralizing, the bicarb is.  I will list my static tan directions for ya.

1.  STOP-ROT the raw cape or skin
2.  flesh and salt or freeze for storage.
3.  mix a pickle of one (1) pound of fine white salt and 15-22.5cc(1/2-3/4fl oz) saftee acid per gallon of water.  Check and maintain a pH of 1-2.
4.  add cape or hide directly to pickle and stir every 15min for the first hour. 
5.  stir two (2) times a day for 72hrs.  Recheck and maintain pH and salt content.
6.  Pull capes or hides from pickle.  Save a gallon or so of the pickle for later use and neutralize the rest so it can be dumped
7.  Degrease capes or hides per mfg instructions.
8.  Rinse hides or capes in clean water.  allow to drain 30 minutes.
9.  Mix a neutralizing bath of one (1) ounce of sodium bicarb(baking soda) per gallon of water.
10.  Neutralize hides or capes for 15-20min, NO LONGER  Save a gallon or so of the neutralizing bath for later use and dump the rest.
11.  Rinse in clean water.
12.  Mix a tanning bath of two (2) ounces of Lutan F and eight ( 8 ) ounces of salt per gallon of water.  Check pH, it should be 4.5
13.  If needed, use saved pickle or neutralizing bath to adjust pH of tanning bath.
14.  Add skins or capes to tanning bath and stir every 10min for the first hour, and every four (4) hrs after that for the next 12-24hrs
15.  Pull skins after the needed amount of time and check for fixation by cutting a small slit through a thicker part of the skin.  It should be white all the way through the skin.
16.  Rinse in clean water and let drain for one (1) hour.
17.  Mix or use tanning oil per mfg instructions.  Let sweat eight (8)hrs or over night.
18.  Freeze or dry and break for later use.

New Member
Posts: 5

« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2006, 04:48:41 PM »

Hey jrosbor, Thanks again! going into detail of your steps is greatly appreciated. I'm dealing with Van Dykes for my supplies and they do have taxidermists to answer these questions but you call them and they return the call hrs later. I'm real glad someones around here to answer as quickly as you guys are. The pickle soak was in it's last hr when I posted and have been running back and forth as I'm going through the next steps. Degreasing and deoderizing will be done in a few minutes and then onto the neutralizing so you've been a huge help. I'll keep you all posted on how this turns out in the end.
Bruce Rittel
Gold Member
Posts: 917

Consultant Services

« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2006, 09:30:57 PM »

More neutralizing info!

When using syntans to tan, to successfully get a thorough tan completely throughout the skin's cross-section - neutralization is important. You have to keep in mind that you will not completely neutralize the skin like you would for leather, but instead you neutralize the outside of the skin leaving the interior (or middle) of its cross-section slightly more acidic than the outside.

A syntan on an acidic skin fixes almost immediately. And at a high PH (above 4.0 PH) it fixes slowly. If you use it on an acidic skin you get what is referred to as an a surface tan. It fixes at the surface preventing further penetration into the interior of the skin. You want to avoid this. Surface tanned skins tend to be "tinny" and lack stretch.

When you mix a Baking Soda neutralization bath it's normally about 7.8 PH. Depending on your local water PH. I usually remove my pickled skins, drain them for 30 minutes, rinse and then add them to the neutralizing bath. Because EZ-100 is a syntan, I only recommend neutralizing the pickled skins for 20-30 minutes. Not a complete neutraliztion. The interior of the skin will be slightly more acidic than the outside. After rinsing before the tan, I place the skins in the tan and the tan will immediately seek the more acidic condition in the center of the skin to fix first and it will tan from the inside out. This ensures a complete tan.

As for PH levels as the skin neutralizes - the Baking Soda solution is a 7.8 PH. Plain water here is a 6.8 PH - but when I add the Baking Soda it tests at 7.8 PH. By placing the Saftee Acid pickled skin in at a 1.5 PH (normally) I can expect the outside of the skin to neutralize within the 20-30 minutes to about a 4.5 PH and the inside will be slightly lower perhaps a 3.5-4.0. You want this differential so the tan will penetrate to seek out the more acidic portion of the skin first.

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