formalin/formaldehyde ..cont... where i got tan instruction

Submitted by samantha on 11/13/2002. ( )

It is in a book i bought here and it is the actula tan (with the lutan f method).
It says:(after the 1 - 3 day pickle),
dissolve 400grams salt in 10 litres water and add 30 mls formalin,60 mls of tanning oil (lipoderm)and 20 mls sodium bicarb.
leave 1 hour then add 100 gms lutan f pre dissolved in a little hot water. leave 2 - 3 days
remove,drain,apply more oil and break the hide.
I did a pig this way and, yeah i noticed the skin was very stiff and hard to break.Have also done a fox this way (bout 2 yrs ago)and i have noticed hair comming off the toes.

I do also have another tan instruction book which describes the lutan f method as:10 litres water,400gm salt, 400gm alum,300gm luten f and 30 mls formic acid.
Have done a fox this way but it smelled funny, but was softer.

Any help would be greatly recieved as im about to do a deer head and want it done properly

Return to Beginners Category Menu

Thanks for the info

This response submitted by The Taxidermologist on 11/13/2002. ( )

30 mls of formalin dissolved in 10 liters of water is only a 0.3 % solution, whereas proper fixation is traditionally done at 10% formalin, or thirty three times stronger. My guess is that the formalin is added more as a bacteriacide/mold inhibitor than anything else. Also, it may impart a lasting "flavor" to the finished product.

Occassionally in a vertebrate fluid collection, by accident, a jar cracks and the fluid (usually alcohol at that point) leaks out and the specimen dries. Or, a donation is given to a larger collection, where, for example, a series of turtles or something similar is transferred to the collection. That exact thing happened to us, where we had a donation of approximately 60 fluid preserved turtles which had gone dry. The Curator at the time, because the specimens had dried up, wished to make skeltons out of them, thus assigning the collection preparation to me. Anyone who has tried to clean a dried fluid specimen in a dermestid colony, knows it is almost an impossibilty. Even when using the usual initial steps of making the tissue palatable (soaking in Ammonia, Soaking in Boulian, Soaking repeatedly in water to the point of masceration, painting on fat compounds like bacon grease, cod liver oil, other methods, etc. etc.) consumption was virtually nil. All my extra dermestids I had during summer population explosions were "sacrificed" in cleaning the skeletons. It took, about a full gallon of healthy, active, HUNGRY dermestids to clean a 9 inch snapping turtle. SHEESH, formalin residue, is damn impossible to remove. Besides, the bugs that DID survive the consumption (which was only 1 bug in a ten thousand) had the added problem of becoming sterile - i.e. unable to reproduce. I ended up using various methods of Chemical masceration (4 methods - never with good results) to deal with the remaining dried fluid turtle specimens.

The story is a bit off the topic here, but relates the "preserving" qualities that formalin/formaldehyde imparts to initial fixation and later preservation in alcohol has to vertebrate specimens. Alcohol is not the culprit, since vertebrate field personelle in the tropics, have taken to storing bodies of vertebrates destined for scientific reference skeltons, in alcohol while in the field (especially Mammalogists with bat/insectivore/small rodent skulls - which are the current areas being concentrated on). Alcohol doesn't effect dermestid comsumption (though it does effect the colony in some ways).

I have often thought about adding a small amount of powdered paraformaldehyde to mannikan hide paste. I am 100% sure that it would be great at preventing consumption by wild dermestids, but have been unsure of the effect of off-gassing.

Thank you Samantha, for telling us your recipe. Could you also give us the complete title of the tanning book(s). Many of us in the US keep as complete of library as is possible, and every reference suggesting a variant method is worth adding to the body of general knowledge.

I stand by my earlier statement that formalin does not funtion as a tan. However, adding it to your recipe may induce some better "preservation" qualities. The fact that your pig skin was quite stiff may not have been because of the formalin, but instead just an artifact of the thickness of the hide and how well you shaved it.


This response submitted by Glen Conley on 11/13/2002. ( )

If parts of your above post were "off topic", then we need more "off
topic" responses. Thanks for sharing.


This response submitted by samantha on 11/13/2002. ( )

I agree with steve - feel free to go off topic!
one book i have ( with the tan containing formalin),is : Australian gamehead Taxidermy -by David Luxford, dalco publishers.

The other (with the second method that smelled), was in my tutorials that i got when i undertook a correspnonance course - that is now defunct/get no back up as promised, and hence i wasted my money in a way.Apparently his methods were extreemly poor.


This response submitted by mark on 01/17/2003. ( )

i am buying davids book soon i am gettting an order from him,was your cource through george hangay? i have a cource from him and the more taxidermist s i meet they all tell me to throw away his leaflets!


This response submitted by mark on 01/17/2003. ( )

i am buying davids book soon i am gettting an order from him,was your cource through george hangay? i have a cource from him and the more taxidermist s i meet they all tell me to throw away his leaflets!

Return to Beginners Category Menu