Submitted by samantha on 11/10/2002. ( )

fromalin / formaldehyde :are they the same thing?
I have some one who says they are and that they are highly carcenogenic.
Is this right?
I have been told by others (ie suppliers),that they are seperate things and have to buy them as seperate products.
Even the bottles are different.
Can any one help me clear this up?

Also, what would you add to a tan to get a yellow color on the leather or is it a fault?(a friend asked me and i couldnt say)

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Kinda the same...

This response submitted by Raven on 11/10/2002. ( )

Formalin is a chemical derived FROM formaldehyde. There are different ways to MAKE formalin from the formaldehyde base. The way I was taught in college was to cut it with water. I forget the exact ratio but I *believe8* it was something like one part formaldehyde to 9 parts water made formalin. There is another method which is more involved which deals in percentages etc (37$ and 3.7% come to mind). Cutting with water to dilute is the easier of the two. And yes they are both VERY carcinogenic and nasty! There really isnt anything AS good as them for true wet collections where specimens are preserved in jars of the stuff. Specimens generally only stay in formalin for a few months top tho - then are transferred to ethanol or methyl hydrate for long term storage. If you are wishing to use a similar compound for your taxi needs, I hear that Rittels preservs-it (sp?) has the same benefits without the carcinogenic problems. Having never used it I cannot confirm this however.


This response submitted by wilson on 11/10/2002. ( )

formalin is
a clear aqueous solution of formaldehyde containing a small amount of methano


This response submitted by wilson on 11/10/2002. ( )

sorry the l didnt show up in methanol.
methananol is a light volatile flammable poisonous liquid alcohol CH3OH used especially as a solvent, antifreeze, or denaturant for ethyl alcohol and in the synthesis of other chemicals.


This response submitted by Raven on 11/10/2002. ( )

The percentage based formalin I mentionned earlier is 37% formaldehyde gas dissolved in water; hence the reason that cutting it in its liquid form is easier to acquire. Formalin does not necessarily contain methanol, but as Wilson wisely mentionned - SHOULD be included. Adding 10 - 15% methanol to the mix will prevent paraformaldehyde, a highly toxic compound from developing =)

ya what ever raven

This response submitted by wilson on 11/10/2002. ( )

haha your so funny.

Excuse me?

This response submitted by Raven on 11/10/2002. ( )

Ummm - I have no idea what ya mean by that.. but to each their own I suppose...

To sum up.

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

Though it is pointed out circuitously above, Formalin and Formaldehyde are the same chemical. A full strength Formaldehyde solution is 37% gas of formaldehyde dissolved in water, which represents 100% formalin. Vertebrate/Invertebrate solutions are fixed in 10% formalin which is 3.7% formaldehyde (diluted with water), and stored in this fluid generally only a week or two, then transferred to alcohol. This alcohol is usually between 65-75% Ethanol, also called Grain alcohol. About 95% of the fluid specimens in the world are stored in Ethanol long term, about 4.5% in Isopropyl, or Rubbing Alcohol, and virtually NONE in methanol (though it is a common contaminent of industrial grade ethanol - not found in Reagent grade alcohol).

Rittles Preserve-it may work for injecting feet or fleshy areas of taxidermy, but it is unsuitable for fluid preservation of vertebrate specimens. This is my opinion only, but a very educated oipinion. With a proper study, combined with information on the exact componants of the solution, no one can tell me it works. Scientists with far more education than anyone on this forum, have been looking for a better fixative than formaldehyde for large vertebrates for 100 years, and every study has come up empty if the tissue to be fixed is any larger than 1/4 inch think (gluteraldehyde has been used in histological tissue preservation successfully, but never larger specimens)

In regards to the the Cancerous nature of formaldehyde, yes it is, but common Gasoline with its 6 carbon rings is MUCH more carcinogenic, as is hundreds of home products. Formaldehyde/formalin is EXTREMELY NASTY STUFF, but with fume hoods, or working outdoors with a fan, it can be used without any problem or risk at all.

Some manufacturers add Methanol to prevent polymerization of formaldehyde in a 100% solution, but it is not added to the 10% solution used in fixing specimens for fluid preservation.

Hope this clears it up for you.

ok, so now you have scared me

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

i had no idea,
though taxermologist sort of put my mind at ease.
I use formalin in my tans and just got some formalehyde to inject toes or the like.Never used it b4, just formalin.
There are NO taxidermy kits to buy here in australia.Thats why i have to use the formalin.
I usually work outside on a table, as hubbs hates the mess and smell of my hobby - just like i hate the mess and smell of his - fishing! lol.
Ive had formalin stored in the house in a high cupboard but now its going outside, way outside - dont want the kids ever finding it!
Really - gasoline is carcenogenic? and worse than

My turn to ask.

This response submitted by The Taxidermologist on 11/12/2002. ( )

How do you use formalin in your tanning? Formic Acid, which is slightly different than formalin/formaldehyde, is often used as a pickle, much like safety acid, or a number of other products. But formaldehyde will fix and stiffen a hide, and not tan it. What book or article did you read that said to use formalin to tan? Austrailia is a long ways from anywhere, but last I knew, your taxidermists were as educated in proper techniques as anywhere else. Please send me a citation for a reference. Inquiring minds want to know.

Its in a book

This response 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.

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