Difference in lye brands?

Submitted by Stephen on 7/12/99. ( )

I was wondering if there was a difference in the brands of lye available. I have heard of Draino, Red devil, and have seen a few other brands at the supermarket. Will they all work for dehairing? Does lye work better than lime or vice versa. Which is easier on the environment? Feel free to pass along any dehairing recipes. I am wanting to make rawhide only. Thanks!

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This response submitted by Steve Steinbring on 7/13/99. ( nsc@netrus.net )


I can not tell you if each of the products that you refered to is exactly the same. There maybe additional additives each manufacturers product; read the labels . I can tell you that lye is also known as caustic soda, or sodium hydroxide. It is a very strong base material and is every bit as dangerous as the strongest acid. It is VERY important to use safety clothing, and eye protection with it as lye can cause severe burns. If used wrong and without caution Drano for example can flashback on you when putting it down the drain hole as it hits the water. I would suggest that you contact some of the suppliers and see what they have for buckskin making materials. The lye will remove the hair, but if not properly used will destroy the hide as well. Good Luck and Be Careful.


My choice would be Hydrated Lime!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 7/13/99. ( rittel@ici.net )

Hydrated Lime works best. Its also what most Tanneries use, except they may throw in a few "accelerators" with it. For home use tho, the Lime works easy. Simply mix up 8 Ozs. of Hydrated Lime to each 1 Gallon of Water used, and allow the skin to soak for 4-9 days. DONT remove the skin until the hair falls off at the touch! Then remove it and flesh away the hair and pulp, rinse, and soak in plain water for 6-10 hours. Remove it, and then use an acid bath (no salt) to kill the action of the lime. You now have rawhide. The Lime solution can be used on a field to raise its ph safely.

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