i was looking for some opinions on how long a tanned hide needs to be hydrated before mounting. especially as it pertains to a mountain lion hide . thanks
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Don't take a chance - particularly with a Mountain Lion skin. Use the safe to rehydrate it. Prepare a soak solution of water and 1 handful of salt per each 1 gallon of water. Soak the skin 30 minutes - remove it soaking wet - bag it in a plastic garbage can bag - tie it off and refrigerate it overnight! The next morning it should be pliable and ready to prep and mount. This is a safe method for rehydrating all tanned skins - particularly when you do not know how it was tanned.
I recently found a full legnth mink coat. It was apparently discarded because it seems to be dried out and the stitching is coming undone. Aside from the stitching the coat (pelts) seem to be in good shape except for being dry and a little stiff. What I'd like to do is take it apart and rehydrate the pelts. Any suggestions on how to do this without harming the pelts? Sure would appreciate some help.
Once in awhile up here in New England at the flea markets - we have guy come in and sell gorgious fur coats at outrageously low prices. And for fun purposes, they are a good buy - but dont count on them holding up, even with repairs, for more then 1-1 1/2 years! They have simply reached the "end of the line in longevity"! In other words - they were tanned with Alum and over the years, they have slowly drawn moisture from the atmosphere during use, and the suplhate salts from the Alum have recombined with the water to form Sulphuric Acid which has eventually weakened and destroyed the skin's fiber structure! If you look closely at these coats you will notice that the seams are pulling away from the threading because they are weak. If you cut the threads to remove the plates of fur - you will also notice that the fur plates (pieces of flesh sewn together) can be torn like ordinary paper. If you soak up the fur - you stand a good chance of it falling apart and swelling - due to the acid.
If you do want to soak them up - you must do it in the presence of salt in the water, or you will surely lose them. Just like a freahly tanned and dried skin - soak them in a solution of water, with a handful (4 Ozs.) of Salt added for 30 minutes - remove wet - place in a garbage bag - tie it off - place it in your frig overnight - and the next day they should be nice and pliable. You can try to reoil them at this point - but - they will be very weak. Unless you plan to "glue" them in place later - they really cant take much abuse.