Ultimate Snake Tan

Submitted by Steve T. on 01/24/2004. ( swthomps@pie.midco.net ) 24.220.85.160

I prefer the following tanning process that produces a more ridged skin for gluing to leather products. I have used this tanning process for the past 30 years with GREAT success.

Once the snakes are skinned and fleshed, place the skin(s) in a nonmetal container with a solution of water and borax (20 Mule Team). For only a few skins use 1/4 cup of borax to a quart of water. For the tanning of 10 to 20 skins use one cup of borax to one gallon of water. This mixture with the skins must be refrigerated for 24 hours and should be agitated 2-3 times during this period.

Rinse the skin(s) in water and place them flesh side down on chipboard or OSB board (rough side). Care must be taken during this process to get the center row of scales along the back, straight throughout the entire length of the skin. Pinning or stapling of the skin is not necessary. Place the board in a cool dry place to dry for two weeks. After drying, carefully pull/loosen the skin from the board or use a flat tool or spatula to remove it.

Dip and saturate the skin(s) in an equal (1:1) mixture of isopropyl alcohol and glycerine for the curing or relaxing solution. Roll the skin up loosely and put the skin(s) in a small plastic bag for at least 24 hours. If the rattles are left on the skin, they can be put through the borax mixture, but not the relaxing solution. In the second solution, the skin should be dipped only to the base of the rattles, if they are saved on the skin. Roll up the hide placing the rattles outside the wire tie at the top of the plastic bag. If possible, the bag should be turned 2-3 times during the curing process to allow equal saturation of the tanning solution. After the 24-48 hour period, remove the skin(s) from the bag and hang them over a nonmetal board or rod to dry in a cool dark place. Use cardboard or several layers of newspaper to protect the floor from the tanning solution dripping from the skins. The drying process will normally take 3-5 days.

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Not Tanning!

This response submitted by wetnwild on 01/24/2004. ( ) 24.128.109.191

This is a way of preservingthe skins and has been used for a while in the old dyas. it is however only a way of setting the skins, and not tanning them. this does not produce leather! there is no tanning taking place. Like i said , it has been used prior to the arrival of tanning solutions which actually make th skin into a leather, this process is only good for preserving th skins, but not TANNING them!


Tom is right

This response submitted by Superpig on 01/24/2004. ( ) 198.81.26.39

Your solution does not tan the skins. It only preserves them. To truly tan your skins you have to get a true reptile tan from the suppliers. Your method is not much different then the 50/50 glycerin denatured alcohol method which also doesn't tan the skins, but only preserves them. There is a difference.


Preserving Snake Skins

This response submitted by Steve T on 01/24/2004. ( ) 24.220.85.160

Please forgive me if this process is not an actual tanning method, but I have used this method with several thousand snake skins. The final preserved product is made soft and pliable like leather and the skins work great for many craft projects or displays. Customers over the years tell the story of their satisfaction.


No problem with that but!

This response submitted by wetnwild on 01/24/2004. ( ) 24.128.109.191

There is no problem with that, and it does work for your needs and does do a good job. It is wrong however to say it is a tanning method when it is not. That is all we are trying to convey. if it were to be used for making a belt or some other item that would take a lot of handling and temperature changes ect ect, it would not last very long. It is not leather like a tan gives you


Leather Products

This response submitted by Steve T on 01/24/2004. ( ) 24.220.85.160

I don't want to get into any more arguments, but I have glued these preserved snake skins to various types of leather with excellent success and the skins do have a long life on my belts, hatbands, etc. Happy and satisfied customers have kept me in the business with such preserved snake skins for the past 30 years.


OK so now ya got a snake ...... how do ya kill it

This response submitted by Don K on 04/16/2004 at 17:19. ( ) 64.219.129.6

Followed Steve T's instructions for tanning and it worked quite well. My first rattler this was ............ so ......... it was not a neat job as the darned thing was missing its head due to a shovel. Got any better ways to kill them WITHOUT it loosing its head? (keeping the darned thing intact)


OK so now ya got a snake ...... how do ya kill it

This response submitted by Don K on 04/16/2004 at 17:22. ( ) 64.219.129.6

Followed Steve T's instructions for tanning and it worked quite well. My first rattler this was ............ so ......... it was not a neat job as the darned thing was missing its head due to a shovel. Got any better ways to kill them WITHOUT it loosing its head? (keeping the darned thing intact)


Raod kill snake

This response submitted by robin on 05/01/2004 at 20:44. ( ) 65.136.81.108

Anyone ever heard that urine works for tanning snake skins?
Then rubbing with salt?


what about mineral oil?


road kill snake

This response submitted by josseppi on 06/29/2004 at 04:27. ( josseppi3@aol.com ) 149.174.164.18

I live in N.C. and just skinned out a copperhead in front of my house...urine is acidic, and helps tanning deer hide but I don't know about snake skin...boric acid solution is key(salt)...listen to this other guy on that. That's why Indians put deer pelts in wet hollow logs, cause of the tanic acid in oak tree stumps, and why the water's brown in the swamps. If you cut yourself, piss on it too, it helps. Hippies call it urine-therapy...I'm not kidding. -J


Does Antifreeze work?

This response submitted by Natalie on 07/06/2004 at 14:37. ( ) 198.81.26.39

I skinned a rattle snake about 3 days ago while I was campin and I kept the skin n a ziploc bag. Its hangin in my room now and I don't know what to do with it. I was wondering if antifreeze would preserve it for me. What do you think?


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