Do I need to dry salt my hides?

Submitted by Aaron L. on 8/10/00. ( )

I have been in the taxudermy bizz for 7 years now, and I just read an article that made me think. The article stated that to tan a hide the skin must be allowed to dry hard after salting. The problem I have with it is I do not do that. I was taught to skin, flesh, and then salt. Let the cape set overnight, and shave the next morning. Wash and rinse, spin dry in an old washing machine and then brush on tanning cream. let set overnight, measure, and freeze. I have done this for 7 years and have not had a single hide go bad, but now I am worried. Should I dry my hides rock hard?

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Salting procedure.

This response submitted by Todd B on 8/10/00. ( )

I am not going to say you are right or wrong. If it is working for you
great. I will tell you that many of the tanners on this forum will tell
you that you need to salt flint dry. And the reason is that the salt penetrates the
hide and removes all of the moisture and other products in the skin.
Although salting overnite will remove some it does not do as thorough of
a job as 48 hours of salting will do. Salting flint dry helps to set the
hair. The process I do is as follows.
#1 skin flesh of large hunks of meat and flesh,Split eyes, nose,ears and lips.
#2 salt and let set overnite on a slanted surface for drainage.
#3 Shake off salt and resalt and let sit for 24 more hours.
#4 fold in half and let dry flint hard.
I then proceed to the rehydration,pickle and shaving steps and then I
tan them.

Todd B

Dave Says

This response submitted by Dave Taylor on 8/11/00. ( )


Nothing takes the place of experience (not even a magazine article)
it's always good to try things new and different, and we all should strive for improvement, BUT, if you have been using a method for 7 years, and you haven't had any problems, then you have no need to worry about anything! (you have experience--you KNOW your method works).
There may be better methods, or quicker, easier ones, but I don't think you have any need for concern.

imcidently, it might be best to dry "rock hard" but it isn't always possible, with our humidity in the Louisiana climate, it's almost impossible to completely dry a skin.(they tend to rehydrate every morning unless kept in a completely climate controlled building)

Years ago, I hung an elk skin over a beam in a shed --after several weeks, it was still damp.--I eventually brought it inside my house and it dried in a couple of days.

Good Luck

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