High home water pH

Submitted by Damon on 8/30/00. ( GEngel039@aol.com )

A short time ago, I began neutralizing my pickled hides in plain old tap water. I was having a slippage problem, and after placing my pickled hides directly from the pickle into plain tap water(no baking soda), I noticed that the pH went from 1.5 in the pickle right up to 6 (as high as my pH paper went). I think the slippage was a result of over neutralization.
Since I went to this process, I haven't had any slippage problems.
The other day, I Lutanned a hide, and wondered (of course, after I dumped the tanning solution) if maybe my tanning pH is too high to properly tan the hides. I won't be tanning again for a while, and now I'm concerned about the previous capes, small animals, etc. that I tanned.
Does anyone think that this might be a problem, or will be a problem at either a later date(on mounts already done), or later tanning solutions? I use Lutan F, liqua Tan, and Para Tan.

Thanks for your help!
Thanks for your help!

Return to Category Menu

This had happen to me too

This response submitted by leon on 8/31/00. ( mith124@hotmail.com )

I was tanning a coon, just last week, and after the pickled, I followed the instructions and neutralize in baking soda and water, I then realize that the PH was way to high, I end up putting toons of white vinager to bring it down. This is the first time I realize my water has such a high PH, before I tanned and never noticed and had problems, but i will not be taking chances any longer, I will monitor the PH in all the steps, I personally belive that if at the end of the whole thing the hair is set strong it will stay that way, but I may be wrong, i am quite new at this


Tanning Ph

This response submitted by Mark on 8/31/00. ( knoblochs@worldnet.att.net )

When you are checking your Ph of your solution you will get
a little different reading than the Ph of the skin. So when
you go to check the Ph, take your Ph sticks or paper reach into
your solution pull the skin up and pinch the Ph test paper
between the flesh. This will give you a much more accurate
reading. Yes you do want to maintain a Ph of 3.4 when you
place your skins in the tan. So you may need to add a little
acid to the tan, once the skins have been in the tan you will
want to raise the Ph to 4.0 to 4.5 at the end of the tan and
let sit. When you go to use the Liqua Tan then bring up your
Ph to 4.5 range drain and tan . Again check the Ph of the
skin to get much more accurate reading. At that point of time
if do check the Ph and have further questions please ask.


This response submitted by dan on 8/31/00. ( furandhide@papadocs.com )

This may raise a few eyebrows and questions but:
I have been playing around with this tanning thing for 9 years and tried lots of ways (right and wrong)with several types of tans. Mainly doing rugs and wall hides I need the finished product to be as soft as can be. My tap water usually runs around 7-7.4 ph. I used to neutralize with borax at about 8-9 ph for 20 min. I did not get as good of stretch as I liked. I then tried the same for 10 min. and found that they came out softer. I then finally eliminated the neutralizing and now just hose off with plain water (both sides of hide very well)and proceed with fleshing and tanning. (either with lutan or liqua-tan). The rugs I do now come out better than they ever did before with neutralizing in the 8-9 ph range. Anybody got any good explaination for this? Dan


This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 9/1/00. ( rittel@ici.net )

A good neutralizing bath using Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) is typically at around a Ph of 7.9. It varies a bit, maybe 7.6 to 8.4, depending on your local water Ph. But it works. The whole point of neutralization is to neutralize the acid in the skin. You cant neutralize all of it because the presence of the alkaline would begin to break down the epidermis - so that it why its normally recommended to do it for 20-30 minutes. Unlike leather where they may neutralize it entirely - fur and hair-on skins are actually only neutralized on the outside, and the inside of the flesh is still a little acidic. This is due to the shorter neutralization. OK - you have a skin thats pickled at 2.5 and you place it in the neutralizer which is at 7.9. After 20-30 minutes the surface of the skin will neutralize to approximately a 4.5 -5.0. No problem - this is ok. The inside of the skin is close to a 3.5 or somewhat acidic, moreso than the outside. So when you put it in the tan the tan seeks out the most attractive sites first, namely the more acidic inner part, and tans the skin from the inside out!

Water does nothing! In fact you probably would get "acid swelling" if you think it kills the acid in the skin - and you rewet the skin to mount it after it has been tanned and dried. The whole point of neutralization is to expose the acid from the pickle to an alkaline and "kill" its effect on the skin later. Water simply wont do it!

Borax is a bad choice for an alkaline to use for neutralization. Its reaction with the acid generates too much heat as it neutralizes. Baking Soda is good, but other choices would be Sodium Acetate or Sodium Formate. Of these, Sodium Acetate is probably the mildest on the epidermis.

Return to Category Menu