Oiling problems

Submitted by Trapper Tim on 3/3/00. ( bonjour@netlinkcom.com )

I took two muskrats out of the tan liquid (alum). I allowed them to dry until damp. One was oiled and set aside for a day, and then I worked the hide over a breaker. It never did soften. But the other hide I worked and stretched until nicely soft and then oiled. It's beautiful. But I don't understand why most instructions state to oil before breaking. I have better luck oiling after breaking. Can anyone give me some suggestions?

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This response submitted by Mark on 3/3/00. ( knoblochs@worldnet.att.net )

Most of the oils that you can use will penetrate while still
damp and surround the fibers. Sometimes if you do have a
process that works better for you than use it. Maybe sometimes
what can happen is that the fibers can almost like glue themselves
back together, thats why you want to oil prior to drying all
the way. On the one skin you like the best you had to of let
it dry all the way before you worked then oiled ? If so
You may have just stretch the fibers enough and separated them
enough To allow the results that you do have. Most of the
tanneries will oil break then do a light re-oiling with a
Solvent based type oil. We have two of these oils available
like that, Soft Finish is one and Washing Oil is the second.
You only use this sparingly.

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