Tanning beaver hides - Pelt shrinkage if wet tan?

Submitted by Ky-GH on 1/7/01. ( tiptoml@wku.edu )

I am looking to tan my first beaver i ever trapped. This was my first season trapping beaver and my first went well over 60 pounds. I would like to keep the hide to make a wall hanging. A buddy of mine told me that beaver hides shrink considerably, perhaps even 40% when tanned in a liquid tanning solution.

Have any of you ever experience this? Can you suggest a hide tanning formula as well as any directions to keep this hide from shrinking so much? Its a beautiful heavily fured pelt and i hate to see it shrink up so much. Might as well just sell it if that is all i can expect in a finished product. Thanks for any help.


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You picked a tough first try!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 1/7/01. ( rittel@ici.net )

A beaver is a tough first try at tanning. Hopefully you've already fleshed it thoroughly - removing all the meat, fat and membrane. That's probably the toughest part involved in tanning them. If you have then the next step is starting them into the tanning process and making sure that after leaving them in the pickling solution for 3 days - you use a good degreaser like our Rittels SS-618 to degrease them before tanning. For relaxing them (if they are simply air dried now) I would suggest using a salt brine - using 2 Lbs. of salt to each gallon of relaxing solution. Soak them for 20-24 hours, remove, rinse and pickle.

We sell a tanning kit (EZ-2000) that is excellent on all skins. I have personally used it on Beaver with great results. If you like - we would be happy to send you our free pricelist and the instructions for the kit. But - I need your US Postal mailing address to do it. You can E-Mail by simply clicking onto my e-mail address in this header - or go to our website by clicking here on Rittels.


This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 1/8/01. ( rittel@ici.net )

One part of your question I didnt address! Skins or capes do not shrink 40% during tanning. Yes - Alum tanning has a tendency to make a 19" neck sometimes only 17" (only 10% shrinkage) when its dried and finished, but when you rehydrate it, the 19" comes back. Lutan F and EZ-100 however, tan true to size. A 19" neck tans to a 19" neck. Sorry - but your Buddy is a little off on his "40%"!

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