I have been tanning with Lutan-F for many years with
good results, however, I have actually never known exactly
what the Lutan-F solution does. This question came up to me
from another taxidermy buddy and I could not answer him. So
I am turning to you for this answer.
I also know taxidermists who acid pickle capes, shave them,
nuetrilize them, then move right into oiling the capes.
By skipping a tanning bath of some kind what are these
Lastly, what is the difference in Lutan FN and Lutan- F?
thanks for your reply
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First of all, let me answer your Lutan F (N) question. Originally BASF manufactured Lutan F. It was extremely dusty, in fact when we measured it out for packaging, I always had sneezing fits! The Lutan F (N) is only a very slight improvement on the original to reduce the "dusting" effect. Otherwise, its the same stuff!
As for your buddy that simply pickles, neutralizes and oils - basically he's working with an oiled, raw skin. Once he neutralizes the effects of the acid - it's gone! No more protection, no more influence. In fact, he probably also pins his mounts to death as they dry. And - over a long period, the dried skin will become brittle. They are also usually affected by heat too! Hung over a fireplace, the heat drives out the loosely bonded oil and the skin shrinks.
Tanning is a long step up from this type of method. It stabilizes the skin so that it shrinks minimumlly on drying and requires fewer pins, it maintains it size over the years, and although it also may dry hard, it doesnt become brittle and fragile. It also holds stitching much better than a raw skin, even over time.
As for what Lutan F (N) actually does - it dissolves in your solution into charged ions (or salts) and is attracted to the charged Amino acids in the skin (protein) where it attaches itself. This prevents the break-down of these proteins over time and strengthens the fibers. It, along with the subsequent oiling prevent the collapse of the fiber structure and maintain strength and fullness as the skin ages.