Hair loss with auto tanner?

Submitted by Lyn on 5/23/01. ( )

I have been using the a.t. for 2 years, this is the second time this has happened to me. tanning deer hides, I use the method in the instructions that come with the tanner. I tanned 2 hides at a time, one is fine the other is losing hair in large patches, it looks like the outer layer of skin is also coming off. does anbody have any idea what I could be doing wrong? Thank you for any suggestions!

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Improper handling.

This response submitted by Todd Buchanan on 5/23/01. ( )

That would be my guess. Whether it is you or whomever handled the skin before you.
As you know slippage is caused by bacteria. You need to look at your process very
close and make sure you are doing everything correctly. My process for the Auto Tanner
is I skin and rough flesh. I know some do not salt the skins but I do
even with the tanner. I salt for 24 hours shake off old salt and resalt. I let
the skin dry hard. I rehydrate and put in the tanner. I have never had any slippage this way.
I do not know how others do but I firmly believe in the salt process.

Todd B


This response submitted by John C on 5/23/01. ( )

I have found a little more water is also easier on the capes. Your cape could have twisted up, I check mine every hour and turn them inside out.

Factors to consider

This response submitted by Steve Rotramel on 5/24/01. ( steve@automatictanner )

First of all, since one slipped and the other didn't, it's easy to say that the skin was not properly handled. It either got hot or was allowed to partially rot. However, that may not be the whole story.

We have found that even with risky hides, we can nearly always get a good hair set. The most important factor to consider is the concentration of the tanning chemical. (I'm assuming you are using the tanning crystal that comes with the machine. If not you have to pickle first!)

If the concentration is too low, the tanning mix loses it's ability to set the the hair. This can be caused by improper weighing of the chemical, or simply adding too much water and diluting the mix. When tanning a skin that has not been handled well, we recommend a concentration of 1 1/2 pounds of the tanning crystal to 1 gallon of water.

If the concentration is too high, you will get a great hair set but the cape will lose stretch.

Incidentally, we are finding that water purity can have a dynamic effect on this process. This tanning agent is also used in water plants to purify water. If I understand the process correctly, the chemical is added to water, where it attaches to impurities in the same way it attaches to the fibriles in the hide to make leather. Chains are formed at the attachments, making the impurities easier to filter out. Consequently, if your water has a lot of impurities, you may have to use more of the tanning chemical in order to get the proper amount of tan in the skin. On the other hand, if your water is very pure, you may have to cut back on the concentration of the tanning chemical to avoid loss of stretch.

About the salting, it may be of interest to know that many large leather tanneries are leaning away from salting; the main purpose of which has always been to simply keep the hide from rotting until they're ready to tan. With reliable cold transport from slaughterhouse to tannery, fresh-skin tanning is becoming common. And by the way, through mechanical manipulation of the skin and forced application of the chemicals they can go from raw skin to "boil-fast wet blue" in about 4 hours! (No it's not a wet drum either) The machine uses a series of wringer type rollers that the side is fed through, compressing the skin under high pressure. High pressure sprayers apply the process chemicals right at the roller position, so the chemicals go on just as the skin is expanding after being compressed.

Anyway back to the problem skins; if you have one that is way, way, way gone, (stinking, putrid etc) apply the tanning crystal just like you would salt, and let that sit overnight. Then proceed with tanning as normal. The skin may be a little tight, but hey, it'll have the hair on it!

fox ears!

This response submitted by trappersteph on 5/24/01. ( )

I use the auto tanner with ez-100 after pickling and shaving/wire wheeling the skins first. I am producing the best tan I've about seen and getting it done in 2 hours instead of the 16 hour soak.Red fox ears were a problem for me, but now I use a bit of aluminate sulphate ( same stuff as those tanning crystals) in the soak up, and have been having tight ears ever since unless the fox lay a bit too long, which I haven't had in a while now. The aluminum sulphate is a hair tightener, so once in the tanner with the crystals, there should be no more problems with your deer capes. They are slipping because of bacteria having worked on them prior, just like everyone is saying!

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