Bruce Rittel ? help with hairballs

Submitted by Martin on 5/7/01. ( )

I was wondering about a situation that has happened off and on over the years. What causes hairballing in fine solid hair animals? The kind i'm talking about you can feel them. It feels like the hair is matted, but upon closer inspection when you part the guard hairs the underhair is balled up with saw dust or corn cob dust. I haven't had that problem on items that I have tanned, but occasionally on Commercially tanned items. It usually happens with mountain goats,foxes,lynx, and sometimes muskox. I thought maybe the hair wasn't clean so I tried shampooing,rinseing,draining,and tumbling. It did not seem to help but got worse. It seems like whatever caused it is permanent. You can't even comb it out without pulling alot of hair out. Thanks for any advice, Martin.

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I've seen it too!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 5/7/01. ( )

I've seen this in Wolves, Coyotes and Otters too! All animals have natural oils in their fur or hair, and because of it, it attracts dirt and other debris. Normally, a Tannery should be degreasing their furs, first to clean up any tanning oil splash into the fur when it was applied, and secondly, to remove these natural oils and get good fur seperation (I call it "Puff") on the finished piece. Unless they degrease the skins, by tumbling them in sawdust and a solvent, after they have been oiled and "almost" dried, this sawdust balling will occur.

In fine long furs, one way to reduce such "sawdust balling", is to use sawdust flour (dust) instead of the grain sized sawdust. The flour is easy to get in and out, and doesnt seem to snarl in the fur. But - unless the fur has been degreased - it can still cause balling!

Ask SENTRY/BASF for hair relaxing treatments.

This response submitted by Ret Soor on 5/18/01. ( )

They have several products made specificly for soft, untangled hair. you'll have to test, but the results could be worth it. Should work well after degreasing, as Mr. Rittel suggests. Good luck.

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