Bruce, I have been using your snakesking tanning kit to tan a few skins. The last batch I did I had trouble getting the ph right and I am confused as to why. I didn't remember having a problem a few years ago when I tanned a different snakeskin.
Your snake tanning instructions that come with your excellent kit suggest a recipe for pickling. I mixed it up and couldn't get the ph to be 2-2.5 as recommended. When I checked the vinegar, it was white wine vinegar diluted to 5%. So I thought maybe I bought the worng kind and went to the store to buy stronger stuff. But everything I saw was diluted to 5%. Anyway, even the straight vinegar was not meausre 2-2.5 ph. So of course when mixed with water and salt it didnt get any lower. It was showing up as probably 3 or a little less. (I am using litmus paper). I used a couple different rolls of litmus paper, thinking maybe one was exposed to something that made it ineffective.
So despite the ph being a bit high, I went ahead with the process. When I went to add the tanning agent, the ph was not right and I had to add LOTS of baking soda to make it right, which of course foamed all over the place. (anyone have a better idea on adjusting that ph?)
So I guess my question is, am I using the correct vinegar strength and if I am, what can I add to lower the ph?
Thanks for the help!
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Amanda - you were right being concerned about the PH of the pickle. It should be lower - about the 2.2 - 2.5 you mentioned. It sounds like it may be your local water PH level that is the culprit. It may have changed and is very alkaline and is holding the PH higher than normal. My PH here is 6.8 and the pickle is usually always right on. You may have to use another acid to aid in dropping the PH to the right PH level.
Do you have access to a swimming pool store in your area? Try to purchase some "PH Minus" from them. Its really only Sodium Bisulphate - but it will work in adjusting that PH lower. Dissolve a little bit in some water and add it in small doses until the ph is right. Sometimes even a little bit can make a big change in PH.
When adding Baking Soda (or any powder) to the tan - ALWAYS dissolve it first. That way you will have minimum foaming like you experienced.
As for store bought White Vinegar - the type I buy locally is usually labeled 5-6%, so it shouldnt be too different than yours.
E-Mail me if you continue to experience a problem.
Rittels Tanning Supplies
I am skinning a couple snakes tonight and appreciate your quick response!
I will look for the Ph Minus product you mention. My water here is very hard. When I check my water with the litmus it turns dark green (I forget what pH level that corresponds to).
Anyway, thanks for the advice and your great products.