I see some tanning instructions call the pickle an optional step. If thats true then what is the purpose?
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Its covered in-depth for you there. Hope you check it out!
the pickle is not a option im book it must be done.It opens up the cells in the hide so it can accept the tan.There are also many other reasons to pickle just do it.
In the big scheme of things, pickling is relatively new. The Archive man is right. I suspect you are using a paint on tan. If so, pickling is NOT necessary on fresh, green hides. The only difference in a pickle and a tan is the pH though the tan imparts the chemicals into the cell structure to preserve them. Any submersion tan should, without exception, go through a pickle to lock the hair and open the cells as Jeff so eloquently describes.