Re-Tanning Alum Tanned Hides

Submitted by * on 1/18/02. ( ) 67.105.221.13

Hi,

I haven't seen this discussed beyond "treat it as a raw hide".

How do I remove the alum tan from the pelt? Does it truly wash out? (It sure seemed to .. smelled up the whole bathroom today). I rehydrated for 3 hours in water + bacteriacide + degreaser. It went from smelling absolutely awful (chemically) to only mildly awful, now that it is slowly drying.

The pelt is still white and appears tanned, but when oiled, the pelt becomes translucent. Like it is raw.

Alum tans are the principal cause of dry rot in furbearer pelts used in garments, in my experience. I would like to remove the vile alum tan from this pelt immediately and replace it with a proper tan (Lutan F).

This is an opossum btw. Tanned in 2001. The pelt is well shaved and I have completed all of the repairs.

Thanks in advance.

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Alum not the reason for smell

This response submitted by John C on 1/18/02. ( ) 208.44.115.24

Alum is nearly oderless, what you were smelling is the oils that lubricates the hide. Mostly fish oils. I once found a tannery inthe Black Forset of Germany by following the stink.

Sure there are better tans available today. But alum is not the cause of rot in fur garments. Not being taken care of is the reason. My grandmother racoon coat from the 1920's is still fine, she had it treated every year as per instruction, the furrier is still in business and firmly states that fur garments should be oiled at lest every year.

Alum does stay slightly acid, the reason why is that the pH of around 4 to 5.5 keeps mold and bacteria from growing on the hide and adds to the longevity of the pelt. Where as a nuetral ph of 7.0 - 8.0 a hide will mold very quickly and in most cases loose the hair.

Back to high school chemistry class, we learned that mold grows quicker in a nuetral or slightly alkaline enviroment.


What smell

This response submitted by ten years of alum use. on 1/19/02. ( ) 152.163.188.199

I've never come across a bad smell from an alum tan. I've stayed with
the same fur dresser since never swicthed. I get great stretch no smell, which fur dresser are you using (wet tan or dry tan) Im curious to know cause I never want to experience what sound horrible.

P.S. are you getting stretch, please fill me in.


Curious George!


What's the Alum Answer Though?

This response submitted by ** on 1/19/02. ( ) 207.88.126.234

Hmm ...

I was told, that the sulfate in alum tans draws water from the air, and the water + sulfate eventually forms hydrochloric acid, which breaks down the skins.

Furrier cleaning and glazing is just putting the fur into a drum and drumming out the oils and dust which accumulate on the fur. (just like when you drum a fresh tanned hide in a tumbler). The leather side is NEVER treated or oiled, unless the coat is first unlined, as in restyling (remodeling). Some coats, such as mink, are steamed or ironed. Your grandmother is doing the right thing for her coat, but she's not getting what you think she's getting.

So what's the answer on the alum? How do I get rid of it? Now that the oppossum skin is dry around the head area, on one of the bare spots I noted that the skin is indeed, translucent, and the grease from the pelt had built up on the fur side (it was sitting as a shiny layer on the bare skin).

Your grandmother's 1920's raccoon coat is veggie tanned - and veggie tans are the longest lasting and best of all! I recently sold a 1920's veggie tanned raccoon blanket, which was in super condition. Alum was not used in fur dressing extensively until the 1950's, when it was discovered that a good alum tan and nice thin shaving made mink skins much easier to let out (they held their shape better with tight hair follicles) and that's when the mink coats started to fall apart.


What smell

This response submitted by ten years of alum use. on 1/19/02. ( ) 152.163.188.199

I've never come across a bad smell from an alum tan. I've stayed with
the same fur dresser since never swicthed. I get great stretch no smell, which fur dresser are you using (wet tan or dry tan) Im curious to know cause I never want to experience what sound horrible.

P.S. are you getting stretch, please fill me in.


Curious George!


ten years of alum use

This response submitted by Curious George on 1/19/02. ( ) 152.163.188.199

sorry if it cuts some words seems as if it didn't go through correctly.


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