Auto tanner process

Submitted by Kevin on 6/12/02. ( )

I'm new to tanning, and am not getting the results I expected from my auto tanner. I did search the archives before I posted this and didn't find the answers that I needed.
The first items that I tanned were some sheep back halves. Everything seemed to be going good. I used warm water, I weighed the crystals, added the oil set the timer and waited. The hides felt nasty and oily when I got them out. I remembered reading about washing with Dawn to cut the oil in the hide. The dawn got them a little cleaner, but not totally greaseless. Now after sitting in my shop for a week, they dried like overfried bacon.
Is this the right order when using a degreaser?
Flesh - Tan for an hour - thin - degrease - Tan for 2 more hours

I've read that the hides should be dry or green, but not soaked when you put them in the tanner. The hides that I used were salted and dried. To clean them up a little, I soaked them and cleaned the hair before I put them in the tanner. Should I have let them dry out again before I tanned them?

Another cape that I tanned had a very large amount of shrinkage. I thought it was because I left it in the tanner for 6 hours. I also read that sometimes it takes longer to tan thicker hides. This one was somewhat thick. After I finally got the mannakin shaved down (in the neck) enough and got it sewn up, while it was drying, it had a slightly foul smell to it.

Am I missing something. I thought I read the instructions good, but I had to have missed something. Any help is greatly appreciated.


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Your missing something, somewhere along the line.

This response submitted by John C on 6/12/02. ( )

Auto-Tanned hides normally let out or relax.

The problems with a cape are normally not fleshing it thin.

As for sheep hides, I would not tanned back hides unless I can drum them. I also will not add oil to the Auto-Tanner, because of what you mentioned.

Now what temps were you drying it in? You can ruin a commerical hide and have bad smells doing things the wrong way.

Any machine is not a total miricale worker, you will only get results out as good as you put in. So it may just be that you have much learning to do about tanning.

Dry Hides

This response submitted by roger on 6/12/02. ( )

If your starting with a salt dried hide or cape they need to be rehydrated first, before putting them in the tanner. Rittles ultra soft or another commercial relaxer work well. when COMPLETELY! relaxed, then place them in the tanner for 1 hour,remove,shave well and put them back in. If your hides were dry when you put them in they are not tanned completely. Relaxing the skin opens the fibers to accept the tan. Hpoe this helps ya, have a good day,

Use a water soluable oil

This response submitted by Dan Moon on 6/12/02. ( )

try using a water soluable oil in the auto tanner. I have done many deer capes this way and have never had a greasy problem.
Wash the green fleshed hide in dawn soap and cold water, rinse off all the soap and then spin dry in washing machine for a minute then place in auto tanner. I would also degrease the hide before putting it into the autotanner. Chris and Roger are also correct in relaxing the hides, and the back hides need to be "broke" as they dry.

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