Alum Pickle?

Submitted by Dan on 11/30/2002. ( ) 67.194.8.23

If I try to tan with Alum can I make a Pickle from it as well.
If so what would the pickle mix be? I've been reading on here for ever and have learned alot but all this stuff about pickle and the tan seem to confuse me. The pickle just seems like a weak tan to me.
Is the pickle necessary with a Alum tan. Also is the shaving necessary if i'm just going to use the hide to hang on the wall or as a throw? I've never done this and I'm finding it to be quite interesting. I am thinking about going to school for taxidermy or just trying to learn a little first on my own. So please bear with me as my knowledge is very limited, but growing fast thanks to this site and others.

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The Alum is first used as a Pickle!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 11/30/2002. ( rittel@mindspring.com ) 165.121.138.243

The old-timers used a 2 step system to work with Alum! First it is mixed and no Sodium Carbonate is added to raise the PH. Usually its at a 2.79 (depending upon the PH of your local water). They placed the skins in this solution and left them there for 3-4 days until they plumped up (actually shrunk slightly), then they shaved and degreased. While the skins were out - they then raised the PH using Sodium Carbonate (Soda Ash) to a 3.8 PH and placed the skins back into the (now) what they call their tanning solution. After 3-4 days they would either basify them by raising the PH slightly more for 2 hours - or simply remove them, rinse and oil, and not do the basification.

The formula most commonly used by Fur Dressers is - to every 10 gallons of Water, add 5 lbs. of Salt and 4 lbs. of Alum (either Aluminum Sulphate, Ammonium Aluminum Sulphate or Potassium Aluminum Sulphate).


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