I have an "iffy" cape I am going to throw in my autotanner, as per the instructions that came with the unit. However, nowhere does it say anything about the pH of the solution. I know if it is mixed according to the instructions it should be OK (the pH range), but I was just curious as to what the pH should be? Last time I mixed it up it was in the 2.5-3.0 range, is this what I am looking for for the initial run to try to save the cape, or should it be lower--in the 1.0-1.5 range?
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If its on the verge of slipping, I would add 1/2 again the Crystals this should drop it a bit more (pH) Also check the hide in one hour to see.
John, thank you! That was quick--I barely had time to check the other forums--once again, Thank you!
This is a good question. Thanks John C. for a very good answer.
Despite it's shortcomings, aluminum sulphate is great for setting the hair, REGARDLESS of the pH. That is to say that within limits, an alum tan will kill bacteria and set hair anywhere from 2.0 to 3.5 or even higher.
The thing to remember is this axiom - Lower pH = better penetration.
You ever see those long skinny balloons that clowns use to make little dogs and such? A collagen fiber in a hide is just like that. And a pickle is what blows them up, exposing 10 times the surface area to subsequent tanning.
This is why so many different types of acids can be used to pickle. The only thing they really do real well is swell the fibers.
Some are good at killing bacteria, others not so good and a microbicide is indicated. Some are better hair setters etc.
My recommendation when doing iffy capes is just what John C said, use a stronger tanning solution, and you can even add a little acid to further bring down the pH and promote thorough penetration, which allows the alum to get in there and set the hair. This would be more necessary say on an elk than on a bobcat, where the skin is much thinner.
Now of course the pH must come up for proper fix of the tan on the fiber, but that's a different question.
Thanks! I ran the cape, and hair was fine through process, good enough to use fleshing machine to thin cape down afterwards. And man, so much easier to flesh!
Thanks again guys!