Good general purpose tan, capes & hides?

Submitted by Angie on 02/04/2003. ( )

I am looking for any ideas on tannig solutions, products, or
recipes to tan small mammels for mounting and maybe some capes,
and also sheep hides. I'm new to tannig and would appreciate
any input.

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This response submitted by Erik on 02/04/2003. ( )

Im new at this too but I have been looking over these messages for a little while now and I see that the Lutan-F is good to use. A place i've seen it is cabelas, and Van i think it is. In cabelas it comes with a kit, so it has the acid and stuff you need. Hoped I helped.

RTF say's

This response submitted by RTF on 02/05/2003. ( )

In this post I am going to teach you on how you can do your own tanning at home, factory style. Now first of all, you will not get the results that the factory gets. Machines are used on the break in process and that is what gets the hide so soft. Rest assure though you will be satisfied with the results your going to get. Here is the supply list, the stuff you will need in order to tan a hide.
1) water
2) salt
3) fleshing knife
4) 30 gallon rubber garbage can or storage bin
5) pickling crystals
6) Lutan F tanning agent
7) rubber gloves heavy duty elbow length
8) disposable suregical latex gloves
9) saftey glasses/goggles
10) dust mask
11) rubber smock/aprin
12) fleshing beam
13) ph litmus test paper
Seems like a lot ? It really isn't and you probably have most of the stuff already. For the tanning chemicals you can get them at Van Dykes or at WASCO .
Do not get worried about the tanning chemicals, your not going to blow up your garage/shed or burn a hole in your skin if a little drop gets on you. I use the safest tanning chemicals on the market today. All of the saftey equiptment listed above in the supply list is for your own protection. Use it ! Also keep children, pets and women who are pregnant away from any tanning chemical and or solution.Mother in-laws are excluded. When done with your tanning solutions, they can be disposed of via septic/sewer drainage. Or you can serve a hot cup of used tanning solution to Osman Bin Ladin and his crownies, they seem to be up to challenges these days.
You are going to do all of your tanning in a garage, barn, storage shed or basement of your house, away from pedestrian traffic.
I must stress that you must have a basic understanding of skinning and fleshing of animal hides. You should have expiereance in fleshing most of all. The tanning procedure I'm going to teach to you will be for any North American game you choose to tan. Deer are easy but require more time in preparing and fleshing and bear, elk, moose, caribou are the hardest and should be left alone for the proffesional. You do not have a enough space to do a beer, elk, moose and caribou, leave these species alone. Unless you have a tanning tumbling 55 gallon vessel, you will need a small swimming pool to tan these big game animals.

Lets get started! Ready ? OK! Now for some muscle work. Its "Fleshing Time" So you just skinned out your game. Howd ya do ? Did you skin close enough to the animal to avoid too much fleshing ? Or is your animal hide loaded with red meat and fat ? Either way you gotta flesh it. I hope you have a fleshing beam and it is made out of hardwood. If you bought it through a supplier, then it is made out of hardwoood. A decent fleashing beam will run you about $50.00
I had to build the base that is supporting this fleashing beam. Fleshing beams are rounded and that is because a fleashing knife has a curve to it.Like the one pictured below. This is the knife I use, it works for me and runs about $20.00
So now start fleshing. Make sure when you flesh you are using a sliding cutting,shaving motion as you flesh down away from your body. Basically you are cutting underneath the fat and meat when you slide that knife back and forth on a angle. You do not want to cut into the hide, you are just shaving it. And as you shave it, you are pushing it away. Do not bend over to reach lower portions of the hide. Just keep pulling the hide up the beam as you work your way down. Pinch the hide between the nose of the beam and your body, so the hide does not slip down when you are applying pressure on hide. Make sure the hide does not slip and move as you flesh or else you will pull hair out of it. Keep tight presure against that beam so the hide does not move when you flesh. Place the bottom butt of beam against something to prevent the beam from moving.
You are just taking meat and fat off of hide. Get it as smooth as you can. It may take you over an hour to do, depending on what you are fleshing. Just remember the better you skin it out the less time you are going to have to spend at the fleshing beam. A note worth taking here, do not flesh in warm weather or in sunlight. You can freeze the hide whole (meat and all, un-fleshed) until you are ready to flesh.
So how did you do? Are you all done? Now it is salting time!
No, we do not salt hides with meat and fat on them, never ever salt any hide with meat or fat on it! If you want to save money, go to the local feed store and buy a 50# bag of salt, because your going to need it for the tanning process anyway. If not, then go to the food store and buy it by the pound. I use just plain old salt (table salt) nothing secret here. Now salt the hide, rub in every where by hand. I mean rub it in GOOD! Use all the salt you want. We are salting to draw out all the nasty fluids left inside that hide (you will have a puddle of fluid on the floor)and we are also setting hair. After applying your salt, fold hide in half, flesh side to flesh side. Place hide on inclined board and let hide drain for 24 hours. Be sure to place hide in a cool very dry area, away from heat. Also keep it dark if you can. Bacteria relys on light to grow, so by placing hide in a dark area you cut the chances down of it growing and eating your hide away.
After 24 hours, brush off old salt and resalt. Go another 24 hours and do it again. I will now drape my hide on cloths line and let it air out(no, not outside on your wife's or mom's line)You are looking for a rock hard hide, very stiff. If you get this result, you are on your way to becoming a amatuer tanner. So get those hides stiff. Once they are stiff dont worry, because they will last for a long time. But we must get them salted and dried before we go on.

Lets begin again. Is your hide rock hard from the salting? If not I hope it is dried out. Some hides do not get very stiff but are fully dried out.
Before you can move on, you must have purchased your tanning chemicals. Such as pickling crystals and Lutan F. Also have a box of baking soda too. Now read and re-read the directions of the pickling crystals and Lutan F (tanning agent). Fully understand them before we move on. The price tag on your tanning chemicals should run about $20.00 all in all. You only need to purchase the smallest quanity of each. I believe each agent is sold in 5lb units which is more than enough to do one hide.

OK! Are you ready to proceed ? Do you have all of the required supplies? You must have everything, before we go on. Also I said earlier to read the instructions on the "True-Tan Acid Bath Crystals" and "Lutan F" Know the safety precautions also for using these chemicals. Exercise extreme caution when using any chemical and or acoustic agent.
Now you got a stiff hide. Time to rehydrate it, make it plyable again. Go ahead and fill a large plastic garbage can or storage bin (whatever you are using) with cold water. Add 1lb of salt for every gallon of water you use. Dilute the salt. I use a small canoe paddel to stir all of my tanning solutions. Make sure you are using a plastic container. NO METAL SHOULD BE USED FOR ANYTHING WHEN PICKLING OR TANNING
Go ahead and place your hide in the rehydrating solution. This will be a little difficult, working with the hide.All we want to do is get the flexibility back into the hide. We do not want a soaked hide. Just keep the hide in the rehydrate bath long enough to get it flexible. Don't make a sponge out of your hide.

While we are letting our hide rehydrate, go ahead and mix up your pickling solution by following the directions to a "T". Yes it helps to have at least two containers.Make sure rubber gloves and saftey glasses are worn while working with any tanning agent. Keep all skin covered!

I want to note, that we do NOT place our hides in 80 degree water temperature! The warm water is needed to disolve the tanning agents in the water. Always let the water cool down to room temperature before placing into solution.

Once your hide is flexible again, go ahead and rinse it good with cold water. A garden hose works fine. Also get all dirt out of hair at this time. Do not use any soap, just high pressure water will work just fine.If you are working with a greasy hide such as beaver, raccoon, etc.. then you must degrease such hide first, before pickling. Use any one of the degreasing agents sold by WASCO or Van Dykes and follow the instructions.

Now get that hide in the pickle. The pickle is going to open up the pores in the flesh. Also the pickle is going to kill every living thing in that hide. Make sure you mix the right amount of pickling agent to the number of gallons of water you are using. Do not use too much water! Small game hides only need 2 or 3 gallons of water and a deer hide requires about 7 to 8 gallons of water, thats all.

I leave my thicker hides in the solution for about 48 hours. I then remove the hide and let drip dry by hanging over the pickle solution for about 4 hours. I then will try to do more fleshing, getting everything off the hide, that might not have come off the first time (fat,grizzle, stubborn pieces of meat etc...) Dont go over board on the fleshing, especially when the hide is wet. You can get the hairs loose if you allow the hide to move (slip) on the fleshing beam as you flesh. Place the hide back into the pickle solution for another 48 hours or until you get that white fleshy clean look. Also a trick I learned a while ago is that when you pinch the hide with your fingers and the hide holds your indentation like a wet sponge would, then your hide is fully pickled. We have a plumped hide! Sometimes we will not get a white fleshy looking hide. I dont know why, but just some hides just will not take on that white appearance.

Make sure you nuetralize the pickle solution, by following the directions. You must nuetralize! Do not ommit this step! Nuetralizing is going to shut the door half way on those open pores. If the pores are left wide open, the tan "Lutan F" will enter the hide too fast, resulting in a poor tan (surface tan) We want the whole hide to absorb the tan, not just the surface. After this step go ahead and rinse the hide with cold water and let drip dry for about an hour. Get your tanning solution mixed up by following the instructions.

Now tan your hide by following the steps outlined that came with the Lutan F tan.
If your looking for a soft hide, it will require some work on your part, by adding oil to the hide and breaking in. There are a few different methods on breaking in a hide. I find it, that the slower the hide is aloud to dry, the softer the tanned hide will be. I like to lay my hides on a big screen for drying. This allows air to get to both sides of the hide.Once the hide is dried and you break it in, your all done. By streching and teasing the hide as it dries also will aid in the break in. If any brown spots appear on the hide, just pull on it or rub the hide on the end of your fleashing beam and the white tan will appear. go ahead and rub and work that hide on the end of your fleashing beam once dry. This method of breaking in does wonders.

So how did it come out? It may take several times before you get the hang of it, so hang in there if it does not turn out the first or second time around.

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