A friend of mine was asked to do some work on a skin that the customer brought in, it was already tanned. The skin looked like a normal dry tan skin life size. He soaked the head back for 15 minuts in clean water so he could put a rug shell in it (Wolf). The skin just fell apart as you touched it. It was most likely acid problem from incorrect tanning.
Some people are familiar with this, but for those who are not. If you take in any work that you are not sure about the tanning or age of the skin take a small piece from the belly or another hidden area and rehydrate it. If it tears easily show the customer and explain so it does not end up being "your fault". It is better to see this on an different part of the body than on the head.
Once the customer is aware of the problem. You can try to use 1/2lb salt and 1TBS sodium bicarb per gallon of water and soak another piece to see if it is ok. In most cases it should be, just take it easy when you soak the whole hide.
Anyways hope this helps anyone who has not had the pleasure of seeing this problem to not make the same mistake he did.
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