OK. I got my 1st skin ever, tanned. Now I want to soften it up. I read that you can tumble the hide in the dryer with no heat. I bought cob grit from Van Dykes and stuck the hide in a dry cleaning bag with this cob grit and put it in the dyer. Now I have all this cob grit sticking all over the place. I let the oil dry for a day but I guess it was not completly dry. I thought the cob grit would help the drying. What do I do now? Wash it and let it dry, or do I need to re-tan it? I used the Lutan F tanning kit. Can I mount the skin to tne form if it is still sticky from the oil?
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Welcome to the Dryer Mess Club! I purchased Van Dyke's "fine mix" or something like that, put the pelts in a pillowcase, 10 minutes later just went to check - no mess. Hour later - WHEW! What a mess! Pelts still looked cruddy too. Never again!
If the pelt is not yet dry, re-oil it and let it air dry. Then wash it in a few days. Dawn and water.
Tumbling will soak up any excess oil and clean the fur somewhat. I don't know what kind of fur you are tanning. You can skip degreasing on some critters like deer, but it needs to be done on greasier animals like coyote, raccoon, beaver, and many others. If you have a larger tumbler you can break the skins to soften them, but I doubt if a dryer is big enough to have much of a softening affect.
When I first started tanning I skipped the tumbling part. I didn't have a tumbler then. I tried to keep as much oil as possible off the fur. When it started to dry out, you need to start stretching and pulling on the skin, even pulling it back and forth over a dull edge. This is called breaking the skin by hand. Do this over a period of a couple days, every few hours if possible, until the skin is completely dry and soft. You can use some 60 grit sandpaper to sand off any extra membrane or even thin the skin somewhat when you are all done. This is the hard way to do things and takes a lot of elbow grease, but you can turn out a decent looking skin this way.
If your skin has dried out too much, you may have to rehydrate it by getting it wet again, and then start breaking it by hand. If it dries out too much it may be too late to break it unless you get it wet again. I only oil once when the skin is still wet. Also don't get your skins too wet for too long of a period of time. This will lead to hair slippage. I like to dry them out fairly fast. Let them drip for about an hour, then roll them up in some towels after oiling, use an air compressor to blow out any extra moisture if you have one. Place in a warmer place to dry, but not next to a wood stove. This can damage the fur.
So anyhow you might try some of this stuff. I'm no expert, but it's hard trying to learn all this stuff by just reading directions. Rent some videos on the subject. They helped me....Hope this helps.