I "broke all the rules"!
I got in some really, really nasty coyotes. Not only had they been poorly home-tanned, but they were extremely ugly. Filled with burrs, beetles and larvae, damage, louse rubs, mange, off-color, blood, dirt, smelly, and other nastiness. If any skins were ripe for "playing with", it was these.
These are "trim trade" skins.
The first step: Rehydration.
The "rules" say to let the skins float freely and not be cramped.
So I jammed 10 pelts into these little tiny vats. 10 per vat. Used plenty of bacteriacide. The skins were so cramped that they could not move one inch.
The "rules" also state that you can only leave skins in rehydration for 24 hours and then you have to pull.
I left mine in for 3 days.
The second step: Pickle.
Pickling is a gray area. My former "house rules" dictated that I could leave skins in the pickle for no more then 3 days, 4 was pushing it and 5 was slip spot central.
I mixed up a hyper-pickle for these skins, lots of salt, plenty of bacteriacide, lots of degreaser, and tons of acids... and left them in for THREE WEEKS. Until I got sick of looking at them.
I am currently trying to get rid of this gallon jug full of alum crystals so I put a handful of those into each vat. Not enough to tan skins, just enough to treat the water. Or something else fairly illogical.
The "rules" say you have to stir your pickle 2 times a day.
I stirred one time every 3-4 days.
The temp. of this tanning area is about 50 degrees.
After 3 weeks the skins were finally pickled through, plus they were very smelly, so I pulled them.
-- there was Preserve-It in the pickle --
Step 3: Neutralizing
The "rules" say, 1 TBSP/gal of bicarb. I put half a box in, and approx. 15 gal. That is about 3 times as potent as the "rules". I swished the skins for a good hour. ("rules" say, 20 minutes max.)
Then I wrung and pulled them and just let them sit around for 3 days. Want to make sure all the alum is removed.
Then to re-tan. Nice syntan.
The outcome? NO SLIP, plus great color and degreasing!
Pictures will be available.
Beware the "rules"
Am I lucky? No. Am I stupid? (while it may sound so :) No.
This experiment was an uncontrolled (no control group was run with these) yet controlled (carefully thought-out and executed) test of lowgrades to see how much they could take. It was also a self-proof test of a former order's quality.
They DID lose some hair, a few hairballs were found, as all skins do, but they did not slip "wholesale".
Oh, and I did not shave or 'flesh' them.
That's a post-tanning activity, the beautifying of the leather sides.
If you get ugly pelts, feel free to make your own rules.
Don't try this at home unless you are feeling daring and you already know what you're doing!
Return to Tanning Category Menu