Ammonium Alum Sulphate?

Submitted by Rick,T on 03/21/2004 at 07:48. ( )

I have a neighbor who did Taxidermy some 15yrs ago as a hobby, as I was talking with him he asked what method of tanning I prefer to use and I said I use Liqua Tan on all my skins, he then went on to show me some of his work he has done years back and they looked great, He said he used Ammonium Alum Sulfate to tan the skins and said they will last for years.

Ok, So he dropped by the other night to see what I was up to, I was Tanning a few Deer Capes and was working on a fresh Yote skin when he said You oughta try the Alum on that Yote and see how you like it, I am skeptical about it since I have never used the stuff. The next day he shows up with a bottle of Ammonium Alum Sulphate and says this is on me give it a try and see if you like it, well being he is in his late 60"s and definately a bit of memory loss he could not remember how it was to be mixed for tanning, I looked in the archives and did not find a mixture for this, Does anyone have the mixture for tanning with this stuff? And what procedure should I use before hand? I have the Yote all fleshed and salt dried now. Help Anyone?

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This response submitted by enough bullet4 on 03/21/2004 at 07:57. ( )

Hit the search button,it's in the archives.I've used it in the past,but cann't remember formula offhand.

Rick, what are you using now?

This response submitted by George on 03/21/2004 at 09:01. ( )

If you're using a good tan now, I'd urge you to thank him and toss that stuff. Read Bruce Rittel's comments about alum tans and how that "sulfate" will turn into sulfuric acid down the road and destroy the hide. I used alum tans years ago and I never liked them, but that's PERSONAL opinion. Be sure what you're getting into before you leap.

Alum Tans work GREAT!

This response submitted by Harold on 03/21/2004 at 10:00. ( )

I have saw on this post on several ocassions Bruce Rittel putting Krowtann and other alum tans down . I have been doing Taxidermy work for over 35 years and have had great luck with the alum tans , I have tried Rittels tans and have had alot of trouble loosing my stretch on deer capes . Think about it Bruce wants to sell you his tanning solutions , he isn't about to say anything good about these tans as it is not putting money in his pocket when other tans are bought and used.

A good formula for Ammonium Aluminum Sulphate is...!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 03/21/2004 at 11:29. ( )

A good formula I used in the past was:
5 Gallons of Water
2.5 Lbs. of Salt
2 Lbs. of Ammonium Aluminum Sulphate
If you use it as a pickle leave it as is (PH = 2.8)- but if you
want it begin bonding then add Sodium Carbonate until the PH is
a 3.8 for the best results. For either pickling or bonding -
leave the skin in for 3-5 days.

P.S. We also sell Ammonium Aluminum Sulphate if you need more.

For Harold!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 03/21/2004 at 11:52. ( )

I respect your opinion - but I personally started out using Alum and slowly began to realize that it had some disadvantages that I didnt want to deal with in the future - so I began to ask a lot of questions of people who knew much more than I did - just like people on here often do. Obviously I think there are now better alternatives now available. Alum sufficed in its day - but with the newer agents now available - it cant compare! I dont make it a point to bad-mouth Alum and Alum products - I just feel that a lot of people use it without being aware of its disadvantages. And - I would be just as likely to point them out about the newer tans too!

But - just in case you feel I may be prejudiced - ask any Commercial Leather Tanner why none of them use Alum to produce leather! I'm sure they will mention the same disadvantages that I've discussed here - its not a dirty little secret I personally like to spread - this is "common" knowledge - its called being aware of what youre using and then making your own decision. Rittels carries all 3 of The Aluminum Sulphates - Basic, Ammonium and Potassium - as well as the newer tanning agents. We think its best the customer makes his own decision when he buys - and we try to make them successful in any case - whether its Chrome, Alum or Syntans.

P.S. If you would like a Formula Sheet for mixing all the available tans - including the Alums - please e-mail us and give us your Postal mailing address. I would be happy to send it to you for future reference in your shop. We offer it as a free handout to all our customers.


This response submitted by George on 03/21/2004 at 11:53. ( )

That was tasteless and tactless. Only Bruce Rittel is gentleman enough to overlook your fecklessness. No one said they didn't WORK, all we said it that there's a price to pay down the road that YOU haven't seen in your 35 years obviously. When you do, you can apologize to Bruce since he gave you HIS source of the chemical and the BEST method to use when tanning with it.

Dont care what tan you use, but....

This response submitted by straight up on 03/21/2004 at 20:39. ( )

I took a white tail hide that was tanned in 1994, cut a piece off of it, and soaked it in water for 36 hrs. Pulled it out of the water, and pulled the piece of skin in all directions as hard as I could. Nothing happened what so ever. The skin was strong and the hair was tight. The hide was tanned with alum. Just thought I would share this with yall.

Straight up

This response submitted by George on 03/21/2004 at 22:18. ( )

You've missed valuable information before you made your assumption. The tanned hide you washed is no longer tanned. IF the tanning had taken, 10 years is right on the cusp of problems. Had it been a fox hide and you wet it, I'd almost guarantee you that it would have fallen to pieces in your hands like wet paper towels. To paraphrase what Bruce so eloquently explained earlier was that the "sulfate" portion of the Aluminum Sulfate would be retained in the hide. With humidity in the air, the sulfate would attach itself to the hydrogen atoms and form H2SO4 or sulfuric acid which in turn would disintegrate the hide structure. If you're ever in Washington DC, go to the Smithsonian Exhibit on the mall in the building entitled 1876- A Centennial Celebration. Look at those mounts in there that were tanned with alum. Then tell me Bruce is mistaken about chemistry and it's predictable results. I had a guy bring me an arctic fox lifesize hide from Greenland a few years back. When I went to rehydrate it, I had fox confetti. Wanna take a guess at the tan used?

Thanks Bruce And George!

This response submitted by Rick,T on 03/22/2004 at 10:20. ( )

After reading all this I chose not to give it a try on the Yote, I also printed your responses off and give to my neighbor,That really got his wheels a turning, He claims even though the mounts he showed me were tanned with this product he did have a few squirrels fall apart on him a few years back and he just considered it a lack on his part. Thanks Again for the HELP.

Nelsons Shop

This response submitted by Billl Nelson on 03/29/2004 at 03:54. ( bill nelson@ruraltel net )

I would like to know if anyone has tried Pure Antifreze (ZEROX) or other kinds on snake skins, It is cheap and does a hell of a job on
the skins. Just paint a heavy coat of Anti-Freeze on the flesh side
and wait a few days then wash it off,then oil the flesh side very
lightly if you want it really want a soft skin. I know a man that
makes a living catching rattle snakes for the meat,venom and skin.
He wont use nothing but the Anti-freeze and he has it on hundreds
of skins and he makes everything ,belts,hats, and has a complete
suit he has made.
I would also like to know if anyone but myself has tried a meat
slicser that you use at home,I was told you cant because the meat
would get caught between the blade, I talking about shaving the
flesh from Deer and other skins, I just had a 5in board in my hand
on the fur side and pushed it thought the slicer and the nicer pi-
ece of flesh shave off I have it looked like it was a piece of meat
and it did it so nice and neat. Im buyings the best damd silcer
I can find and change it so its laying dowm instead of standing up.
Hell you can buy a good meat slicer for $300. You can adjust in so
you have no space between the guards, or any space uo to one half
You can adjust the guards so you won`t even cut yourself. I had
meat butcher tell me it would work and I was kinda scard of the
blade, but after getting used I don`t nothing but my hand between
the blade and skin.

Sorry about the sick writting Im doing!

I cant even feel the blade pulling on the cape while shaving it down.
The meat cutter said it will work because it will slice ham and any
other kind of meat, I really like the safety, no damn guards that can
slip like like some of the skin fleshers we can buy.
I did use a mini- flesher and I liked it but slow as hell after
using the house slicer.

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