can i use aluminum sulfate and salt together like a dry pres

Submitted by tinker on 11/21/04 at 9:25 PM. ( . )

just trying new things

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This response submitted by No on 11/21/04 at 9:36 PM. ( No )

search the archives


This response submitted by Raven on 11/21/04 at 9:56 PM. ( )

You should always try to push the envelop and trie new things

There is

This response submitted by Alex on 11/21/04 at 10:42 PM. ( )

A taxidermist I know in Peru ,who tans his skins in Aluninum sulfate and salt together in a wooden barrel just slightly wet, he tumbles the skin in that mixture daily for 6-7 days and he gets great results.

Alum tans

This response submitted by cur on 11/21/04 at 11:04 PM. ( whatever )

Aluminate Sulphate (Alum - Al2(SO4)3)and salt pickles are older than George Roof, Old Fart and myself combined and squared. Rather than, "something new", that falls under the heading of, "re-inventing the wheel". In Peru, they still use manure and urine to put patina on bronze, it works, but it is a far cry from modern.

In vitro solutions, Alum and Salt pickling has been an acceptable taxidermy process for longer than anyone other than the Taxidermologist can remember. Archaeobacter just love salt on hides to whet their appetites. Salt is hydric, meaning that it will pull water from the atmosphere. Leaving salt crystals in any combination on a dried hide will insure the attraction of moisture and eventually result in ruination of the mount.

Most salt alum pickles, as I recall, are composed of one pound of alum to every two pounds of salt per two gallons of water. Hides pickled by that process become hard as oak when dried. There is also a pucker factor that causes shrinkage, requiring salt/alum pickled hides to be stretched prior to mounting.

Can you do that? Yes, but you could also mount a green hide with no preservative if you so desire. Should you do it.....NO!

Man, where did this guy come from?

This response submitted by David Patton on 11/21/04 at 11:44 PM. ( )

Thanks cur! Finally someone is talking my language. I have been saying this for years and there are some on this forum that never miss a chance to jump into this argument. But it is after the kid's bedtime now.

I worked with just the kind of pickle you are describing and it can really try a man's patience. (Not to mention his knuckles, arms, and sewing machine.)

It is an archaic pickle, but the old saying around the shop was "If it ain't broke don't fix it". Thank God there are advances in tanning that have led me away from that old...old ...stuff, for lack of a better phrase.

Oh, welcome back Cur, just joking about the "where did this guy..."

Now how about a good explanation for "hot acids" and "safe acids"? I think when used in the right (or wrong) combinations, any acid can be made hot.

Glen, I have read your entire website and I know what you will say, I was wondering what Cur had to say.

Hot and safe?

This response submitted by cur on 11/22/04 at 11:01 AM. ( whatever )

Sounds like my kind of lady......(No offense, girls, I for one couldn't live without ya...)

Heck, H-Bombs are safe, just so long as you don't arm them. Same can be said for nerve gas in the right containers, I reckon. Personally, I have used most of the acids over the years, and really don't have a favorite for all reasons. I even use hydroflouric acid for a number of things and still have all my fingers, AND fingerprints.

"Safe", is a relative term, even citric acid can be dangerous in some concentrations and uses. The two workhorse acids I personally use in pickles are H2SO4 and C2H2O4 - that is, Sulphuric and Oxalic. Now I don't think either one of those substances are dangerous if stored and used correctly.

Sulphuric has lots of uses - (Lemme see someone make a proper stink bomb with "Saftee Acid"!) H2SO4 is cheap, easy to obtain, and can be stored as a pickle in a $9.99 plastic garbage can for months with no danger.

Oxalic Acid, too, has a number of uses, and makes a fine, small batch pickle with few disposal restrictions. Salt is more a controlled substance than C2H2O4. Oxalic acid pickles are very stable, but I usually mix the pickle for a single hide, and dispose of it after the hide soak. I mix one level tablespoon of oxalic and two pounds of salt to a gallon of water, and the pH is consistent regardless of water supply....(distilled or tap).

I always cut salt (sodium chloride)by a small percentage and add an equal amount of Potassium Chloride in my pickles. The reason for that is that primative bacteria, known as archaebacters, can live in high salinity, and often contribute to hide damage. Kcl stops that process by inhibiting their growth.

Formic Acid HCOOH, can produce fumes which have been termed hazardous. Still, it is a fine material for pickling gator hides and other large reptiles. As I understand it, the "Safetee" acids are a form of refined formic....Don't quote me.

Citric and the, "safe", acid pickles can be host to a bloom of the ancient bacteria and a number of folks have had problems with use. Personally, I am a wasteful man, and don't particularily care for bragging about how long I have kept a pickle in use. As taxidermy goes, pickling materials are cheap, and should be considered in the price quote for goods produced. My prices are high, but they do include the fractional cost of all input labor and materials on a factored basis.

For most taxidermy applications nowadays, I use an oxalic pickle for critters up to the size of a yote, and sulphuric for larger thangs, and deer capes. If I need oxalic crystals in a hurry, I can always run down to the local home building supply store and buy a container of "wood bleach" which is pure oxalic acid.

Mind you, I am not exactly taking sides in this issue about the merits of "safe" versus "hot" acids, just explaining that I don't see a need to change horses in the middle (or in my case, the FAR side of) the stream. The most important factors where pickling is concerned are the three "P's": They are Preparation,pH, and the end Product. A lot of folks rely on the pickling process to do half their work. Hides that look as if they were ripped off the carcass by hydraulic device are slapped directly into the pickle, "because it is easier to shave them later"....sure it is, but that hap-hazard process puts all sorts of bacteria food in the pickle.

Personally, I remove all but the most tenacious fascia from the hide prior to pickling. I then salt (once) and scud and then degrease BEFORE pickling. The hide is detail shaved at some point during pickling, returned to the bath, and then shaved for mounting ease at the end of the process. Fifty years ago I learned to slice the edge of a hide to check for uniform color through and through to determine when the pickling process was complete. I still do that, and I still use the acids that were around back then. Maybe the "safe" acids are better, but I will never know.

See ya


This response submitted by David Patton on 11/22/04 at 11:37 AM. ( )

That response I will rack with the superb info that Glen and others have provided. It always helps to get a wide variety of professional experience.

excellent imfo. on the pickel,but 1 ? remains

This response submitted by paul on 11/22/04 at 7:22 PM. ( )

not to start a debate, but as a well seasoned and knowledgeable pickeler, you said only salt once. Ive tried different methodes over the yrs. with the exception of dp. my thoughts are to salt a cape 2 times allowing the second to dry hard thus eliminating the soluable
protines, wich overtime could possibly lead to bacterial growth and breakdown of your dermis, the thinking behind the salt drying to remove these protines and water is for 2 reasons. (and im sure you know them probably better than I, but for those new to the art i will mention anyway) 1) is to set hair. 2) to open the pores and allow the tanning agents and oil to penetrate properly. I guess a simple way to look at would be, if you throw 2 equal size sponges in a bucket of colored water 1 being water soaked already and 1 being dry you would certainly expect the dry one to absorb alot more water than the other. now there are plenty here that will debate the salting process completely, but i would really appreciate your thoughts.

David Patton (or John Kerry ?)

This response submitted by oldshaver on 11/22/04 at 8:26 PM. ( )

Mark: Just another guy trying to run away the business.
This response submitted by Lonestar on 10/07/2003. ( )
If you think that Aluminum Sulphate will destroy your hides, then call Rick Morgan at
919-231-9933. He has forgotten more about tanning hides than Rittel and Knoblauch both put
together! (So he claims) He uses the water, salt, aluminum sulphate combination, and
has for years. He also uses 90% Formic acid which these guys will tell you will destroy
a skin (and your hands). When you know what you are doing and know how to neutralize properly with soda ash
and/or sodium bicarbonate, there are no problems. If you disagree, then ask yourself "Why is Carolina
Fur Dressing still in business after 20 some odd years?" Hmmm....

Does Lonestar ring a bell? Or should I refer you to the post where you used your name and screen name in the same post. Im awake now. Dont look like you have been telling everybody this for a few years to me? What to use on 100 year old mount
Submitted by RC on 10/5/04 at 5:49 PM. ( )
Had a cust bring in a 100 year old wolf mount to be cleaned. I blowed it off with the compressor but the hair is still really dirty. Is there any chemicals on the market for this type of job? Any sugestions would be helpful.
Thank you Roy

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Shampoo it
This response submitted by Aaron Honeycutt on 10/5/04 at 10:47 PM. ( mhoney"AT"mindspring"DOT"com )
RC, First, I would be certain that the customer is aware that there is always some risk in cleaning any older mount. If brushing the wolf out good doesn't cause undo hair loss I wiuld wet it down and shampoo it with one of those quality sweet smelling shampoos. Rinse well, air hose it and then hit it with a blow dryer for 2 or 3 hours till it is nice and dry. Do repair/painting as needed after a few days and you are done. Paul Rymer did an article in Breakthrough (I think) on the Smithsonian Bengal Tiger which they hosed down in the parking lot. After a shampoo they died the coat back to a fresh mount look and made a very old mount into something special again. Enjoy, Aaron H.


This response submitted by Laurier on 10/6/04 at 9:00 AM. ( )


I have to agree with Laurier
This response submitted by George on 10/6/04 at 9:16 AM. ( )
Much of the work in the last century was done with ALUM TANS (here we go again). IF your animal was done with alum, it's a bomb waiting to blow up. Over the years, the sulfur has eaten into the skin and by introducing water, you may end up with wolf hair soup. There are no chemicals to counteract that effect. Sometimes you have to satisfy yourself with "what you see is what you get".

Here is George also talking about alum tanning. Did anyone notice that wolf mount was a hundred yrs old?
Certain tannins require processing that produces leathers that are particularly susceptible to attack by a destructive chemical decay known as red rot. Red rot is a deterioration of leather that produces a red, powdery surface (Canadian Conservation Institute 1992). Red rot occurs when the tannin reacts with sulfuric acid. Leather objects affected by red rot will go through a variety of stages. Vegetable tanned leather made between 1850 to 1900 is particularly susceptible to this reaction. Museums with large shoe collections and libraries with books dating from this period will attest to this (Haines 1991c). This is due in part to the removal of what are called non-tans while manufacturing leather during this time period. Non-tans are protective enzymes usually found in animal skins. When the animal is alive, non-tans help to protect the animal's skin from environmental influences as well as to increase its durability (Plenderleith 1970). According to Haines (1991c), before 1850 organic acids were used during the hair removal process. Because these acids are not as active as mineral acids, they did not remove all of the calcium salts (non-tans) in the leather. After 1850, however, liquid sulfuric acid, a more active mineral acid, was used and it removed all of the calcium salts. Use of sulfuric acid produced the more uniform finish desired by leather manufacturers. Although the calcium salts contribute nothing to the processing of leather, they did offer protection against the ill effects of contact with sulfuric acid in a gaseous form (Waterer 1971). With the complete removal of the non-tans, these leathers are much more susceptible to red rot. Unfortunately, there is no cure for leather objects affected by red rot (Graham-Bell 1986; Guldbeck 1969). All that can be done is to try to preserve the object in as good a condition as possible for as long as it will last. This ones for Tur.

So I dont C&P very good

This response submitted by oldshaver on 11/22/04 at 8:29 PM. ( )

you can still get the point!

Stilldidnt answer my q?

This response submitted by Tinker on 11/22/04 at 10:01 PM. ( . )

All this info is greatly appreciated , but the q? was a simple yes or no answer. I didn't want to know about useing aluminum sulfate and salt as a pickle? Just as a dry preservative? You know Powder form to a hide.?Thanks Raven, for the insite and motivation to give it a try.


This response submitted by wilson on 11/22/04 at 10:48 PM. ( )

My answer would be no also; alum has a very low pH and will eat at your hide tell it rots away.
When tanning with alum we always neutralize it after.

I'm not sur this is push the envelope as much as it is not learning buy others mistakes.

If your looking to make your own dp, search on this site and you'll find what it's made of.


This response submitted by David Patton aka Lonestar on 11/23/04 at 6:33 PM. ( )

First. Yes I used to post on here as Lonestar. I told you before that I started posting using my name when either George or Bill (I don't recall who) made a comment about "cowardice" and "anonymous" going together.

Second. Cur posted as "Alum Tan" but then went on to talk about aluminum sulphate and salt pickles. We are talking about pickles when we are referencing hot acids and safe acids.

Third. I am not going to get on this forum and try and make you look stupid, but I would like to see a little better reading comprehension on your part. I was talking about a man I knew who used the alum and salt pickle to prepare his hides for the tannery. That made for a hide that was very difficult to shave or get any stretch from.

Fourth. No flip-flops here. Coming from a man with more flip-flops than Bert's Surf Shop,I am amazed that you would call a man on changing his mind about an issue. And I will leave it at that.

Fifth and last. Rick has a fine tan. Notice I said tan, not pickle. His problem is in the pH of the hide after he neutralizes. He does not spend enough time in the bating process. If you don't believe me then check with some of his FORMER customers who would call and complain about the hides stinging their hands when they were sweated for the mount. There was still acid in the hide below the surface. (Which by the way leads to acid rot and explains hides falling apart a lot better than sulphate forming hydrogen sulfate in the leather)

Duh. I don't know why I am explaining this to you. You are the guy that hates all that Technical Jargon anyway.

Now go on back to your shaving machine oldshaver.


This response submitted by oldshaver(Aubrey Young) on 11/23/04 at 9:22 PM. ( )

A crawfish couldnt have done any better! YOU are are going to try to tell a man that has made MILLIONS tanning skins how to tan. GIVE US ALL A BREAK! Almost every post I have made in the last year, has been answered by you, trying your best to be an SOB! I envite everyone to search the archives- oldshaver,lonestar,David Patton, see what you have come up with! You couldnt even resist saying something about it BEING PAST THE KIDS BEDTIME. All you have done for the last year is try to turn Taxi-Net into the Jerry Springer Show! GET A FREAKING LIFE! By the way, do you need to borrow some chapstick? All that ass kissing your doing is bound to make your lips raw. You never even heard of the Gentleman above until you saw George welcome him back, in the industry forum. If you think this is going to get skins rolling thru your door, you are wrong. Quality will! So despite my SARCASTIC ATTITUDE, as you would say, it has never cost anyone I work for a dime, nor has it gained any customers. This a public forum where I am free to give my opinions as an individual. If it ever cost my employer a DIME, I will quit posting. By the way, the anomyous posting point is rediculous. If you cant put a face with a name, does it make a difference? Most people would say no to this argument. Well I have got to go now, its almost my bed time. In order to keep from being kikked of this forum for airing out personal differences, this will be my last responce to any of your posts. I would appreciate the same courtesy.

Feel better now?

This response submitted by David Patton on 11/23/04 at 10:25 PM. ( )

All that ranting and raving. That really was not necessary. Yes it is true that you follow my postings and I follow yours. Big deal. There are a lot of personal differences in this forum.
I will stand by my posts and I will adhere to a gentleman's agreement not to blow up like you just did.
Perhaps Ken will remove this useless banter, I don't know. I do know that now your true colors have come out for all to see.

I really could care less if you respond or not. I am going to disagree with you when I feel that you are wrong, but I certainly am not going to rant and rave like the above post.

Come on man, that really was quite sophmoric. And you have just turned 40. You would think I was dealing with a 17 year old.

Good night Oldshaver. See you in the future posts.

Post Script

This response submitted by David Patton on 11/24/04 at 12:53 AM. ( )

Next time you get a chance, read what the shelf life disclaimer says in the back of your pricelist. I am not trying to tell the "millionaire" you are referencing above how to do business, he already knows the disadvantages to his process. Hence the disclaimer about not being responsible for any "skin or hide that has not been soaked and mounted within one year from completion and invoice date".

I have seen the hides that have gone through this process fall apart upon resoaking after being stored in ideal conditions before ever leaving the shop. This is not unique to your business, it is however one of the disadvantages to this type of processs. Ask why the Mt. Goats always get soaked up and frozen if they are going to be around for over 6 months.

You can find this disclaimer on the last pages of your pricelist. It is under the heading "Important Suggestions", sub-heading "Shelf Life".

Next time you feel the urge to spout off, how about researching your own material first!

Good Night

Research Material?

This response submitted by oldshaver on 11/24/04 at 9:27 PM. ( )

Mark: Just another guy trying to run away the business.
This response submitted by Lonestar on 10/07/2003. ( )
If you think that Aluminum Sulphate will destroy your hides, then call Rick Morgan at
919-231-9933. He has forgotten more about tanning hides than Rittel and Knoblauch both put
together! (So he claims) He uses the water, salt, aluminum sulphate combination, and
has for years. He also uses 90% Formic acid which these guys will tell you will destroy
a skin (and your hands). When you know what you are doing and know how to neutralize properly with soda ash
and/or sodium bicarbonate, there are no problems. If you disagree, then ask yourself "Why is Carolina
Fur Dressing still in business after 20 some odd years?" Hmmm....

I dont have any material. Maybe we should research this quote a little more. This quote was made in 10-2003. You quit at least six months earlier, so we can safely say that you never saw a hide fall appart while you worked there, unless you are lieing in the post above. Which is it? This point speeks and reads for itself. Lets move on to something else. Every furdressers price list I have ever seen carries a disclaimer. It would be bad business not to, you should know that. Name any chemical manufacturer, distributor, and or tannery, who has an unconditional guarantee on shelf life, and in writing. You get 3yrs or 36000 miles on most new cars! You want more than a year on a $35 wt cape? This is all very simple, you are a hostile and very bitter former employee of the company I work for, and you are not going to have anything good to say about this company or their tanning methods.

Wrong again

This response submitted by David Patton on 11/25/04 at 1:43 AM. ( )

You don't even make sense. I worked there 17 years and there were plenty of hides that I saw that rotted away.

You have spent this entire thread calling me names and making accusations that are completely false and assuming. I was having a conversation with Cur and you in your usual "attack dog/James Carville" way came in here and started calling me names.

John Kerry
Jerry Springer
A** Kisser
and Liar.

Generally when a conversation breaks down into the name calling stage, that means that the one side has nothing valid left to argue with.

Did I miss something here? You just posted that the above post would be your last "responce". It seems that you have been caught in a lie.

Apparently your response was not the last one. But that point aside, if you want to try and get into an argument about your process then I invite you to bring one of your tanned and finished hides and let's test it with a ph test strip UNDER the surface.

Here is how it will go. Bring a hide that has been through the African soak and cut the leather all the way through. Wet the leather. Test the leather and tell me what the paper reads. It will be acidic.

And Aubrey, try and be professional about it. Just because I am pointing oput the disadvantages to the process does not make me hostile and bitter. I am part of the competition now and my job is to stress the disadvantages of the competition's product and boost the advantages of my product.

That is marketing in its basic form.

Now if you want to continue talking trash to me and about me, fine go ahead. But I can prove my point about the process and it can be done quick and easy.

What says you now?

After years of pushing my buttons-

This response submitted by oldshaver on 11/25/04 at 10:46 AM. ( )

now you want to play nice? Allright, once again I will turn the other cheak. For some reason I believe I will find myself picking my teeth up off the floor like I always do. Have a nice holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving

This response submitted by David Patton on 11/25/04 at 11:37 AM. ( )

No old friend. It won't get to the point of teeth "rolling down the street like chiclets" as the old Johnny Cash song used to go.

I ain't asking you to be my buddy, I just think that there are advantages and disadvantages to anything. I respect your loyalty to the man who signs your paycheck, but I am on my own and I want to make it like anyone else.

I certainly didn't start out to fail.

Feel free to vent anytime, I will discuss anything with you that you want.

Have a good one.

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