Need suggestions on tanning problems

Submitted by mrdux on 11/19/04 at 11:56 PM. ( )

Having opened my new studio recently and having little experience in tanning (marginal at best training at PIT) I have tried a couple of tanning methods and haven't been pleased with either. I bought an auto-tanner, the crystals and oil from Steve. I found it to be easy, quick and one hell of a mess with the oil when used per his instructions. I attended the tanning seminar with the guys from McKenzie at the NTA in Huntsville so I decided to try their tan. I found it to be fine until I got to preparing for mounting the capes and found I have shrinkage and ZERO stretch so the capes are no where near the neck meat measurements, some as much as 3 inches smaller. Right now I have about 6 forms that were ordered according to the meat dimensions and won't fit the capes. I have no desire to sent the forms back and downsize since most deer customers are like fish customers---make it as big as you can! Help! Any advice on which method or different direction I should go will be most welcome. I have a shop full of deer to do now and don't want to send the capes out.I have read the archives for hours about all the methods but need to know if I can salvage the shrunken capes and how to do it so they might get the stretch I need to fit the forms I have ? Thanks.

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This response submitted by mrdux on 11/20/04 at 12:00 AM. ( )

I have shaved these shrunken capes down to the hair roots and still haven't got any stretch. I have tried manual, pneumatic and air stretching with no results. The fabric softener doesn't work either.

For get the oil.

This response submitted by John C on 11/20/04 at 12:23 AM. ( )

I dont use the oil in the A-T, run it half of the time length, and add an extra gallon of water.

You may need to add a little more crystals, but go slow and learn to use your machine. It will be fine once you do.

Mr Dux

This response submitted by Frank E. Kotula on 11/20/04 at 6:27 AM. ( )

Tanning is really a very simple process, thou it can be very hair pulling. I know I'm half bald! I don't know what tans your trying to do or what are your steps before you tan. You saying you have no stretch. That is caused by probally not the tan but the hide not being shaved down to the right thickness.
The tan I like and trust the most are EZ-100 and Liqua-Tan. I have great sucess with either one. As for the oil I found Knobloch's #1 tanning oil to be one of the best on the market but this is a personal choice.
Now after I rehydrate the hide, I pickle three days using saftee-acid for my pickle. From there I drain and then shave the hide thin. TO know if it's thin enough you will see the hide turning a blueish color. Stop right there and then repickle again for one day. Take out again drain and then neturlize the hide in water and baking soda for about 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse well drain and then use either one of the tans. After no more than 16 to 18 hours I either rinse the hides and then drain and oil. Wrap the hide up set aside and then the next day I place then in the freezer. I don't wash the hide until I take them out of the freezer and thaw them out.
After they thaw I wash them in pert shampoo dry them slighty in the clothes dryer and then mount. I get great stretch and usually can get an easy inch or more after any of the tans. If we can help out more let me know.

Tanning methods

This response submitted by mrdux on 11/20/04 at 7:49 AM. ( )

I haven't used the oil in the auto-tanner, only after shaving per Steve's instructions that came with the tanner. He says dip the brush in warm water to spread the oil on the cape. What I ended up with was a sticky, oily mess. The other is using the McKenzie tan and their instructions to the letter, measuring all chemicals and timing all steps. Perry at McKenzie thinks it may be not thinning the capes but the last one I tried was totally blueish with some spots of roots showing. I felt it was plenty, if not too thin.

Is there a way of re-tanning or rehydrating these capes so I can use them on their intended forms?

I like the auto tanner

This response submitted by Lon on 11/20/04 at 8:04 AM. ( )

When I use mine, after splitting everything put in tanner with out the oil but i add pre tan 110 and pickel oil run for atleast a couple of hours take out, flesh,flesh,flesh and return to tanner with fresh tanning crystals and Steves oil run for a couple more hours take it out, empty tanner, add saw dust, tumble cape for about 20 min, shake it off, apply liqua-tan let sit for a couple hrs then mount or freeze. Before mounting I retumble in clean saw dust with mineral spirts or hair sheen added to it.
You can use auto tanner with many differnt combinations this is just the one I use. Good luck

Switch to JRTS

This response submitted by George on 11/20/04 at 8:44 AM. ( )

I've used it for years without EVER having a problem. And I've tried all the new ones coming down the pike and always end up back with JRTS. Anything else goes to the commercial tannery.

I would

This response submitted by John M on 11/20/04 at 2:10 PM. ( )

try shrink tonic, I haven't had to use since last year but IT DID give me a couple extra inchs. I beleive I ordered it from Van Dykes

Mr Dux

This response submitted by Frank E. Kotula on 11/20/04 at 9:24 PM. ( )

Yes if you have a tanned hide you can rehydrate it back again and remove it from the form. I use a big tub or sink for this.

Found a solution

This response submitted by mrdux on 11/20/04 at 11:09 PM. ( )

I talked to Jason Snowberger today and found out he and Marcus Zimmerman are currently using McKenzie tan with no such problems. He told me to shave one of my McKenzie tanned capes VERY thin and try it for stretch. I did and have all the stretch I could ask for. Looks like my problem was me and not the product. My opinion on how thin to shave was most definately wrong. Cape now fits the form with plenty of room! I stand corrected! Thanks to all who replied.

been there

This response submitted by J Randall on 11/25/04 at 10:10 PM. ( )

I would Rehydrate the capes and see how much stretch you can get if you can get them to match up use an epoxy like Epo-Grip, if they wont stretch enough to fit your forms you could alter the forms to fit the new measurements, Just my two cents but out of all the in house tans I've tried I like KrowTann 2000 from Ozark woods, easy to use, locks the hair real good, I havn't noticed any shrinkage at all and it produces the best stretch I've ever worked with. Capes tanned with KrowTann really do feel like a wet dish cloth and are a real joy to mount.
best to you and yours

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