Not drying

Submitted by Justin on 12/23/04 at 9:05 AM. ( )

I'm doing my first deer hide and almost sunday I put it in the tan. I left it in for 17 hours like the instructions from Van Dykes said and then after that i drained it for 30 minutes and the applied the oil (just like the instructions said). It is now thursday and the hide has still not dried out enough. Why isn't it? The Rittels instructions that i got said it should take 4-6 hours until I could start breaking the hide.

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4-6 Hours

This response submitted by John on 12/23/04 at 9:13 AM. ( )

I think the 4 to 6 hrs was for for sweating in the oil not drying time. It will take several days for the hide to dry. Did you unfold the hide and flattenit out skin side up and keep it in a dry place? Humidity will slow down the drying time. If it is ready to start breaking the hide the edges should turn white as you pull on them. Do this everyday until the hide is dry. re-read your directions. Are you using EZ 100. Email Mr Rittel for more instructions.

Why would you wait before breaking the hide?

This response submitted by cur on 12/23/04 at 10:01 AM. ( )

I may be wrong, but for fifty years, I have always begun to break hides after a brief draining time. You wait for that leather to dry before you begin breaking it and you will need a more elbow grease than may be available.

not shure

This response submitted by lee on 12/23/04 at 10:17 AM. ( )

im not shure but i believe a hide needs to be 95% dry before breaking. i think that is for using a large tumbler though. i rember bruce talking about this, check the archives.

Well, unless

This response submitted by cur on 12/23/04 at 11:08 AM. ( )

You have some fancy equipment to tell you what 95% is, I suggest using the "rule of thumb". That rule being, that when I pressed my thumb down on the flesh side of hide laid on a hard surface, and no water collected in the dent made by my plum picker, it was time to start breaking. By brief drying time, I meant not to leave it too long.


This response submitted by John on 12/23/04 at 11:19 AM. ( )

Yes, I am almost positive that the 95% rule is for using a tumbler. We never put our skins in the tumbler until they are almost completely dry.

John, I don't know where you heard that, but

This response submitted by George on 12/23/04 at 11:30 AM. ( )

NOT FROM THE TANNERIES I USE. Why would you wait? You're talking about an oiled hide anyway.


This response submitted by John on 12/23/04 at 12:23 PM. ( )

Humidity In Texas! We don't have the facilities that big tanneries do and we noticed alot of heat and humidity building up in our small but 4' saw dust tumbler and it resulted in slipping hides. We are talking rug work right? Besides Bruce said something about 85 to 95 percent dry. I trust his word using HIS chemicals.

Measuring percentages

This response submitted by cur on 12/23/04 at 1:31 PM. ( )

I don't know how you can arbitrate a percentage of moisture content and have it apply universally. I agree with George that starting wet may require more time, but to have any two people agree on what was 5% moisture content may be impossible.

There are a few ways to actually measure moisture content. One is by use of a moisture meter like those used in the lumber and flooring industry. A small unit may run around $80.00 and a serious model more than $1000 buckeroos. Those devices measure ohms of resistance across two electric probes. Another method is by neutron gauging and God only knows what that would cost. The third method is by weight of dry and saturated product comparisons and Lord knows I ain't got time for that.

When I produced porclain sculpture, the green ware was placed in the kiln when moisture content was around 3%. That was measured with a device, but my makers had been doing it for so many years, they used other rules to judge when green wares were ready to fire.

Five percent or less moisture is damn near as dry as most porous objects get. A pair of shoes sitting in my closet probably has 5% moisture content, especially here in the swamp.

The only way possible to determine that percentage would be to weigh a hide right out of the soak and then again after it was "dry", but hide thicknesses and other variables would make that a WAG at best.

I would be willing to bet that a moisture meter stuck into a year old wall mount might come up with a 5% moisture content.

I still like my rule of thumb, and will stick with it until someone shows me a better way that is just as cheap.


This response submitted by lee on 12/23/04 at 2:59 PM. ( )

id guess you would guess 95% i know i read that. mabey bruce will jump in to clarify this. i have tried weter hides in my tumbler and only had good results when i threw them mostly dry.

Blind pigs find acorns all the time lee

This response submitted by George on 12/23/04 at 3:47 PM. ( )

As Cur stated, few taxidermists have a concept of many issues that are "cast in stone". A popcorn fart would be only about 10% dry I'd suppose. And a four foot tumbler would take forever to break a hide since you're quoting Bruce. HE says a minimum of 8 feet.

Actually George

This response submitted by John on 12/23/04 at 4:36 PM. ( )

You are dead wrong on the taking forever to break a hide in a 4' tumbler. Sure it takes longer than an 8' tumbler but many of us I guess are not as fortunate as you and can not afford the space. We are happy with our results. We do the best we can and our customers love the nice SOFT hides we can produce.


This response submitted by Justin on 12/23/04 at 9:58 PM. ( )

i unfolded the hide and i now have it sitting on a table in a dry area. i am using a Van Dykes kit. thanks for clarifying that 4-6 hours is the sweating period and not the drying period.

John, just for the record

This response submitted by George on 12/23/04 at 10:47 PM. ( )

I don't have either a 4 foot OR an 8 foot tumbler. I send my hides out to professionals who have that type space and equipment when I want soft tans.

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