Krowtann.......ruined capes, need insight

Submitted by DJ on 9/1/05 at 7:54 PM. ( )

Ok. I am upset and understandably....I just used krowtann (6 capes) and lost 4 of them. Two of them were 8x24" capes...but that is beside the point. I followed the directions to the "T" and have no idea what happened. In an earlier post from yesterday I questioned the way the capes were handled but found out that this was not the case. Two of the capes lost were fresh and taken out only once to flesh. I am going to go step by step and see if anyone can put their finger on it. I fleshed the capes. I froze them and took them out and thawed them directly in the krowtann (mixed 5 gallons of water with 16 oz of krowtann, 8lbs of salt. the salt was pickling and canning salt found at the grocery store). I let the capes sit in the krowtann for 3 days, changing position every day. I used a landscape brick to hold the capes down in the solution. I took out after the third day and nuetralized (3oz of baking soda in 2.5 gallons of water. Wait 5 minutes and put another 3 oz of baking soda in. Wait t minutes and put another 3 oz in. Wait ten minutes and rinse in cold water. I hung the capes for about 10 or 15 minutes and WALLAH! Ruined capes. I talked with the folks at Krowtann and they had no idea. anyone have any suggestions. I am trying to get away from DP because I think I will be able to do a more quality job and so far all I have is four ruined capes and two that I am scared to touch. Please help if you have any insight as to what may be causing this. Thank you for your time.

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I think I've got it...

This response submitted by Jim Boerst on 9/1/05 at 8:08 PM. ( )


Your landscape brick is made up of cement, etc.

Ph of brick is high, and probably when soaking in your Krowtann it neutralized the tanning solution significantly. Ph raised = ruined skins...90% chance this is the problem



Save some

This response submitted by Mark on 9/1/05 at 8:40 PM. ( )

Gallon Milk Jugs and fill them w/water. Thats how we hold them down.

pH & info

This response submitted by - on 9/1/05 at 8:43 PM. ( )

Well, it's alum, so, it's not quality to start, but here are a couple of guesses.

1) pickling salt is not the same as regular sodium chloride. I believe it's potassium something or other which is totally different.

2) bricks are made out of porous rock which can dissolve in acidic solutions. I saw the Krowtann instructions in the WASCO catalog and they said something like use a plastic bucket or milk jug to hold capes in place. Plastic isn't reactive to the "tan", but the brick probably was.

3) fleshing before pickling / alum "krowtanning" is asking for trouble because you haven't killed the surface bacteria yet.

Try another tan.

jim is onto it

This response submitted by paul on 9/1/05 at 8:50 PM. ( )

the lime content in your bricks could not have helped. i have krowtann in the shop for questionable capes, ive used it on a few that were in very poor condition and it certainly helped to save them. i would also question the 8 lbs of salt? nowhere do i remember the directions using weight as measurements for your solution. it stated on the directions very clearly that the measurements given are by volume. now i dont know what 8 lbs of salt would equate to in a volume measureing cup but im sure its not right! also i would suspect haveing a brick on a cape pressing it firmly against the bottom didnt help matters either! a gallon milk jug filled with water as the instructions suggest would have done you better! keeping the capes off the bottom thus allowing the solution to surround and penetrate your capes, and you mentioned nothing about lifting the capes out and stirring around the solution as recomended also. this stuff is not that hard to use with good results. i prefer a commercial tan because of economics, but this is real good stuff to save those iffy capes. just follow the directions

Same here!

This response submitted by Eric R on 9/1/05 at 9:32 PM. ( )

in the past I used soda pop bottles to weight it down but this summer I had the same thing happen to me, I did 2 batches within a close period of time and 1 was great and 1 was total slippage the lattest one turned out perfect, I did nothing diffrent, to the "T" etc... the only diffrence was that on one I used an old plastic 10lb dumbbell, but since it sprang a leak (its filled with asnd or something) I didn't use it the seccond time instead I used a expensive stainless steel one that I didn't want to use because I actually use it. any how long short of it is that I suspect that much like yours my problem was that I may have neutralized the solution by using the weight and not truly tanned the cape, rather soaked a half tanned hide in bacteria rich soup for 3 days.
I will pay attention from now on what I use and I will be putting a simple milk or soda bottle in there from now on.
in retrospect I don't have any idea where the idea of using a weight came from but thanks for bringing it back to me. sometimes I have these lapses in common sense.


Another Krowtann result

This response submitted by Richard Schmidt from Minnesota on 9/1/05 at 9:32 PM. ( )

I have a deer head drying right now that I put up last week, used Krowtann to the letter, I used a plastic pail filled with a heavy weight to hold cape down in the mixture, worked great. Head is in eighth day of drying and very little if any shrinkage and looks great, actually drying faster then I thought it would.


This response submitted by M.Magis on 9/1/05 at 9:45 PM. ( )

How about the 9 oz. of baking soda? Directions only call for 3 oz. total.


This response submitted by Eric R on 9/1/05 at 10:00 PM. ( )

on mixture size mix 7.5 gallons in a 25 gallon barrel =3X soda I don't think 2.5 gallons is enough for a whole deer. depends on size but I do think that the extra solution allows the hide to float more freely in the solution and get more evenly soaked.

thank you

This response submitted by DJ on 9/1/05 at 10:26 PM. ( )

In the directions for Krowtann it says to use 64 oz of salt per 2.5 gallons of water and 8 oz of krowtann. The salt says "nothing added, plain salt" right on the box. I imagine the brick had something to do with it. I spoke with Brian at Ozark woods and he said the 3 oz of baking soda was right, your only supposed to use 1 oz of sodium bicarbonate but I guess regular baking soda is different. I guess I will have to try it with another cape but do so with a plastic milk jug. Any fairly easy tanning materials out there that produce better results? I am new to this so would like something fairly easy. Thank you for all of your replies. It is greatly appreciated.

I dont see any trouble with the slight variables

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 9/1/05 at 10:44 PM. ( )

Everything you did seems to be within the norm. I dont even weigh mine down, just give them a swish now and again. One big question, though...well water, with a higher bacteria count? Before guys say "no, cant be that, I dont ever have trouble" remember that water changes, bacteria levels can change in a well between rain events, or city water treated differently...I know some might question krowtann, but I just dont think its at fault here.


This response submitted by Ed on 9/1/05 at 10:50 PM. ( )

Dj, next time try doing just one cape at a time following the instructions you should not have any problems.I have done probably 60-80 deer hides besides every other kind of mammal No problem ever! I have experimented a little using krowtann it is really easy stuff to work with. I use 7oz krowtann,64oz meat salt,2.5 gal.water mix well and put cape in to soak.I do flesh and turn ears, split lips,nose and eyes . good luck don't give up it works great! ED

another question

This response submitted by dj on 9/1/05 at 10:58 PM. ( )

Bill, I have city water. Could the brick have done it like others claim? It makes sense to me. how about nuetralizing it....could I be adding too much too fast? When you guys/gals say you flesh before you put it in the krowtann do you just split the lips, nose , ears and eyes or do you remove the meat and thin them....remove cartilage before or after it is tanned? I shaved to a blue tint but didn't get much stretch either. My forms are way too big. I am used to dp and guess measurements are a little more critical with a tan....Thanks in advance.


This response submitted by Bill Yox on 9/2/05 at 12:47 AM. ( )

I honestly dont know about the brick, as, like I said, I dont weight them down anyway. Wish I could help you more. My guess? Probably not...

When I tried krowtann, to satisfy my curiosity as well as be prepared for students who use it, I followed the directions as printed. I rough fleshed the cape, not shaved. I think folks get the two mixed up sometimes. Im talking ten minutes to split and turn and pull the heavy stuff off only. I hope that might help you.

I'll bet on the brick.

This response submitted by Glen Conley on 9/2/05 at 1:31 AM. ( )

I would suspicion that a calcium hydroxide solution was created.

I did not notice pH readings being posted for the solution prior to neutralization.

Simple enough test to find out if the brick was the donor for a new gruel. Simply drip your acid on another landscape brick. If bubbling occurs, that would probably indicate a high level of calcium carbonate in the brick. After the acid has sat on the brick for a few minutes, check the pH. If the acid is neutralized you will be allowed to say sumbeech out loud.

In regards to baking soda, baking soda is sodium bicarbonate.

Medical, lab, dental, food all the way down to live stock grades are produced at the same time. Purity is the same. The different grades are just different screen sizes.

It is the brick

This response submitted by Anthony on 9/2/05 at 9:53 AM. ( )

DJ I was the guy you talked to whene you called Ozark Woods Thursday you didnt mention the brick (only the dif. salt) but that will cause you problems such as hair slippage due to minerals in the brick.

Over neutralized

This response submitted by Becky P on 9/2/05 at 12:21 PM. ( )

The three ounces of baking soda is supposed to be divided up and added one ounce every five minutes, not three ounces every five minutes. Also the lime in the brick probably didn't help. Use a water filled milk jug. BP

told 3oz

This response submitted by DJ on 9/2/05 at 12:30 PM. ( )

The guy from ozark woods told me to use 3 oz each time. He said if your using baking soda use 3oz each time. If your using sodium bicarbonate (which I thought was baking soda!) use only 1 oz each time. I am positive about this.

Well, then,

This response submitted by Becky P on 9/2/05 at 1:57 PM. ( )

I don't know, but my box of baking soda says that it is sodium bicarbonate. And that's all I ever use, but only three ounces total. I also do my hides/capes individually so that they are not crowded. I've been using Krowtann and baking soda for two years now. BP


This response submitted by MIKE in iowa on 9/3/05 at 12:37 AM. ( )

Ive been using krow for 2 yrs on antelope deer goat and elk , ive had green stinking deer capes that had no slip at all . you must aggitate stir and rearrange the cape daily .I PUT ON A PAIR OF RUBBER GLOVES AN lift the cape in and out of tan .Also go along edges and make sure that they are not folded over, behind the ears is a area to watch.i was using saftee acid and had slippage .go to a feed store and buy mixing or stockade salt 20 lbs for 7.00 bucks.Always -Always -Always have some eye protection on . Hope this helps

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