what in the heck am I doing wrong

Submitted by DB on 10/15/05 at 12:19 AM. ( )

Ok. I am in the process of trying "home tanning" and have had nothing but problems. I went to safety acid and liqua tan. I am having hair "standing up" in small spots and it pulls out VERY easy and not in one particular place on every mount though almost always occurs on the shoulder areas (and other spots sporadically). Here is what I do:
*Cape deer
*Flesh and salt immediately after removing red meat (I do this immediately after caping)
*Lay inclinded to allow fluids to run off
*Shake off wet salt after 1 day, reapply new salt (repeat step if salt still draws moisture)
*Shake off loose salt and hang until dry
*rehydrate in a bath of water and 2lbs of salt per gallon (never had to rehydrate for more than an hour.
*rinse off cape in cold water to remove excess salt.
*Place cape in pickle )25 gallons of water/safety acid/25lbs salt.
*I get the ph at 1 before placing the cape in and stabilize it at 1.5 to 2 for three days. Pull cape out daily and put right back in (just to change cape position). I also never put more than 3 capes in 25 gallons of pickle.
*Remove after 3 days, drain and shave (eager beaver)
*place back in pickle for 24 hrs.
*remove and neutralize in 1 tbsp baking soda per gallon. (usually do 6 gallons per cape and do it in a seperate container than my pickle.)
*let it hang until it stops dripping
*towel it somewhat "dry" but still moist
*apply warmed liqua tan with a brush to flesh side.
*roll up and put in fridge overnight.
*take cape out of fridge and freeze until ready to mount
*when mostly thawed I wash in liquid tide and rinse in cool water
*let it hang until it stops dripping and take excess moisture out with clean towels.

I followed every precaution, know the history of the capes and basically had no problems until I'm ready to mount but did notice some hair would come out in the pickle but not "slipping". You could pull out 3 or 4 hairs here and there. The ph was fine and never raised over 2.5. Any ideas...I am frustrated to say the least and fortunately no capes were bad enough to be lost yet. I get nervous though every time I have a cape to work on though. What do you "pro tanners" suggest. Thank you for your time.

Return to Tanning Category Menu

wash question

This response submitted by Mr.T on 10/15/05 at 12:43 AM. ( )

Wash In tide? Do you wash by hand, or washing machine?
I would use Tail and Main shampoo from the Equine dealer. Very mild, and I wash by hand.

DB, stop pulling hair

This response submitted by George on 10/15/05 at 1:07 AM. ( georoof@aol.com )

I add a handful of salt to the neutralizer, but you've done everything right (I never dry my salted hides so I skip the rehydration, but that's me). What you see is that hair is able to be pulled from the hide. That's normal. Slippage is the epidermal layer "slipping" off the hide. You don't have that, so stop worrying and stop pulling hair. If I grabbed YOUR HAIR and pulled on it right now it would come out, wouldn't it? Bet that wouldn't make you happy either. LOL


This response submitted by TR on 10/15/05 at 1:41 AM. ( trfishn@aol.com )

I agree with George I don't dry my salted capes or hides. Why add an extra step? Also you didn't mention your pH when you are neutralizing and for how long they are in there. I keep them in the neutralizer for 20- 30 minutes. No Longer. I also wash the blood from all my capes before salting. Be sure your guides on your flesher are set proper and your not shaving too deep. TR

liquid tide?

This response submitted by roger peets on 10/15/05 at 8:08 AM. ( rjpeets@dreamscape.com )

i had this problem. especially when grooming after mounting. i use kemal 4 now. it has low ph. some hair still comes out, but not like when i use soap or conditioner. they tell me dawn dish soap has a lower ph but never tried it. good luck to ya.

Class! Class! CLASS!

This response submitted by Glen Conley on 10/15/05 at 9:31 AM. ( g.conley@verizon.net )

Your homework assignment for today.

*Use a search engine and find an MSDS for Liquid Tide.

*Using that data, why is it alkaline?

*Using that data explain what enzymes do for a living.

*Are brand names always the same product?


This response submitted by db on 10/15/05 at 1:25 PM. ( )

would that tide make the hair come out almost immediately though? It pulls out easily (I only pull the "standing hair" and did not notice this prior to washing. It does not appear that the epidermal layer is coming out with it. Maybe tide and shaving too deep in areas is the problem? I have kemol 4....would that be better to wash in. I noticed the hair problem about 1/2 hour after washing but not to say that it wasn't a problem before this since it is in a few small, select locations. Thanks again for your time.

Chief Standing Hairs, leader of the Hair Slips.

This response submitted by Glen Conley on 10/15/05 at 2:03 PM. ( g.conley@verizon.net )

DB, to answer your question, SURE!

Did you check out an MSDS? What would be an available "donor" in the Liquid Tide to help produce a heat reaction?

Here's more homework. It really helps if you have aid of magnification to back up your own senses. THEN, you can make better judgement calls (which a lot of times comes down as a better educated guess).


This could have all been avoided.

This response submitted by jrosbor on 10/15/05 at 5:43 PM. ( huntersdream3x@hotmail.com )

What doe's the hair look like?
That one question will tell you why the hair is slipping!

sounds like

This response submitted by lee on 10/15/05 at 5:52 PM. ( )

too much washing, i never wash deer capes unless they are really bad, the tumbler cleans them fine


This response submitted by db on 10/16/05 at 12:09 AM. ( )

I washed it so the liqua tan would be rinsed off and allow the buckeye supreme to stick. I just washed it once. I never dreamed that tide would cause the hair to come out. I was under the understanding that you could wash all tanned skins in tide.....guess I am still learning. Thanks. Dane


This response submitted by oldshaver on 10/16/05 at 12:22 AM. ( )

I think the sodium hydroxide is the problem. Depending on concentration, it is highly caustic, which can do a real number to the skin, and hair.

one other question here

This response submitted by Frank E Kotula on 10/16/05 at 6:44 AM. ( basswtrout@msn.com )

How can you rehydrate a dry salted hide in one hour? I have never seen any dry salted hide fully rehydrate in any solution in that short of time.
Next time try using pert shampoo instead of tide. Tide is great to wash birds skins in not deer hides.

Bless your pea pickin' heart, oldshaver.

This response submitted by Glen on 10/16/05 at 2:51 PM. ( )

I've been trying to point that out for years.

For those of you wondering where in the heck did oldshaver come up with sodium hydroxide, it's simple.

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate heated in water can produce sodium hydroxide as a result of heat speeding up the molecular activity to cause the sodium bicarbonate to give up carbon dioxide and water. Sodium carbonate, same principle except it is giving up carbon monoxide instead of carbon dioxide.

If you are now wondering where heat came from, it was a result of the reaction between the acid involved and the sodium bicarbonate/carbonate now changing form in an effort to balance out toward a neutral point, which actually forms another compound all together. Those are called exothermal reactions, heat producing, when Bondo catalyzes, that is an exothermal reaction. The greater the mass, the greater the heat.

Many would know sodium hydroxide as lye.

The lye is the active ingredient produced when baking soda or sal soda are heated in water to clean skulls. Increasing the thermal heat only speeds up the breakdown of muscle and tendon. The amount of heat required to produce lye is less than 140 degreees F., while it takes 160 F. to start structural protein disassociations, and can be considered complete protein disassociations at 212 F. Guess what?
These chemicals don't care where the heat source comes from. 100 degrees F. is 100 degrees F.

Different acids have different chemical properties. They have different molecular structures and different names.

In a perfect world.........and ideally........specific "pure" end products would be produced as a result of these reactions.

Examples might include citic acid to sodium citrate, oxalic acid to sodium oxylate, acetic acid to sodium acetate. See how that works under "ideal" laboratory conditions? We ain't even got those kinda ideals in tanning.

If you have followed my drift so far, acids reacting with compounds on skin or hair that are reactive with acids will also produce those same exothermal reaqctions. How much would it take to burn a hair in two?

In regards as to how fast can chemical reactions take place......the speed of light. That's pretty quick.


This response submitted by db on 10/17/05 at 12:02 AM. ( )

that is definately a good thing to know.....is kemal 4 alright to wash the skin in? To answer you about the rehydration....the skin was salted and hung for 5 days. It was stiff and almost perfectly dry. I put it in the salt/water and lightly worked it and it relaxed. Don't know how but it did. I did not tug or pull, just made sure all the cape was exposed to water. Thanks for the info everyone and this is definately a good post for the archives! Very informative. Thanks again. I know how valueable everyones time is. DB

DB Glens didnt mention the stop rot

This response submitted by paul e on 10/18/05 at 11:03 AM. ( amfpaul@bellsouth.net )

all good stuff and i agree with not washing
but anyway
try using stop rot up front
its a auxiliary product worth its weight in gold
once the skin is treated with this stuff
there is a whole lot more forgiveness in the outcome
look in the archives on stop rot
you wont be sorry

Return to Tanning Category Menu