Why is it we don't use "floats" to oil our furs and skins? For years and years we said "brush on tans" don't work as well as static tans. Yet we still oil our skins using a "brush on" system. As far back as I can remember we never used a "float" to oil our skins. Any one know why float oils are not avi. to the taxidermist? I know they work, the bigger tanerys use this system. Thanks! Joe
Return to Tanning Category Menu
I have used fatliquour floats and immersion oiling for ermines and it works extremely well. The softness and suppleness of the finished skin is bar-none, the best.
Hair-on immersion oiling in furbearers is very difficult because the fur soaks up all the oil, so it is a wasteful system. I was told this and I also experienced this.
Example: you need 4 gallons of oil to do one average timber wolf. $35 a gallon for the oil. Even if you spin out 75% of the oil and reprocess, you still waste about 20% of the oil. It's just not cost effective.
So, many bigger tanneries use a kicker or they hire "greasers" to do the brush-on oiling.
A bit of history,
My dad started the tannery when I was very young. I worked in it from the time I was 10 till I was 18. My dad only did hair off leather deer skins. He has never tanned a hide with the hair on.
The system he used, (I belive) Was short float right in the tanning vat. (like the last 20 or 30min) It was based on dry or drained skin wt. I belive it was an oil by BASF and the formula was like 10 or 20% of skin wt. The oil was added right to the tanning vat and it looked alot like milk. The skin was then toggled and drummed. He had a kicker but never used it that I am aware of, I sold it a few years after the tannery was given to me because I never used it. The oil was not expensive by any means, even at $35.00 gal it is still less expensive than the oils we are using at 50/50. I have been using Rittel's Pro-Plus oil for years and I love it! and am starting to use more of the straight oil from Rittels and Knoblochs. The "taxidermy" leather industry has grown quite a bit over the last few years, I simply want to explore more options. Joe
We make a product called Pickle Oil that you can use in your Tanning bath. Use it at 10 to 12 % of drained skin weight and it can replace the oiling step. I use 2 to 4% and just swabb lighly with the Tanning oil #1 afterwards. The Pickle oil does make a big difference, basically its a fatliquor.
some reasons to hand oil is two fold. First there is a lot of waste like stated above by oil, the other problem is matting on coyotes, wolves, and fox after oiling durring sawdusting. Hand oiled skins finish out with better looking hair and lighter skin weight.
Beaver, Otter, Coon, and mink can all be drum or float oiled and or kicked. Oil is easily extracted from these skins.
Thank you all for the info! Joe