Thawing tricky frozen fox skin

Submitted by Lynda C on 4/13/06 at 2:49 PM. ( )

Yep, I checked the archives first, and came across John Bellucci's post on using a mix of salt and aluminum sulphate to set hair. I have a good friend who has supplied me with very nice fox pelts from his hunts here in Iceland, and he has one that has been in the freezer for about a year. I don't know how it has been stored, or how well it's been fleshed out, but I would guess pretty roughly fleshed. From what I can gather, I can thaw the hide in a pickle (I use very dilute chlorine bleach for bactericide in a soap soak, formaldehyde for pickle, and a potash and chrome tan--it's what I can get my hands on here, and I'm pretty darned thankful for it). However, I am very concerned about slippage, as he didn't used to always skin and cool as quickly as possible (does now, thanks to the info I got from y'all). So I'm wondering when I should try applying the salt/aluminum sulphate. I will probably have to flesh, and for sure have to turn and flesh eyelids and nose. And of course, I'm hoping I can get my cabbage grabbers on some aluminum sulphate. I'll give my thanks in advance, since it may be days before I can get back to a computer. Incidently, we had a four day blizzard a couple of weeks ago, followed by a three day blizzard a few days after, with serious snow accumulation. April 20th is the first day of summer here in Iceland...

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Lynda, now's the time Mr. Conley makes all the big bucks

This response submitted by George on 4/13/06 at 5:01 PM. ( )

These critters are prime candidates for Stop Rot. I'd never begin to thaw them without soaking them in Stop Rot. I don't use alum for anything except the trace amoundts that are in the DP I use.

tricky fox!

This response submitted by ej on 4/13/06 at 5:06 PM. ( . )

i'd thaw the fox in the pickle. if is was damaged by bacteria before frozen. there is really nothing you can do to save the hide.
your pickle does not sound like a pickle but rather a relaxing bath. forget that stuff with a questionable hide. rather use a good strong acid and salt solution will save it if indeed it can be saved.

Next trick is getting Stop Rot...

This response submitted by Lynda C on 4/15/06 at 10:44 AM. ( )

Living in Iceland is great, but a major disadvantage is not living where I can easily get all these great products I read about in this forum :( When I order from the internet, I get whacked with 24.5% tax, and then lots of customs and duties, not only for the item, but also for the paperwork and the shipping! By the time I get the item, the price has more than doubled, not counting shipping. Ouch! But at least they don't do this to gifts, which is good especially around Christmas and birthdays.

I should also have been clearer about the first step I use, recommended by the tannery guy here, and has worked quite well for me thus far. I soak the hide in a solution of soap and bleach for about 8 hours, then rinse and put the hide in a solution of salt, formaldehyde and water. If I thaw it in the pickle, when should I wash it? Should I thaw in pickle (for how long?), wash, then pickle again?

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