Just my observations over the years.
Oxalic acid: 1/2oz per gal= pH of about 1.5
Used most often in chrome tanning. Can create CO when mixed with sulphuric acid. Works very fast! Produces a nice tight plump skin for shaving.
Sulphuric acid: 1oz per gal= pH of -1 (depends on grade of acid)
Best kept in the auto parts store! See above! Produces a skin that is limp and not very plump. Not very good for shaving. Very harsh on skin and clothes. Can cause damage to skin (hide) structure.
Formic acid: 1oz per gal= pH of about 2.5 (85% formic)
Very strong acid! This acid can actually tan meat left on the hide! Makes a nice tight plump skin for shaving. Can be hard to find and costs a bit more.
Saftee Acid (Rittel's): 1/2oz per gal= pH of about 1.
Very strong acid that is buffered for your protection. Makes a nice tight plump skin that is easy to shave! Very safe to use (can be dumped) Works well with all tans for taxidermy use (have not tested chrome). Very inexpensive to use.
Leatherizing acid (WTDS): 3/4oz per gal= pH of about 1.8.
I think (IMHO) this is the best acid for taxidermy. Cost more than other acids but produces a better skin for shaving. Have not tested with chrome but works great with all other tans on the market.
Vinegar (5%): 16-32oz per gal= pH of 3 or less.
Costs a lot to use! Is avi at any grocery store. Smell is bad. Takes at least 3 days to pickle a skin. Makes a nice plump skin.
Alum (Aluminum Sulfate): 1oz per gal= pH of about 4.
Really plumps the hide! Causes the skin to shrink a lot (plumps the hide up). Pickles skins fast. Could possibly cause acid rot as time goes on. Pickle can also be used as the tan after the pH has been raised.
These are just some of the acids I have used for taxidermy work. These are not recipes or a how to guide on tanning. ALL acids used produce a skin that "feels" different from each other. It's just a matter of what the person using them prefers.
Thank you for your time!
Joseph R Osborn (Hunter's Dream Taxidermy)
Return to Tanning Category Menu
I even use citric acid!
Citric acid: 3oz per gal= pH of 2 or less.
I like this acid too. It can cost a bit more to use than other acids. Makes a nice white plump hide for shaving. Works good with most tans on the market. Can be very harsh on skin and cloths.
Sorry about that!