McKenzie Tan/Shrinkage

Submitted by Jerry on 7/21/06 at 1:22 AM. ( )

I decided to try McKenzie Tan, I followed the instructions to a T. Well I have tanned three capes with it and all of their necks have shrunk about 1- 1.5". First of all I properly thinned the entire capes with a rotary knife. I have thinned countless number capes, but no matter what I do with McKenzie tan the necks still shrink. I oiled all of them and stretche but noneless SHRINKAGE. Does anybody know what this could be from. I have never had this problem with Lutan when the capes are properly thinned.

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Hate to say it, but I've experienced that too

This response submitted by George on 7/21/06 at 8:55 AM. ( )

I was told by an outside source that he suspected the tan wasn't homogonized well enough. When you get ready to use it, shake the bottle vigorously.

PERSONALLY, I went back to John Rinehart's advice and stopped pickling. I immediately got a very sweet, white tan with plenty of stretch. I'm no tanning guru obviously, but again, pickling proved to be the difference TO ME. Unless a hide smells spoiled or putrid, it does not see any pickle.


This response submitted by Jerry on 7/21/06 at 11:44 AM. ( )

How did you thin the skin, when you pickle it puffs up the skin fibers and makes it easier to thin down. So how do you thin the skin.

Wegner' School of Taxidermy

This response submitted by Ron on 7/21/06 at 1:08 PM. ( )

Get rid of the mess and get back to the stretch in your hides go with pressture tanning you will not regret it.

Ron, when the big guys go that way, I might try

This response submitted by George on 7/21/06 at 3:23 PM. ( )

I use a fleshing/shaving machine to flesh my hides. Then I salt them overnight. I rinse the salt off the next day and paint on the tan. I allow it to soak in for 6 hours to overnight and I freeze it. When I'm ready to mount, I wash the tan off and treat it with Knobloch's Pre Soak. My hides are just a shaveable as any pickled hide will ever be, PLUS it's oiled and I don't have to worry that much about contacting the acid.

The PRIME question I've asked here without ever getting an answer that satisfied ME was how can someone explain to me why a hide is pickled in ACID, neutralize, and then tanned in ACID without being able to eliminate one of those requirements. I grew up prehistoric where a pickle tan was all things once got. Now we lower the pH to 2 or below, neutralize to 7 and then drop the pH back to 4. (I'm completely aware of the astringent qualities of a pickle on a spoiled hide, but fresh hides just don't compute TO ME.)

Ask Bruce

This response submitted by Jeff on 7/21/06 at 5:04 PM. ( )

We hired Bruce Rittel as a consultant a little over a year ago and he explained the reason for pickling, neutralizing, and then tanning. The pickle preserves and plumps the hide for shaving. Neutralizing to a pH of 7 and then tanning at a pH of 4 allows the tanning agent to be drawn completely into the hide. I'm sure Bruce can explain it in much more detail.

Jeff, Bruce is a personal and dear friend

This response submitted by George on 7/21/06 at 6:45 PM. ( )

I expect him to give me the "company" answers. He knows I don't have to accept them. My hides don't NEED plumping to be shaved and if you didn't PICKLE the hide, you wouldn't have to bring it UP to a 7. It would already BE a 7 and the 4 doesn't care what it was before it got to 7. It still pulls the tanning solution into the hide.

A pickle-

This response submitted by oldshaver on 7/21/06 at 8:07 PM. ( )

is removing un-tannable proteins from the skin fibers, and allowing for more stretch, by reducing the lack of "clutter" within them. This allows better tan fixation, and deeper oil penetration. Especially when dry tanning. I can also see Georges point. Bringing a skin up to ph of 7 is a waste of time. All leather is slightly acidic, and needs to remain that way. A good oil will help combat future skin decay, in conjunction with the tan. Who knows, I learn something new on a regular basis.


This response submitted by JIm on 7/21/06 at 8:54 PM. ( )

Try Kwik-n-eze from Bruce R. I use this with saftey acid wityh great results.
You can see the skin just suck in the tan right away. great stretch.

Im friends with guys from both (all) sides of this one!

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 7/22/06 at 1:11 AM. ( )

Ill NEVER not pickle a skin. I dont have shrinkage problems with McKenzie Tan. I dont agree with Georges way of doing skins, even though I still like him. Bruce doesnt speak the company line when it comes to pickles, just basic math, compatibilty and chemistry. I might be doing it wrong, but Im getting great results from McKenzie tan. And I like Safety Acid too, lol.


This response submitted by Doug C on 7/22/06 at 2:11 PM. ( )

Jerry, are you allowing the capes to dry then re-hydrating before mounting or freezing damp ( as most taxidermists do) and mounting upon thawing? All capes will experince a bit of shrinkage upon drying, due to the evaporation of water in the cell structures of the skin. The oil in tanning medium will retard and help fill the void left by the evaporation. However by properly shaving a cape and removing the excess corium/leather it should make up for any enviromental shrinkage. I would allow a few hours for the tan/oil to penetrate before freezing and allow the hide to drain well before putting the tan on the skin. this will help the tan/oil does not have to compete with excess mositure and helps insure the cape will soak up the tan and oil and stabilize the cells. Hope this makes sense.

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