Why freeze after tanned

Submitted by Chuck M. on 8/9/99. ( dambigbuck@yahoo.com )

I haven't seen this posted before, and I have to ask.

Why do people freeze their capes after being tanned? It seems to me if the hide is properly tanned it should not have to see the freezer again, right? Just rehydrate before mounting.

Could someone please clarify this for me?

Thank you,

Chuck M.

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This response submitted by Chuck M. on 8/9/99. ( dambigbuck@yahoo.com )

(Sorry, thought I was stuck so hit the submit button a 2nd time.)

Also, I realize it may be a while before it is mounted, but it still should be able to sit on the shelf, right?

Chuck M.

Shouldnt be a problem!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 8/9/99. ( rittel@ici.net )

Unless your shop is SUPER humid and EXTREMELY dirty - it shouldnt be a problem to keep it dry and hang it somewhere in the shop until you're ready to rehydrate it, prep, and mount it. I do it that way - and I've never had a problem! However - if your Tanner finishes his skins with an extremely high salt content and you have high humidity - you could see some weeping on the skins. I could never understand myself why so many guys want to freeze everything. It seems unnecessary - and crowds out space for Deermeat!!!

Thank you!

This response submitted by Chuck M. on 8/9/99. ( dambigbuck@yahoo.com )

Thank you Mr. Rittel, that's exactly what I was looking for!

Chuck M.

Frozen Tans

This response submitted by Rick Carter on 8/9/99. ( WASCO )

The freezer is a good idea if it is going to be a long time before you mount a specimen. Many fur coat storage facilities freeze ladies coats for protection against deterioring and moths. If you store them otherwise you need to check them occaisionaly.

Alum is Different!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 8/10/99. ( rittel@ici.net )

Rick is right - concerning fur coats, which are Alum tanned. Alum tanned skins contain sulphates which draw atmospheric moisture and produce Sulphuric acid. This Sulphuric acid is what eventually weakens and ruins the skins. If you check out an old Alum tanned fur coat - notice that the seams have begun to weaken and are tearing apart, or the skins can be torn easily like tissue paper. By storing Fur coats in a cold and DRY storage area, you tend to reduce the rate at which they eventually self-destruct. EZ-100 and Lutan F(N) skins do not have this problem, since they do not contain free sulphates. They have an indefinate shelf-life.

Weeping ???

This response submitted by S. Wilson on 8/11/99. ( )

What do you mean by "weeping on the skins"? I haven't heard this term yet.


This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 8/11/99. ( rittel@ici.net )

"Weeping" is when the skin's Salt content draws moisture from the air or its humid surroundings and it reaches a point of actually dripping from the skin. It happens with skins that have excessive salt in them. Its usually very apparant on hot humid days. The fur usually also feels damp or moist too!

Glad You Brought Up The Aum-Tanned Stuff Rick and Bruce ...

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 8/13/99. ( ArtistExpr@aol.com )

Whew! Dodged the bullet there Bruce! :)

Seriously, many tanneries out there still tan with either aluminum sulphate, or alum as their main ingredient. This severely limits the shelf-life of a tanned hide. Many taxidermists also have much more then just one freezer on their premises, so keeping tanned skins in "cold storage" is really not a problem.

This is especially a good practice if you are in the habit of buying tanned skins for whatever reason(s), as I do, and are uncertain about the tanning history behind the hide purchased! Better safe than sorry aptly applies here!

I was able to keep my tanned lion skin in a dry, frozen state for nine years before I got around to mounting him up. He mounted up as perfectly as if it were fresh out of the box! Even kept the nice "tannery smell" ... ahhhh, lovely! :)

This skin was tanned by New Method back in 1985. I don't know if it is still their practice, but then they were tanning with either alum or aluminum sulphate ... not sure which. Anyway, after spending two-grand on this skin, I wasn't about to take any chances! Again ... "Better safe than sorry" was the motto for me!

Best of luck to you ... John B.

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