Tanning PH

Submitted by Damon on 4/23/99. ( GEngel039 )

I have seen several messages concerning the pickle bath PH. Usually the ph is recommended to be in the 1.5 to 2 range. I was wondering if it will hurt the hide if the ph raises to 3 or 3.5 for a day or two, if the hide is being kept in the bath for an extended period due to time constraints. This has happened to me a couple times, and I don't know how this will affect the final product. Thank you to all for your help!

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Bigger Pickle?

This response submitted by Keith Daniels on 4/23/99. ( arlcape@bright.net )

Damon, a couple of things. First, if your pickle goes from 2 to 3.5 in a couple of days you either have too many skins for the volume of pickle, or you need to use an acid that will do a better job. Frankly, an acid that loses that much strength in that short of a time should not be used at all. The 3 to 3.5 for a short time won't hurt as long as you use a bacteriacide. I maintain pickles in the 2.5 range, the only time they're below 2 is on a brand new solution. Keith


The other side.

This response submitted by Bill J. on 4/23/99. ( WJTAXIDERM@aol.com )

Keith, regarding Damon's question. Can the PH be taken too
low or the solution to acidic? If so can this damage the
skin?


The other side of the PH

This response submitted by Bill J. on 4/23/99. ( WJTAXIDERM@aol.com )

Keith, regarding Damon's question. Can the PH be made too
low or too acidic? If so, will this damage the skin. I
use the WASCO, acid bath crystals and over about a 12 hour
period the PH rises, so I add more to bring the PH down to
about 2.0. Then after a day or two it seems to stabilize.


The other side of the PH

This response submitted by Bill J. on 4/23/99. ( WJTAXIDERM@aol.com )

Keith, regarding Damon's question. Can the PH be made too
low or too acidic? If so, will this damage the skin. I
use the WASCO, acid bath crystals and over about a 12 hour
period the PH rises, so I add more to bring the PH down to
about 2.0. Then after a day or two it seems to stabilize.


Sorry, my repeater was stuck!

This response submitted by Bill J. on 4/23/99. ( )

Sorry, my repeater was stuck!


Pickle used is...

This response submitted by Damon on 4/23/99. ( GEngel039 )

Hi, Kieth! The pickle bath I am using is from Van Dykes Large Mammal tanning kit. I am using the acid crystals supplied with the kit, and I only have a large mule deer hide and a fox hide in a plastic 33 gal trash can. The bath is mixed per the instructions.
Could cold weather "drain" the PH (I am doing this in the workshop in the garage--no heat)?
How is the citric acid stuff I see advertised in various catalogs? Does that do a good job? Thanks, Damon
Also, the flip side question is interesting, if anyone has an answer....


Re-Adjust the Ph!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 4/23/99. ( rittel@ici.net )

Most acids will usually work at the recommended dosages, however, if you use too little, and you are processing thick skins, their absorbancy of the acid can change the ph level. This is especially true of Citric Acid, as the thicker skins absorb the acid, and the ph rises. Other acids also react this way, but to a lesser degree. Keep in mind that the more acid absorbed in the skin, the less in solution, hence a higher solution ph reading. But - getting back to your question about a rising ph level. I usually take a reading before I place the skins in a pickle, then after the skins are in an hour, and then the next day. If the ph rises, something must be influencing it. It can even be residual soap left over from washing, and not rinsed out completely. Or maybe the soap is very persistent, and can't be easily rinsed out. As far as the ph being high for 1-2 days - it may loosen the hair, in other words, the weak pickle wont firm the skin well. Readjust the ph and hope it firms up.


Stable P H

This response submitted by Keith Daniels on 4/24/99. ( )

Like Bruce said, there are quite a few things that can affect your P H.
Bill, you're doing right by checking and then adding more, that's the same thing you'll have to do Damon, if you want to stay with the crystals you're using. The pickle will seem to stabilize in a couple of days because the skins are pretty well pickled by then, so the acid isn't being "consumed" any more. The directions with your product should hopefully be accurate, but you might need to do some experimenting as far as pickle volume to skin weight, and see if that will help out. By making larger vats of pickle, you will also lessen the outside influence of things such as the soap residue like Bruce mentioned. You can totally eliminate that particular problem, and I know many who home tan have it, by using a soap or re-hydrater that is acidic or close to neutral, instead of off the shelf laundry detergent, or the all time favorite Dawn dish soap. I just walked out and checked the P H on a re-hydration I will pull as soon as I get done typing this, and it's about 6.4. This has what you could get from Knobloch's as Relax-R I believe, and when using Bruce's U S 609, I have a P H of just a little over 9, (my water starts at 8.4) and after spinning good there seems to be no ill effect on the pickle. As for too low of a P H, it's hard to say. I use Formic, and have been told not to go real low or you'll burn the hair tips on things like Antelope, so I don't do it! I'm told that the other acids such as safty acid and citric won't cause this burn like formic, but I have no experience to draw from, but I do know that you don't need that low of a P H to pickle properly. I don't use citric, because of exactly what Bruce said, it gets weak and you need to add to it. If you are going to make a new pickle for each batch you'd probably be O K with it. The last thing you can do to help maintain P H, keep your vat covered, as the acid will evaporate, but it's not a real fast thing, definately not over night. Keith


Thanks Again!

This response submitted by Bill J. on 4/24/99. ( WJTAXIDERM@aol.com )

Thanks again for your help, it's greatly appreciated.


Thank You!

This response submitted by Damon on 4/24/99. ( GEngel039 )

Thank you, gentlemen! I try not to ask too many questions, instead finding them in previous posts, or books, but every once in a while.... Well, Thanks again for the "mini course" in tanning!


Saftee Acid works Great !!!!

This response submitted by Marc on 4/27/99. ( Marcs35@aol.com )

Damon I used Rittels Saftee Acid and it work great !!! It maintained a constant ph and didnt fluctuate. I deliberatly left some capes in the pickle for a week and a half to see if the ph would rise out of the acceptable range and it didnt.That was my first time using saftee acid but i can assure you it wont be my last. Great product Bruce !!!


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