Submitted by Glen on 3/18/99. ( )

Ok in really getting confused some say a comm. tan is the best way to go then some say a home tan is just as good.
Ok which is better and why? which last longer and why?
Sorri if i started anything here but i need to no if that is possible thanks Glen

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This response submitted by Frank on 3/18/99. ( )

Good question, but to answer it you need to ask yourself this. Is it going to be a rug or going on a manikin. For me I don't have all the proper equipment to do quality rug work. So all my rugs are send outs. But if I'm mounting them on a manikin I do my own home tanning. Its cheaper and I'm in total control of the tanning process. I use saftee acid for the pickle ( works great Bruce ) then I tan it using any tan you may like. And also do you have the time to tan your own hides? So only you can make that choice. Good luck I hope it helps.


This response submitted by MARK on 3/18/99. ( )

Frank is right, I could'nt of said it better myself.
You can do your own flat skins your self but you will
need to have a few different procedures if its worth your
time. As for the ones to put on your manikins that way
you can control your own destiny.

Sometimes its a matter of time!!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 3/19/99. ( )

Sometimes its all a matter of budgeting your time. The majority of Taxidermists start out working full-time jobs and doing Taxidermy part-time. Sometimes for the sake of having at least some quality time with our families, it may be best to use a Tannery - especially as Frank had said for Rugs, and flat work. It saves you having to make the investment in buying extra equipment. Once you become full-time, then doing your own tanning should definitly be a consideration. You're going to encounter a lot of mixed opinions on this question. There are a lot of very good Tanneries out there you can use, but some Taxidermists prefer to control their own tanning. Especially for strictly Taxidermy mountings. I would guess it boils down to a personal decision based on your particular circumstances.

Bruce "Timed" it right

This response submitted by Mick on 3/19/99. ( )

I think Bruce hit the nail on the head, How much is your time worth to you? In my shop, we send out 95% of our tanning simply to save time. Ten years ago, most of my tanning was done in shop, but volumn was less then. The way I see it now is that I could spend 3 months after the deer season was over tanning my own capes, or pay someone else to do them and have time to catch up on birds,fish and other odds and ends. If you're just starting out you may wish to handle your own tanning, if for nothing other than developing a sound understanding of tanning principals. As your volumn increases you'll come to the realization that having that extra time, is worth paying for in most cases. If you're really concerned about the additional expense of commercial tanneries, simple solution...raise your prices. The tannery bills don't come out of my wallet, my customers pay the bill.

Another opinion

This response submitted by Rob on 3/19/99. ( )

I believe both the home tans and commercial tans are fine.I prefer the commercial tan the best.Why? As stated in some other posts time is money and the commercial tanneries free up your time to put other mounts together while waiting.I have found the commercial tans are easier to work with all the way around(bondo sticks better,glues hold better,less shrinkage when drying,and an overall softer finished appearance)creating a better mount.I believe all beginners would have much better luck with commercial skins because of the above reasons plus most beginners do not have the knowledge or equipment(shaving machines)to get the skins prepped right for the home tans.Remember a well prepared hide is the starting basis for any quality mount.The comercial skins would also allow the beginner to see what their hides should resemble(minus softness) if they want to begin tanning their own.A competent tannery must be used though,as with anything there is good and bad.
I do not hesitate to home tan animals that are brought in late so I would not be shipping only a couple hides to the tannery.I have the best luck by allowing the paint on type tans to dry completely as a commercial skin does.By allowing it to dry completely I believe it sets the hair much better and the skin goes through what I call the initial shrinkage.Once rehydrated and stretched back to original proportions the skins do not seem to shrink as much while drying on the mannikin and there is no residual oil left on the skin to halter any adhesives.When treated in this manner the home tans are close to being like a commercial tans.My in house skins are shaved on a rotary shaving machine to get thinness though which is a step most beginners won't be able to do thus hampering the end results.
As far as which will last longer I have some unclaimed mounts in the upstairs of a non climate controlled building.The temperatures vary with the weather from probably 0 degrees to 125 in the summer.Some of the mounts have been there for years and I see no dramatic changes in either tanning methods.

How about this

This response submitted by Travis on 3/19/99. ( )

For begginers like myself I believe that a person should start at the bottom and work their way up....Learn the basics on my own pelts...Attempt every stage of the mounting processes. My reasoning behind this is that a person should know every step that`s involved in the fleshing,tanning,mounting of skin so that they`d have a better understanding of whats going on. This is just my way of looking at this. I know tanneries are very reliable in most cases from what i read, but I also believe a begginer needs to get his hands dirty. The old timers didn`t have near the supplies we have available to us today and there are still plenty of mounts out there that still look great. Just my 2 cents...I`m a little old fashion I guess

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