Submitted by scott on 5/19/99. ( SBU7172907@AOL.COM )
I RECENTLY SENT SOME SKINS TO A WELL KNOWN TANNERY HERE IN TEXAS. THESE WERE SENT AS A RUSH ORDER.I SOAKED UP A SKIN OVERNIGHT AND WAS DISUSTED TO FIND THE INSIDE OF THIS CAPE TO BE IN A SEMICLEAR JELLY STATE. THE SKIN AT THE BASE OF THE Y INCISION WOULD TEAR LIKE WET CARDBOARD.I TRIED TO STRETCH THE SKIN AND A AREA THE SIZE OF A COKE CAN SLIP OUT. WHAT THE HELL?I AM NOW GUN SHY TO SAY THE LEAST.CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHAT HAPPEND?
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This response submitted by Keith Daniels on 5/19/99. ( email@example.com )
It's really tough to make any kind of a judgment without knowing the complete history of the skins. Did you have multiple skins in this batch? Did they all have the exact same problems? Were they all cared for in the same timely manner by the hunters and yourself? What is the clear jelly like state, can you expand on this? Does the spot that tears easily also seam to be slick, smooth and rubbery?
Let us know, and we'll see if we can figure something out. Keith
This response submitted by frank on 5/20/99. ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
This may be the answer you're looking for. I found this in Breakthough Mammal Taxidermy book.
Your problem might be Acid rot. This is caused by sulfate iron is introduced into a skin when pickling with sulfuric acid, or tanning with alum.
Chemically what happens is this: The sulfate ironis extremely hydrophilic(attracts moisture) because it has a valence of 2, meaning each sulfate atom will attract and attach 2 hydrogen atoms. So one sulfate atom attaches 2 hydrogen atoms producing H2SO4 which is sulfuric acid. The more humid the weather, the faster the faster the sulfuric acid builds in the skin, until it is weakened or eaten by the acid.
In extreme cases, the acid builds up to the extent that rapid aacid swelling occurs when the skin is placed in water. When this happenes. hydrogen atoms are forced into the skin by the osmotic pressure which builds to as much as 6000 psi. The skin fibers are exploded, torn apart and the skin acutually disintegrates.
If a skin is freshly tanned and disintegrates or swells and gets rubbery when it's soaked for mounting, the sulfuric acid pickle was not properly neutralized before tanning. I hope this is what you are looking for.
This response submitted by Keith Daniels on 5/21/99. ( )
Unless something is terribly wrong in the pickling process acid rot will not happen near that fast. They could have been burned by acid if it was added to the vat with skins still in it, but there are many possibilities as to what could have happened, and a proper judgement may not be possible, even if you do get all the answers to the questions I posed above.
This response submitted by steve@bear paw fur dressing on 5/23/99. ( email@example.com )
what this sounds like is "acid swell" to prevent this, mix up 1 lbs salt per gal of water with some fungaside (consitrated lysol will work), then rehydrate 30-45 min let drain and bag in refer. overnite. it sounds as if your skins were not neutralized completely.
ps i'm a taxidermist/tanner (not a speller)
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