Sodium Sulfate?/ Ben Mears Spray Tan

Submitted by Clayton on 9/9/1998. ( )

I need to know what sodium sulfate is and where I can purchase it. (not through a supplier please) I am fixing to try Ben Mears Spray Tan for the first time. Has anyone got any information on this method? Thanks, Clayton

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What It Is ... What It's Not!

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 9/10/1998. ( )

Clayton, According to my Van Dyke's (a supplier!) cataloge, Sodium Sulphate is listed as: "Ideal wash to soften hides, help prevent the puckering and breaks down the oil in the last oiling step. Bleaching agent, aids in whitening white fur and hair. Good for pre-soak to remove stains such as urine, etc. Many tanneries prefer it to common salt for curing hides. Instructions included." That last item - instructions included - is an important one, especially if you don't even know what the product in question is; you surely don't know how to use it. Many items we use such as plaster, Bondo, resins, salt, and the like, are easiest secured locally. When it comes to chemicals outside the "norm", there is NOTHING wrong with purchasing through a supplier! So chuck the attitude!! As to your second question - I do not believe in pour-on, rub-on, or spray-on "tans". I don't give a rat's-butt what the folks who market this stuff say - you will not THOROUGHLY tan a skin by applying some "magic-potion" to the skins' surface. These only affect the very surface layer of the skin they are applied to, possibly even the next or partially the next layer of skin. Thorough tanning will only, ONLY occur through immersing the hide in a tanning SOLUTION, where the hide is allowed to completely absorb the tanning agent. And this is only possible following proper and complete preparation of the skin, through first multiple "saltings" followed by pickling and shaving of the skin thickness - thus preparing the skin for the tanning SOLUTION. Yes I am adament about the COMPLETE tanning process, because unlike many of you out there, I began my long career by working in a tannery from the ground-up, literally. I swept the floors, changed the sawdust in the tumblers, oiled the hides, all the "grunt-work". I was later trained in the use of the rotary knife (the "shaving" machine) by the great Mr. Sinclar Clark - a legend in the world of tanning and tanneries. It was here, under his tutelage (training) that i came to understand and appreciate the importance of tanning or "leatherizing" an animals' hide or skin. Once you relize the amount of manual labor involved in the tanning process, you will understand just how inexpensive it really is to have you skins tanned by those who do this exclusively. Tanning your own stuff is not really a money saver when you add up the hours spent on the process as opposed to the time taken away from actually mounting the specimen - the creative process. I hope you and others out there give this response some serious thought and consideration. Remember, sales gimmicks are not the answer to long-term, high quality works, that should be around for at least several lifetimes - and still maintain a good look. Good luck to you.


This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 9/10/1998. ( )

I wholeheartedly agree with John's reply. Excellent. Tanning is hard to beat. Its your best guarantee for a skin that will weather both age and abuse by your customer!! But - I think a lot of confusion occurs, because people are basically are unaware that there is also a process called "Tawing". Tanners use it to describe loosely bond chemicals that are sometimes simply impregnated in the skin and are not chemically bond to the fibers. Have you ever seen a Salt dried cape hanging during moist weather? It looks tanned! Its even soft - but the effect can be easily washed out. Several years ago I had a girl in CA tell me that she tans her sheepskins by applying a paste of Kerosene and Baking Soda. They appear tanned - but again, such simply impregnated materials are easily washed out. Sometimes they are dramatically affected by moisture and high humidity. Sodium Sulfate can give the same impression. Its a tawing material, like Salt, simply held in the fibers of the cape or skin and easily washed out. Whatever is sprayed on later, is really unimportant, unless the Sodium Sulphate is removed first! And left in the skin, the Sulphate can draw atmospheric moisture and combine to form Sulphuric acid. Not good! How does the spray-on type of tan hold up as a garment worn next to a person's skin? Or as a bear rug tannage? Or as a washable tannage? Is it really a tan - or perhaps a taw? Talk to a leather tanner, and he'll tell you that Alum tanning isnt really tanning at all. It tawing. That's why they don't use Alum tanned leathers for shoes. Its also why fur garments also require linings. Your prespiration, or any moisture, will leach out the loosely impregnated chemicals. Gee - this may be a good article for Breakthrough Magazine in the future. Anyway, its food for thought!!!!! Gee -I like this topic, maybe its a good article for Breakthrough!

Lighten-up Bellucci

This response submitted by Clayton on 9/10/1998. ( )

The question that I asked was genuine so I expected a geniune answer, not a sarcastic remark from a so-called expert. I thought the forums was started to help the next generation of taxidermists, not for the bigger fish to take out thier frustrations on. Thank you Mr. Rittel for your help, I appreciate it. As for Mr. Bellucci, why dont you pull your pants out of your ass and lighten up. Thank you, Clayton

Genuine - Yes!

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 9/11/1998. ( )

I really did not wish to come off sounding like I was venting any frustration. I am serious about helping anyone starting out, and I am very commited to that end. If I sound harsh it is because I am trying to over-emphasize the importance of the information given, to prevent any newcomer from plunging-in too deeply without being fully armed with knowledge. If you take genuine information as sarcasm, then it is you who does not really care for the information given. As for being a so called expert, well I am ... and like it or not, you are not going to get correct and in-depth information from a fellow beginner. Again, I'm not being sarcastic, I'm telling it like it is. The truth is the truth. You seem to have glossed over and omitted Bruce's response to what I posted. I would rather jar you with the information, than have complacency steer you in the wrong direction. If that causes you to have little emotional fits - tough! Now THAT was sarcasm!!!


This response submitted by John Bellucci on 9/11/1998. ( )

Clayton, just another point here - I know, it reminds me of TV's "Columbo". I write in what can best be described as an "agressive" writing style. It's the way I am, and I make no apologies for it. If you've ever read any of my stuff in Breakthrough Magazine, you would know that. If not, then as a newcomer, you should consider becoming a subscriber - and no I am not the owner or publisher. It is just a very good publication. And as a newcomer, let me welcome you to the industry. I extend my hand in friendship - just watch-out for the "joy-buzzer". That was humorous sarcasm! Good luck!!!

Talk to Bruce

This response submitted by Bob Coughlin on 9/12/1998. ( )

Clayton, Ive been in the Taxidermy industry for an awfull long tme some times I think to long , almost 30 years.I've used almost every tan on the market, including comm. tanneries. If your only mounting for yourself or mounting a few heads every year theres nothing wrong with tanning your own hides. I personaly tan all my own hides , even my competition pieces. One thing I've learned is theres no shortcuts. I'm honored to consider Bruce Rittel a friend of mine. There probably's not a more infomative person in the taxidermy industry concerning tanning. I use Bruce's products all the time and find them to work great.The best part is if you have a question Bruce is more than happy to help you out.If you really want to TAN your own skins talk to Bruce and he'll point you in the right direction. As for John , dont take him the wrong way.The first time I met him I thought "what an #@%*&" but once I got to know him a little better I fond out he just speaks his mind. He dosent sugar coat any thing. Somtimes people take offence to this , but this is just John. He's really a nice guy. Getting back to Bruce you can Email him at You wont be sorry Bob Coughlin

opinion yox

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 9/17/1998. ( )

If you would like to hear more from our one and(thankfully) only John Bellucci do subscribe to Breakthrough Magazine. He is a frequent and, yes, controversial writter. I wouldn't push the spray tan angle personally but I just got back from judging a show and a guy told me he used it. It looked fine to me but then again I didn'thave the next 20 years to hang around to see how well it holds up. That's the thing about new products, they need time to become ligit.

Let Us Settle This Like Gentlemen...Or Else! :)

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 9/18/1998. ( )

Hello There...
Okay, we're all unique. However when they made me they broke the mold...then burned it...then buried it...then executed the guy who made it...then...oh you get it by now! Anyway, I would like to reassure everyone out there that Clayton and I are now on very amicable terms, communicating through the wonders of E-mail (the big brother of the wonders of t.v. land). Just thought I would drop this seemingly needed message in to ease the many concerns of my cohorts...uh freinds and associates. Thanx guys!!


This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 10/8/1998. ( )

This is just for info only - to anyone who's interested. Sodium Sulphate is also called Glauber Salt! I should have mentioned it. Sorry.

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