First offlet me say it looks like I'm the only tanner too stupid to keep his I. D. secret. Yes Lutan was run down in favor of E Z 100, check some of Bruce's replies, the one where he says he quit handling it.
Here's some of my experiece with Lutan. It produces a full, soft leather (not tinny) with good hair setting qualities, no distortion, very little memory and a respectable shelf life. By the way shelf life is indefinate if it's in the freezer.
What about shrinkage? Examples are best here. Carol recently mounted a bear that had carcass measurements taken. She was worried that she should have made the form a little bigger as she was trying to work out the belly wrinkles. A check of the carcass numbers showed that we had the same neck, same girth and nose to base was 4 inches longer than when it was alive.
Last fall I tanned a big black for Dick Finney in Pa. We measured the bear wet at 86" and I had to work to make it that small, I really try to give as close a measurement as possible. It still bothered me, so I called Dick up and and asked if he skinned the bear, it was dorsal cut which does make measuring tough, and he had skinned it. no, it wasn't 86", it was 90"! When he mounted it on a form the size of the carcass his comment was fit like a glove.
Two falls ago Craig Ciola shows up with a big black, ended up being the #2 Pa. archery kill. He skinned the bear himself, but before doing so he found an old O T T R newsletter that John B. had put an article in with a diagram with all kinds of measurements for a life size mammal. After making the form fit all these numbers, you guessed it, fit like a glove. So much for shrinkage and memory.
Oh yeah, if you want some more "name" people to ask about it, call Buckeye Mannikins and ask for Cary, Brad, or Hilton.
Shelf life and bonding? Carol mounted a wolf that had been dry tanned for well over a year, yes it was getting a little tougher to work with, I would never tell anyone to wait that long to mount a dry skin. This had been intended to be sold to buckskinners, but she decided to do it for a county fair display. Did it turn out? Well, I'm told there is a picture of it in the Breakthrough that is just coming out, you look at it and tell me. The tan bonding is something I can only say from our experience in her shop it does bond well, more than good enough that you are not going to wash it out by a quick wash in warm soapy water, although there should be no need to do so.
Would I suggest Lutan for a taxidermist? Not unless you are doing a high volume of skins. Personnally I think the extra steps needed for an emersion tan are not needed to accomplish what you are after for a mount, and won't pay for in shop tanning, this goes for all emersions, not just Lutan. Stick with one of the cream or liquid tans for your in shop work.
Have I ever heard anything bad about E Z 100? You bet. Have I used it? Nope, talked to and heard from others who have and their reports were enough to convinme to stick with what has been giving me excellent results, again, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
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As I stated earlier, lutan has an excellent reputation as THE tan for many top of the line artists. If Bruce chose to compare his tan to lutan, it 1) recognizes lutan as the standard, and 2) only means that he feels(opinion,forum,etc) that his method is superior. For what its worth, one of your "names" tanned an elk using this process and got a rubber cape. I only mention this to point out that even the pros using top of the line products and methods are at the mercy of the hide sometimes. While I'm writing this I got a piece of hide from John Creager from Kansas. We were kidding about the auto tanners. Although no one felt I was putting them down(correctly) I was interested in seeing some results from one. It looks and feels great, I'd be interested in knowing what tan was used. Lutan or ez-100, like Keith says, if its not broke,etc. I just don't think Bruce 'slams' the other tans, he just says it the way he feels, and thats fine with me and I feel you guys at the tanneries are free to defend what you prefer(although I don't think the need is there, lutan is fine). Redundant!!! Oh, and keith, glad you DO put your ID in, how about your business? I'm just curious, I'll e-mail you soon...Bill
What Bill said about a rubber cape brings up a couple of of points, first is you don't have to be a tanner to be an excellent taxidermist. These are two things that are closely related, but are also completely different, figure that one out. The other thing it shows is any product, no matter how good it is, is worthless if you don't use it properly.
Keith, as long as we're on the subject, what causes the rubbery cape? We know it's NOT the product, but I've seen it a couple of times before, even with a batch of comm. tanned capes. No, you guys, I "can't remember the name". Do you know and would you explain? Thanks.
The "rubbery" cape could be caused from a number of things, and I'm going to guess it was more of a stiff cape with no stretch, giving it a thick, rubbery feel. My uneducated guess would be the problem was during the "neutralizing" of the tanned skin. There are two things you have to watch out for as you raise your P H. First don't raise it too fast, use small feeds of baking soda at interevals throughout the day. The lenght of time between feeds, and amount at each feed will depend on what tan you use, size of tan etc. We all have different methods of doing this in our business, I don't do it like Fur Dresser, and he doesn't do it like the next guy down the road, but it works for us in our shops. The next thing is to watch how high you take the P H. Again, each tan has it's own properties. If you take the P H too high, your skin will suddenly start to get stiff on you, this is why if you tan in shop with emersions, you really need to have a good P H meter. Well that's my guess. How about that, I answered one. One more thing, from my redneck dictionary. Expert- noun (pronounced EX spurt) EX, a has been, is no longer, SPURT, a small squirt of water. How about that one Bill, does that fit us or what? Keith
Keith, I like that about an EXPERT. An old friend once gave me another definition: EX (X) is an unknown factor SPURT is a crip under pressure So an expert is nothing more than an unknow drip under pressure. I think either one fits!!Have a good one Keith . Bob C.
Ken, it happened again. I sent a reply to this posting and it hasn't shown up yet. Last time it showed after I made another post, like this one. Am I doing something wrong? Is it maybe my computer? I put this here in case others have had the same problem. Keith
I see it showed up, still don't know why?
Keith, as per our phone conv. and your above posting, yeah, I'd say drip would pretty much sum me up from time to time. Expert is used too freely sometimes, and I guess we don't need to refer to you as one as we watch your computer prowess!!! What was wrong with your posting, looked ok to me. Oh and about the capes, both guys had really rubbery skin, the one guy was at a hands on seminar and when he'd set it down, it would literally wiggle to a stop. I have witnesses! ...oh well, it was kinda funny but I felt bad for the guy.
When you posted your response, it DID show up (at least to everyone else). The reason it didn't show up to YOU was that your computer didn't actually download the page from the internet when you revisited. Instead, your computer pulled the contents of the page out of your hard disk cache, which is a section of your hard disk set aside to hold recently visited web pages and graphics. On most computers, all forum messages are NOT pulled from the cache due to a command embedded in the code of the page, so this isn't a problem. But apparently, your computer doesn't recognize this command the first time it sees it, which would account for the fact that the second time you revisit the page, your response appears on your screen. My suggestion would be to revisit the page twice after submitting a response and see if that doesn't make it show up, or hit the "Reload" or "Refresh" button on your browser toolbar. Hope this helps. Let me know if the problem continues.
It's a really neat feeling to see the "grand poobahs" of the industry talk about a problem that you've already learned the solution to. At least, I hope I'm not sounding really cocky here and actually DON'T have the answer (that would REALLY be embarassing!). Anyway, I've noticed an occasional rubbery cape where you can stretch it out and it immediately goes back - like a rubber band. I read a very small "filler" article in the national taxidermy newspaper (can't remember what it's called) that said to soak the rubbery cape in salt water for about 5 minutes to remove the rubbery tendency. I've use this on 5-6 capes since and it worked every time. As you put the cape in the salt water and move it with your hands, you can feel the consistency change. Try it! OK, now it's somebody else's turn to strut! Jerry
Hi Jerry, this cape sat there like a latex mold. It was like a totally rubberized skin. The edges curled up and if you hit it, it would jiggle like jello. I don't know if salt was helping THAT one! As for the poobahs, theres only one poobah and it sure ain't me! Grand or otherwise. You know, it would be funny if the guy who had the cape or somebody from the show would pop in, I'm not 'zagerating. Anyway, this is getting old. Hopefully it doesnt happen enough to matter much. See ya Jerry.
The only thing I have ever seen that would make a skin that rubbery is if it was cooked, literally. I have seen skins that were dried close to high heat, and the exposed areas were cooked to the point they would soak up but absolutely wouldn't tan. That section of the skin would be slick when finished, instead of the suede look, and if you stretched it, and it didn't tear, it would literally bounce back. I didn't say any thing about this the first time since it's hard to imagine the whole cape being that way. The other possibility is the microwave. I have seen many raw furs that people wanted to thaw quick to sell, so they nucked them. Guess what, microwave doesn't thaw, it only cooks, but it's real hard to imagine nucking an elk cape? Keith
I know I've mentioned this elsewhere, but after rehydrating a long-salted impala cape (approx. 13 years), it came out of the rehydrating solution in a "rubbery" condition. Almost Jello-like in the jiggle of the up-curling ends. It was not the rehydration bath that did it - water, small amount of salt, and directed amount of Ultra-Soft. This solution always works well, as it did here. The cape was kept for years however, in un-controlled conditions - getting hot in summer and cold in winter. I think the - hot in summer - had more to do with this condition. The rubberiness didn't disappear until I shaved the skin thin on my rotary-knife. My thought is this... could it be possible for a cape in this pre-shaved rubbery condition, to be put into a pickle solution, or mistakenly go directly into a tanning bath, and go through the process, only to come out in this same rubbery condition - even AFTER shaving, but only if shaving occured post-pickling or tanning. Also, could it be possible to cause this rubbery condition by placing the salted and dried cape directly into the pickle solution, without first using a rehydrating bath? Either accidentally, though I don't know how that one would occur; or by deliberate practice in order to impress, by creating a shorter turnaround time? There has to be a reason as to the cause of this dilemma! Always searching for answers... John B.
The elk was the rubbery one but the real bad one was a deer cape. I wonder if it was "helped along" in the micro wave? That would explain alot, and prove our point about not blaming a product like lutan.