a question for the tanners at large

Submitted by Bill on 10/29/1998. ( yoxtax@aol.com )

heres a question for you tanneries on-line. I have a group that puts a drying compound on their bears after the initial salting to really dry out the hides for the trip home. I'm not sure what product just a dry chemical similar to what some put on floors. What do you think of them, do you see it often, does it effect the process in a negative way? Keith, you and your un-named buddy in the industry don't always agree, can I get two opinions or maybe you guys will agree on this. Let's hear! Bruce, hands on, furdresser,etc...

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Drying compound

This response submitted by Keith daniels on 10/30/1998. ( arlcape@bright.net )

I wouldn't have any idea what they would be using, and frankly, don't know why. Is it cheaper or less bulky than salt? I have had people dry skins with powder preserve instead of salt and they come out okay, but they don't rehydrate as easy. One thing I will say is if you are going to send a skin to a tannery, at least to me, do NOT tumble the skin in saw dust or grit first. For us to shave skins the way we want we need to keep the knife razor sharp, and grit and dust will ruin the edge in a heart beat. Do you know what they use? Keith

Drying What???

This response submitted by The Fur Dresser on 10/30/1998. ( )

I'm with Keith, don't know what they are using. Hopefully it will not have any effect, I'm always surprised some skins turn out as well as they do considering how they look when we receive them. Pulling the moisture out of a skin is a plus, since the bacteria that causes hair folicle damage lives in a moist enviorment, but that is best for us done with plain salt. To add what Keith said about clean skins, that goes for salt also. Evaporated pure salt is the best for us. Some mixing salts contain a percentage of quartz rocks and other minerals that make our lives harder when it comes to shaving.The Fur Dresser

Is it a secret sort of thing?

This response submitted by Bruce rittel on 10/30/1998. ( rittel@ici.net )

Too bad these guys aren't more specific. After all, whatever it might be, it could cause problems Ph-wise too! Is it some kind of Desicant, that's used for keeping products dry? In Alaska, we had recieved some skins from a remote village that looked like they were handled real well. They actually looked salt dried for a change, they were hard, and creamy white. They relaxed well, and when we put them in the pickle, we didn't expect any problems - But, the next day the Ph jumped from 1.8 to 3.8. Obvuiously we readjusted it, but the next day it did the same thing. I kept trying to reach them, and when I finally did, I was told that someone had told them to rub in Borax, and then air dry them. Wow, does that stuff play hell with your Ph!!! No harm to the skin, but if you don't know about it - Surprise! They stopped using it, and things returned to normal. In Alaska, Salt is VERY expensive, especially to salt down skins. They almost always air dry them for that reason. Unfortunately for me that village however, had some Borax on hand and decided to have a go with it. I know the village I was in - I kept asking the local Reindeer herd owner why he didn't cape and skin out his hides, and then salt them. He point blank said its too expensive to fly it in! I found out very soon exactly what he was talking about - he was absolutely right.

to clarify

This response submitted by Bill on 10/30/1998. ( )

These guys were salting first and then putting on a compound, maybe 'speed dry' or something like that. You know how bears feel kinda rubbery after a day or two salt drying and if it gets damp out the hide seems to soften? Well with this stuff after a few days the hides were dryer then the ones just salted only. It seemed to dry the grease or oil that remained with the hide having been beamed. After beaming the compound was no longer attached to the skin to knick the fleshing blades I guess. It just seemed to dry them fast for transport, maybe it's not a good idea overall. Bruce, I think the outfitter in Quebec is the one that had it, similar to your AK experience. Thanks guys.

Speedi-Dry or Kitty Litter?

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 10/30/1998. ( rittel@ici.net )

Considering how some bears come out of the "bush", maybe it isnt so bad after all. As long as its some type of material which doesnt chemically react like the Borax I mentioned. I'm assuming they tanned well, am I right? At least they salted first, then put on the material. It may be a good idea. After all, it seems to have set the fur, and as you say - it all comes off during beaming.

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