Still ANOTHER tanning method!

Submitted by Jerry S on 1/11/1999. ( )

Hi Gang! I don't think this question has been covered (if so, Bill, please be gentle!) but I have mounted up a few capes that were done by a small tannery in Kerrville, Texas. They were easy to work with, had a lot of stretch, and even smelled good! I found out today that all they did with the salted cape was to 1) soak in a formic pickle, 2) shave, 3) soak back in the pickle, 4) shave, neutralize, and oil. There was no "tanning step" involved. That goes against everything I've been told about proper tanning. My question is - and I hope the tanners on the forum will help out - I know that a "wet tan" is OK for mounting because it just eliminates the final steps of breaking and drying the hide (it's gonna be glued to a form so it doesn't have to be soft) but for taxidermy purposes, does a cape need to go through a "tanning" stage (i.e. Lutan-F) after the pickle and before the oiling? What can I expect in the distant future from the mounts that I've already done where the capes were prepared this way? It this a legitimate method of tanning for a hide that is to be mounted? Thanks! Jerry S.

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Nothing New

This response submitted by John Mellis on 1/12/1999. ( )

The method you described is exactly the method that alot of taxidermists use in their shop right now. In fact this is the method that
many use for their competition mounts including World Champions.
The so called pickle stage is the tan not the oiling stage. there are many variations on this system such as formic acid,citric acid,vinegar,
saftee-acid,etc.. Now i know you are going to get some more in depth answers on this but I wanted to get your understanding going in the right direction. Ok guys,hit it!


This response submitted by Keith Daniels on 1/12/1999. ( )

Well, I suppose it's better than powder?? Bruce, you want to take this one? I gotta go start shaving a life size Bison, and I think I'd get it done quicker than answering this. Keith

I get it!

This response submitted by Bill on 1/12/1999. ( )

Jerry lost his mind(now that was gentle, right buddy?) and tanning is pickling and pickling is tanning, right? Pretty soon we can figure out how to just get a guy to drop off his head, pay us, and we get to skip ALL of the steps! Jerry, you and me are buds, but I think you may have skipped something in the translation. I wouldnt call that cape tanned, just cured...

Pickling and Tanning are NOT Interchangeable!

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 1/12/1999. ( )

Hey Guys,

Pickling and tanning are not interchangeable as they relate to the final product. The pickling step - the "acidifying" step if you will - is the step required to "plump" the skin and prepare it for thinning, as well as the initial curing step.

That's why many times after thinning, the hide is returned to the pickle - for further penetration of the "cure" or pickle.

Now, even a pickled hide that has been oiled is still not a fully "tanned" hide.

The natural proteins that are reduced by the acidity of the pickle, must be replaced in the makeup of the skin by the minerals, metals, or synthetic properties of the tanning solution - depending on the tan used of course.

The oiling, whether added into the tanning bath, or later before the drying stage, fill and reinforce the fibers of the skin. The oil cannot however, keep a pickled hide from eventually shrinking, sometimes severely.

Not only that, but once the acid of the pickle has been neutralized, you essentially now have a nearly "raw" skin, with nothing but oil applied to it! That is not a tanned skin.

The final tanning - the turning of the raw skin into a useable leatherized hide - is the necessary step to the longevity of a mount; and it doesn't matter if the tan is a "wet" or soft (dry) tan.

Pickling is pickling, and tanning is tanning, and one is not a substitute for the other. They are used in concert with each other as parts of the whole process.

Hope this sheds some more light on the subject. Respectfully... John B.

Glad you felt like typing!

This response submitted by man of integrity on 1/12/1999. ( )

Thanks John, thats what I wanted to say, but was just to lazy or worn out to write it all. When it comes to these fundamentals there's just no short cuts to do the job right! Well wrote and explained!

No Tanning - No Preserving either!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 1/13/1999. ( )

Unfortunately, after pickling, you usually neutralize the acids used to pickle the cape, to make it more compatible to the oil you use. Most oils work best at a ph of 4-7 best. Hopefully you neutralize ALL of it. So the acid basically isnt anything - ITS GONE! The Tan afterwards is what stabilizes it chemically, but in this case - nothing does. The Oil simply adds lubrication. So whats left? - a raw oiled skin!

Otay, Panky!!!

This response submitted by Jerry S on 1/13/1999. ( )

Hey Guys! FINALLY! I thought I was right and it was confirmed! What you all are saying is exactly what I believed. I guess I just needed to hear it from somebody else (an expert!!) to "make sure". And Bill, thanks for being gentle, Buddy! xoxoxoxo Jerry!

To John Bellucci

This response submitted by Faye J. on 1/13/1999. ( )

Could you get back to me. Faye

Tanning Tanning Tanning

This response submitted by John Mellis on 1/17/1999. ( )

"Ya see why I sluffed off on all the writing.Thanks guys for helping out.Sometimes I can't figure a way to give a short answer and don't have time for the long end.Thanks again

Found out what the oil is . . .

This response submitted by Jerry S on 1/19/1999. ( )

After posting the original to this thread, I found out that the oil they use is called "swabbing # 110". Does this ring a bell with anybody? Or does it make a difference in what this finished product is?


This response submitted by q on 2/17/1999. ( )


what can I do with the skin, feathers etc of an osterich aft

This response submitted by Robert Fry on 4/4/99. ( )

I will be collecting an osterich next month after slaughering, for my restaurant.

Is there anything I can do with the parts that I can't sell for the table.

I live near London, England, U.K.

I can also get non fertile eggs.

Any help would be much appreciated. Not too technical as I,m a chef/Butcher.


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