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why salt???

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by newone, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. newone

    newone New Member

    I am very new to this, and i have to ask. Why do you salt and dryout your hides before tanning? Does it do anything to the hide or is it just to save freezer space?
  2. BWS

    BWS New Member

    the salt pulls out the undesirable proteins in the skin..... the proteins are then replaced by the acid you use to pickle the skins in...much like a sponge

  3. Boxie

    Boxie New Member

    Drying them out also sets the hair! Important.
  4. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Active Member

    How hard does the hide have to get? I usually don't let mine rock hard, but more like cardboard to make it easier to rehydrate. Is this enough or does it have to be rock hard?
  5. Boxie

    Boxie New Member

    The drier the better. One can get away without drying out completely but you could be taking a chance on not setting the hair totally. IMO

  6. So it taste's better ;D
  7. Artie mags

    Artie mags New Member

    Boxie not to throw a wrench in but I was always taught that the salt does not set the hair but rather makes it harder for bacteria to form.The pickle is when we start to win the battle over any bacteria.The salt removes the undesirable fluids that cause the bacteria growth.I agree about really drying them.

    BOBTRAC New Member

    Locks the hair folicals so less chance of hair loss
  9. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I wish Ken could save that scientist doctors post on salting from some years back. I'm STILL not convinced on this drying "bone hard" and I doubt I ever will be. In over 50 years I never have and never had a problem. Some will claim that the tannery keeps them till they DO dry, but I did a Stone Sheep that way and took it to East Coast during their off season some years back. I had the wet tanned hide back in my hands within TWO WEEKS so I know that's bullsh1t. IN MY OPINION, the salt draws out the fluids creating a "vaccuum" that sucks the pickle back into the cells. Whatever the true facts as to what it does are, it's absolutely mandatory in order for a hide to be TANNED properly.
  10. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Perhaps you missed that modifier after the word "tanned"? Flint dried or air dried tans DO tan but they are much more prone to slippage (gotten any of those fantastic air dried African hides lately?) and the rehydration bath always takes much longer with stronger surfactants. Maybe I should have emphasized PROPERLY instead of "tanned".
  11. My hides from Namibia were flint dried and sucked to work with! I had to get replacement capes for 3 out of 6 animals due to 30% or more of the hair floating in my pickle! :mad:
  12. abbytaxi

    abbytaxi New Member

    I'm with George, I do my own tanning and use to work in a tannery. There never seemed to be a difference as far as slippage goes with hard dried skins as opposed to partly dried, we always preffered partly dried, much less time in the rehydration, and imo less time in the rehydration less chance of bacterial growth. some of those rock hard skins take way to long to soak up. at my shop salt, 24 hr resalt, let sit for one more day and in she goes.
  13. Glen Conley

    Glen Conley KARMA GOOSE R.I.P. 2006-2006

    Here ya go, Unc. This quote is from one of our past lengthy discussion threads. The opening statement is mine.

    WE do not "set the hair" with our actions.

    WE do not make leather fibers. They are already made.

    I feel better already, just writing that.

    Skin cells ride on top of the fibers (collagen). The white pickled flesh side of the hide is the fibers.

    Almost everyone reading this will be familiar with a whitetail skin. The ACTUAL cell layer will be just a tiny bit thicker than the length of a mature hair follicle.

    I have pulled a thread from the old archives that to be so brief is a pretty classic piece of work.

    If you didn't hear colorful words like these at the last party you went to, you need some different drinking buddies.

    If you don't know the meaning of these words, you're going to have a hard time following and understanding this thread. Google and ye shall gain the truth and wisdom that thou seeketh. (The later it gets, the worse I get.)

    REMEMBER as you read this, this is dealing with the cellular level, or cellular depth/thickness of the skin, and the fluids are being drawn with salt through the fiber layer.

    Salting and its effect on cellular material
    Submitted by Yoshan Moodley on 05/15/2003. ( moodleyy@cardiff.ac.uk <mailto:moodleyy@cardiff.ac.uk> <Mailto:moodleyy@cardiff.ac.uk> )

    Dear Taxidermists
    I have been prompted to add this to the Taxidermy.net forum. I am sure that most of you are aware of most of this, but please read further if you think that this may be of interest to you.

    When an animal is skinned and fleshed in the field, the best way to preserve its skin is to liberally apply rough salt (Sodium Chloride) to it and leave it to dry. Salt acts as a dehydrator and absorbs moisture (or [cytosolic fluid/color]) from the skin ([/epithelialcolor]) cells, markedly speeding up the drying process. It this rapid dehydration of cytosolic fluid that enables the epithelial skin cells to retain much of their intracellular organelles such as nuclei and mitochondria. If skin was simply left out to dry in the sun without the application of salt, then there would be enough time for the degradation of cellular material by proteases and lysozymes housed within the cell. If, on the other hand, the skin dried quickly enough to beat this degradation, the heat required to dry it this quickly would end up causing a similar amount of organelle and structural (cytoskeletal) damage.

    So, you see, there is no getting away from it, salting is the best way to preserve skins in the field. The quality of salt used may sometimes cause problems with the quality of the skins after tanning and it is always important that your clients make sure that the salt they use is first grade.

    From a DNA perspective, dry-salted skin harbours a gold mine of epithelial skin cells, each with more or less intact nuclei and mitochondria - the two organelles that harbour all our DNA. This is why we require only a small piece of skin for DNA studies. When we receive the skin piece we incubate it in an isotonic solution with 1% sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) and about 200ug/ml of proteinase. SDS is a powerful detergent which lyses the cell membrane which is made of fats or lipids. Then the proteinase chomps up the proteins of the cell indiscriminately, releasing the DNA molecules from the nucleus and mitochondria.

    We then apply phenol to get rid of the protein debris and separate these from the aqueous liquid which should by now contain just the DNA in solution. It is as simple as that!

    Every now and then we receive pieces of skin from animals that have died in the veld and have decomposed naturally. The hard skin, with cells completely degraded, may still house DNA, but without the protection of the cytoskeleton and the nucleus, this DNA has been broken up into very small pieces by the action of UV radiation from the sun. Luckily technology is of such a standard these days that we can even make use of this degraded DNA in genetics, although much more effort must be applied in order to get these samples to work in the lab.

    The most tragic element of taxidermy and museum curation is the tanning of skins. When this happens, the cellular and biological elements of the epithelial cells are replaced by chemical ones. The skin is virtually DNA free and is useless for any genetic or forensic investigations. It is unfortunate that tanned skins look and feel so much nicer than dry-salted ones and I do not blame taxidermists one bit for preferring to work with skins in this form.

    I thank you for reading through this and hope that it has been of some help.

    Yoshan Moodley
    Cardiff University

    I have a number of skin micro photography photographs floating around in here. Thing is, I have no idea as to where they are all at. I tend to respond to some of these posts in a spontaneous fashion if I already have the photos on file. There is one that I did remember the title of the thread, and found it using Google's main index.
  14. Monte

    Monte Missouri fur-Limited hair-tanning

    In laymen terms I salt for bacterial protection

    2. To prevent the compressing of the collagen fibres (caused by air drying) making re hydrating very difficult , and the effects of acid and tanning agents un predictable.

    3. salting dry hard is only needed when long term storage in high humid conditions.

    4. I salt brine for 8-12 hours (100%saturated solution) when I want to start tanning right a way

    Note; over 40,000,000 cattle hides are brine cured every year here in the US. and domestically tanned or shipped around the world to the developing countries
    One of the reasons salt brine curing is used is to insure that all of the collagen fibre is exposed to the salt as dry salting is only good for 1/4 inch of penetration into the hide. Where the hide is thicker than 1/4 inch, salted and allowed to dry you end up with partial salt cured and partial air dried . Now when you rehydrate the hide the salt cured part soaks up usually overnight and the air dried part may or may not soak back. Now there is a great risk that the hair and epidermis can separate with the hair.

    The effects of chemicals on collagen is a very complex science.
  15. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Active Member

    If I rehydrate before pickling, wouldn't this negate the vacuum theory? I guess I have my answer that it's okay not to let it get rock hard. Thanks everyone.
  16. Monte

    Monte Missouri fur-Limited hair-tanning

    boarhunter67, there is no vacuum.

    Unsalted hides can loose up to 40% of the tannable hide matter in 24 hours. The spoilage of a skin acellerates after skinning.
  17. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Thank you Glen. This time I made a copy of it and saved it. This one comes around about once every 6 months or so and it took me 10 years to realize that I suppose.

    Thanx Abbey and Monte. FINALLY someone agrees with ME. LOL
  18. B2L

    B2L New Member

    Doesnt krowatan say not to salt hides? If so what's their reasoning?
  19. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    B2L, we're talking about real tanning here. I don't know what Krowtann's reasoning is.
  20. B2L

    B2L New Member

    huh? isnt a tanned item a tanned item? but, never the less, okay...