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5 year old tan

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by troy, May 9, 2009.

  1. troy

    troy Member

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    I have a customer who has a bear hide that is 5 years old. He said it was commercially dry tanned but I don't know by who. He has kept it in a bag for 5 years. Now he finally decided to get a lifesize mount done with it. I told him it is not good to keep your dry tans so long and there is a possibility it is no good. As I never dealt with this situation, I was being a parrot and just repeating what I have read and been told about keeping tanned skins so long. I said we could try to rehydrate a part of the hide (maybe the head) and see what happens. I say the head cuz, if all is well, I could detail flesh it right away. Good idea or not? My question is what should I look for to decide if it is bad? IE. Hair slipping, weakness in the leather or what? What actually happens to a hide when it is no good? What would be a good way to see if it is still OK to use and how should I go about trying to get this done for him? Any help will be appreciated. I'd like to be able to do it for him as it is a bear that weighed over 450lbs. Why he waited this long to mount it is beyond me, but that is his business.
     
  2. Bruce_Rittel

    Bruce_Rittel Consultant Services

    Try making some stitches along the edge of the piece. About 1/2" in from the edge and 3-4" long. Then gently tug on the loose end of the thread to see if the leather holds the stitching without tearing easily. If the skin is weak from aging it should tear like tearing a piece of paper - otherwise it should be OK.

    Actually - 5 years is usually safe. When you get to over 9-14 years it can mean trouble with any acids still in the leather causing it to weaken. When they weaken, you'll see it when you stitch and the stitches simply pull out.
     

  3. I would rehydrate the edge or the flank, that way if it goes to crap he still has a soft wallhanger... Not a headless bear. If it is bad, within just a few minutes of getting wet the edge will (In a bad to severe case) just begin to desintigrate like wet toilet paper to the touch/pull. If its only slightly weak, and won't hold a stitch, there was a guy on here that mounted one up (Bear Soup I believe was the name of the post) So it might be salvagable for a mount still using a combo of glue and stitches.
     
  4. troy

    troy Member

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    Thanks for the help. I wasn't sure how to go about finding out if it is still good. I'll try wetting a piece of it up (not the head) and pull on it and sew some stitches and try pulling on them. I hope it works out for the guy. You should have seen the look on his face when I said it might not be any good. I truly felt bad for him! He even built a spot for it on the wall in his entry way of his home. Thanks again for the advice!!