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Holding ph level

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by oaktree, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. oaktree

    oaktree Member

    Why will the ph level not hold in my pickle
    5 gal water
    5 lbs salt
    2 1/2 oz safety acid
    one 20"whitetail cape
    in the house room temp
    I seem to need to add a cap full of acid every 12-18hours to keep ph around the one mark(using papers for ph levels)
    never had problems before any ideas
  2. Was the cape drity or bloody, that can alter the ph



  3. Nick

    Nick New Member

    Kerry is right. Did you wash the cape prior to putting it in the pickle? Just putting a salted hide/cape in it will cause you PH to rise. The blood, salt, and other dirty materials should be washed out prior to pickling.
  4. Kristi

    Kristi New Member

    I think you're trying to keep it too low. Safety acid is very stable. In a clean safety acid bath, your pH should be between 1.0 - 1.5 to start. As long as you keep it below 2.0, bacteria cannot grow and you'll be fine.
  5. Bruce_Rittel

    Bruce_Rittel Consultant Services

    Do you use Borax when you skin out your capes, or when you flesh? That raises hell with a pickle's pH level. If you are - change over to something inert like sawdust or cornmeal or just salt to soak up the wetness.
  6. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    OT has anything changed?

    Did you change vats? water? Location of the pickle vat? Washed cape vs. not washed..Boraxed vs. none....

    Systematically check your method for anything that you might have done differently.
  7. oaktree

    oaktree Member

    After day three I removed fleshed(as fast as I could trying to avoid any heat issues)added a capfull of acid to bring Ph back in the 1-2 range,it was closer to the 2-3 range before removal placed skin back for additional 24hrs Ph held,neutralized and gave a quick rinse in cold water its hang drying as we speak(as per instructions to let drip dry 2-3 hrs) hair seems strong on cape right now no loose spots at all
    NOW SHOULD I tumble cape in dryer with towels(no heat)to remove more moisture before I apply liqua tan?
  8. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    You asked for others advice but when asked to give some specifics you gave none... :-X

    How can therse folks help you out if you don't answer the questions. :-\
  9. oaktree

    oaktree Member

    Not adding anything while fleshingsuch as borax
    cape not bloody
    BUT no I did not wash cape before pickle as my instruction does not mention this(might be a problem)allthough I asked this in a previous post and was told It will not affect the pickle.
    Same vat/location/water source
  10. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    In that case my only speculation would be as to the unwashed cape.

    One can expect large flucuations in pH from critters like elk, for instance, they like to wallow and pick up tremendous amounts of dirt. Also before wallowing, they tend to like to urinate in the wallow first. Urea and ammonia in urine will cause the pH of a pickle to rise.
  11. oldshaver

    oldshaver Guest

    In my opinion, the ph should hold after the first adjustment, weather washed or not. Did the salt sourse change-brand or type? Aint this stuff fun! It sounds to me like calcium, in some form or another, is the culprit, giving the slow ph rise.
  12. H2O89

    H2O89 New Member

    Calcium?? The pH will rise with the addition of hides, especially if they are dropped into the pickle skipping a rehydrate wash.
    Might want to hold those opinions to your self old guy if that is the best you can come up with.
  13. bill@hogheaven

    [email protected] New Member

    H2O89.........you would be wise to listen when oldshaver speaks.
  14. jrosbor

    jrosbor Member

    Ease up Bill, oldshavers credentials have been warranted by us, not H2O89. He will learn on his own, as I did.

    I know for a fact that OS's statement could very well be the case here. I also know for a fact that if you take two random capes of a similar size, mix two separate pickles, use the same chemicals and water source, the pH will rise at different rates. Key point being, they both will rise. I am a firm believer that what we intentionally add to the pickle, is raising the pH, but we do not associate any "cause and effect" with it. An example of what I'm trying to say would be; we make a pickle with the intention of adding a skin to it. The pickle is designed to have the skin in it right? So, why would the skin cause the pH to rise? Did we ever consider the water source the host was drinking? What if it was loaded with calcium? Do all the chemicals in our system have a pH of -7? Does our pH change given where we are or what we are consuming? I do believe calcium, or a caustic chemical is the culprit here, but I don't think its from adding anything other that a skin to the pickle.
  15. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Physiological pH is pretty much 7.4, at least in the human system. The stomach is, of course, acidic. The liver a bit basic. The small intestine as well. It's a very complex system, but for the most part, the pH of the blood and serum is 7.4. Vary too far from 7.4 and it's big trouble.

    pH is a concentration of hydrogen ions. When you pickle, the hydrogen ions are reacting with the hide proteins. Hydrogen ions do all the work preparing active sites for the tan to react with.
    The concentration of hydrogen ions goes down....the pH goes up...

    Calcium compounds can indeed cause a rise in pH. Calcium hydroxide will, calcium carbonate will, calcium chloride will not...

    There is probably a fair amount of calcium in dirt...it all depends on where the deer was rolling around when living, where it was drug when harvested and what it was hauled in when heading to the taxidermist.

    That's why I wash all my hides before they go into the pickle..I hate a dirty pickle. ;)
  16. oldshaver

    oldshaver Guest

    H2089-most on here know that ph will rise after the addition of skins, as I do. I SAID AFTER THE FIRST ADJUSTMENT. For you and any other dumba-s out there, that means, after pickling overnight, and adding acid, and salt, the next day, the ph will usually stabilize. Next time, let me know your on line, and I will see if my response can be typed in crayon. Calcium? Feed salt additives? Does this mean anything ? Probably not. I was responsible for the safe tanning of over a 1200 skins LAST WEEK, from multiple countries, and continents. What did you tan last week? Oaktree, I applogize for my rant.
  17. oldshaver

    oldshaver Guest

    Instead of just a insulting rant, I thought I would add something constructive to this discussion. Maintaining ph, is really not difficult if you think ahead. Lets use a 100 gallon rubbermaid container for an example, since most on here are tanning at home. You need to keep records! Example: you put 10 dry salted whitetail capes in a 75 gallon pickle. The next day, the ph has risen. How much acid, with salt, did you add, to bring the ph back down to an acceptable level? Write it down. You put 3 elk capes in a new 75 gallon pickle. How much acid and salt did you add, to get the ph where you want it, the next day? Write it down. Take one season, and write down your total acid and salt, for different types of skins, and add that to the ORIGIONAL pickle, and you eliminate all that ph checking. Your ph will level off where you want it to. For the most part, this works, but I would spot check every couple of days. You might have to deal with a .25 raise, but never a 1.0. Keeping records in tanning, is vital to consistancy.
  18. H2O89

    H2O89 New Member

    Write it down?...With a crayon I suppose. You are a horses ass. And you obviously don't know dipsh*t from shinola about adding acid to the pickle. Continued additions will not affect your pH as much as the original addition.
    Country hillbilly. how's that for insulting people online? go back to your 1200 skins and stay there! Where is your leather chemistry accreditation. JROSBER got it right the first time. You and your online buddies have made you out to know something.

    Next time be more polite if it is even possible...jerk.

    This place is a joke. Don't bother to reply, I ain't coming back.
  19. jrosbor

    jrosbor Member

    OS's point is valid. The tanneries out there using saftee acid, have a different formula that the formula used by home tanners. This is because the pH tends to rise much faster in a wet drum, than it does in a paddle vat, than it does statically. The amount of the acid could be increased up front by as much as 50%. We increase the amount of acid up front on all runs. It is based on skin weight as apposed to species and quantity. For example; we use the same formula for 100lbs of elk skins as we would for 100lbs of deer skins. However, the formula changes if we are running coon, fox,... Believe it or not, we have found these animals to need less acid up front.
  20. H2O89

    H2O89 New Member

    Yes JR. Adding up front. But adding after the hides are in to bring to acceptable levels? It is a waste of material to do that.