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Tanning Elk Hide???

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Katie H, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. Katie H

    Katie H New Member

    Hi, I am tanning an elk hide for a friend. I have tanned deer hides and other small animals before, but this is my first elk. After it was done salting, I shampooed the fur and put into an alum tan solution(I have used this with all of my other hides). I am supposed to let it soak for 1 1/2 - 2 wk. after 1 1/2 weeks, it started to smell. I took it out of the tan today and it didn't look like the tan did anything. Does anyone know what I did wrong??? I don't usually shampoo it before the tan. Could this be the reason? Also, when I skinned the tail. it was full of black jelly-like fat that would not separate from the skin. I have heard of stop-rot. Can I use this stuff after the hide has been in the solution? In the meantime, should I freeze the hide? Thanks
     
  2. Uncle Harley

    Uncle Harley New Member

    The black stuff is a gland and needs to be removed.......... did you mix more tan for the elk than you would for a deer would be my first question.
     

  3. Katie H

    Katie H New Member

    I removed as much of the gland as I felt safe without cutting through. I had enough solution mixed to cover the hide. Do you know if shampooing the hide before tanning is bad?
     
  4. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    We,, and animals, have enzymes inside of us, that are kept in check when we are alive, when we die, these enzymes take over and start breaking down cells, and start the rotting process. Soap's have enzymes too. So it is best if you use any soap, to rinse it very well, extra well, to remove it.
    Did you monitor the pH in your solution daily?
     
  5. Uncle Harley

    Uncle Harley New Member

    I wash all my capes in kemal 4 prior to tanning.........I use shampoo on my head so I don't know if that would do it or not
     
  6. Katie H

    Katie H New Member

    So the soap is probably causing it to rot even after it was in the tanning solution? The PH is around 6. What should it be? I am leaving for the weekend, so should I put the hide in the freezer until I come back.
     
  7. Uncle Harley

    Uncle Harley New Member

    what does the instructions for your tann to say? 6 is damn near neutral isn't it? I would say the soap screwed up your ph or you didn't mix enough chemical porportianal to the size of your hide.
     
  8. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    I don't know if the soap is or isn't causing it to rot. Bactria is, maybe the one to two week soak is the problem,, why so long?
     
  9. Katie H

    Katie H New Member

    I have used this solution with all of my other hides and they turned out great! Also, I always shampoo my hides after I have taken them out of the solution. I can't see how the shampoo could make the before tanned hide rot but not the after tanned hide. My instructions don't have a PH level listed. Could I somehow neutralize the rotting and re-tan it?
     
  10. Uncle Harley

    Uncle Harley New Member

    the shampoo will neautralize the acid in the pickle what you basically have is a raw hide in water I believe plain water is a ph of 7 but could be wrong.
     
  11. Uncle Harley

    Uncle Harley New Member

    check out AMy's tutorial in the tutorial section on tanning I pulled this from it.

    "No matter what acid you use, after mixing the pickle up, you should check the pH level using quality pH papers or pH meter. It should read below a 2.0. Best is to have it around 1. You should not let the pH go about 2.5 during pickling, and definitely not about 3.0, because then bacteria will continue to grow."
     
  12. remingtonZ71

    remingtonZ71 New Member

    yes plain distilled water is a pH of 7 anything below 7 is acidic and anything above is considered basic/ or a form of alkalinity, i think that it is possible for the soap to have neutralized the acid and therefore just been a cape in water.
     
  13. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Sounds to me, that she didn't pickle with acid at all. And as thick as Elk are, the skin is probably still raw in the center, rotting from the inside out. She might have been lucky not pickling the small thin stuff in the past, the thicker skins need shaving to avoid surface tan.
     
  14. Katie H

    Katie H New Member

    My tanning solution was(in a much larger proportion): 2gal. water, 1lb. salt, 1/2lb. alum. I think I will try tanning it again and use a larger quantity of alum. Any suggestions?
     
  15. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Why havent you pickled it in an acid bath?
     
  16. Katie H

    Katie H New Member

    How do I do that?
     
  17. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    After the salting and rinse, an acid pickle for a week would kill the bactira prior to your tan.
    Buy some Safety acid, add salt and water. Follow the instructions on the label.
     
  18. Katie H

    Katie H New Member

    Where can I buy safety acid? Does that tan it completely for fur-on leather?
     
  19. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    WASCO, or Vandykes. No, a acid pickle is not a tan, it kills the emzines and bacteria in the skin so it doesnt stink or rot when you tan it in your Alum mix.
     
  20. Katie H

    Katie H New Member

    So, how should I store the hide while I am waiting for the acid to come?