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What makes in house tanning diff from a tannery?

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by rarestjewels, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. I know there is alot of diff of opinions out there. I want facts... What do tanneries do different than in house tanners?
    I turn, flesh, Salt, rehydrate w/ salt, kemal-4, & Skin Prep NBU, then Pickle, shave, pickle. Then nutralize. Then Lutan-F, rinse, liqua-tan, sweat overnight, rinse and freeze till ready to mount.
    I feel by doing them here I can have a faster turn around, can get the hides thinner, and have less chance for damage in the tumbler. There are some that think my hides will fall apart or have bugs in a few years....Am i missing something?
  2. muscle20

    muscle20 New Member

    Your process is correct, except I scour prior to the salting and degrease during the pickling process at warm temps. I also neutralize again at the end of the lutan, oil at the end of the lutan rinse then finish or freeze, do not worry your skins should last for decades!!!!! you have full control of your hides that is a good thing.

  3. Any advice on how to deal with a taxi in town who is telling customers not to have me mount thier stuff because I "home" tan...
  4. Uncle Harley

    Uncle Harley New Member

    lol tell people not to use him because he sends his skins out and has no control and stands a good chance of loosing their hide LMAO! seriously though you can't control what another taxi tell customers best bet is to call him out on it and have a little talk with him
  5. OK this is not meant as an attack on home tanning it is an attempt to answer the questions you have raised and maybe a few that you didn't raise.

    First off there are dozens of "formulas" out there that are called a "tan" which are in fact not tans. The definition of the word "tan" has been diluted, and i have no desire to try and debate what is what is not a true "tan".

    To complicate matters more some "tanneries" use these same products in their process. These "tanneries" are simply home tanners on a much bigger scale, they could no more answer questions about what is happening at the molecular level than the average guy off the street. If we for the moment were to set the argument aside of what is or is not a true tan it brings us to the next point which is equipment.

    Autotanners, if auto tanners are so good so fast and so cheap to use...Why don't all the tanneries use them? If anyone had the real need and demand for speed and efficiency it would be the tanneries...and yet no major tannery owns one? why? Because they are a waste of money and don't do as good of a job; if they did a better job and did it faster we would all have some.

    Depending on the process and the chemicals your using; there is the "degree of experience" factor.

    For instance; if i were to make the statement that because "i played baseball in little league, babe ruth, highschool and college, that i knew as much and was as good as a professional baseball player" you would see the ignorance of that statement.

    Trying to compare babe ruth baseball to the new york yankees baseball is kinda silly at best, yes they both have the same general rules, the fields are laid out the same way, the equipment is basically the same, but if your babe ruth team were to actually play a game against the new york yankees you could hardly say the experience and skill levels would be equal.

    There is no way you could honestly compare what a home tanner is doing to what a tannery is doing. A home tanner is not in the same league in terms of volume or experience. There is a place for home tanning and it will work for some to a point. Wet tanning especially, if you selectively compared 1 deer cape that you spent the time on to 1 deer cape that a tannery spent time on; but compare 1000 capes or 10,000 capes and it will be very clear who has the most experience.

    When it comes to doing Dry tan or working on bigger animals african or bison or bears as examples there are steps and equipment that tannery's have and take that a home tanner will not have and they can not replicate or do themselves, the results will not be the same.

    The people who have devoted their lives in some instances 50 or 60 years in the industry, i am not just talking about spending hours on taxidermy.net or reading a book or watching a few videos or buying a product because it "says in the catalog it does just as good", i am talking about getting masters degrees in tanning, masters or doctorate degrees in chemistry both organic and inorganic chemistry have forgotten more about tanning than a home tanner could ever begin to pickup from a web site or off the side of a bottle of directions.

    I encourage you to continue learning about tanning because the more you do it and the more you learn the better your home tanning will become, but it would be a serious mistake to ever assume that it would ever be on the same level as a professional tannery.

    I know that tanners can become overbearing about which process or chemicals are best, just like fans of the red sox will never cheer for the yankees we each have our loyalties to "our" teams. I am trying to stay away from that trap, I will say this "As a rule professional tanneries will consistently put out a superior product time and time again."

    Some of the other points you bring up in you original post as well as some other factors to be considered and these decisions are going to vary from taxidermist to taxidermist depending on the scale and volume of the shop and their attitudes in general.

    1 "is this a competition piece or is it a irreplaceable item or just for commercial work?" there is a strong argument for doing it yourself, the issues of "custody and control" play a strong factor in this argument...the other side of that argument is that "if its irreplaceable let the professional do it" each taxidermist would need to ask themselves how comfortable they are and how well equipped they are to handle such a job.

    2 "What is my time worth?" This is a question every taxidermist should be asking themselves....as an example cost it out...what does the tanning product cost you per quart be sure to add in the cost of shipping, how many capes does that legitimately do <what does the manufacturer say it can do, not how many have you manged to squeeze out of that bottle> and how much time do you invest in doing that...if you said it takes me 8 hours over the course of a few days, plus 24 dollars for the product as an example divide that by how many capes you did in those 8 hours of tanning lets say you were able to do 5 capes for your 24 dollars of product and 8 hours of time....so each cape cost you roughly 5 dollars worth of product and a little more than an hour and a half per cape.

    If you worked at McDonald's they pay about 8 dollars an hour, so 8 times 1.5 hours is 12dollars plus your 5 dollars worth of product that's 17 dollars not a bad deal 17 dollars for a cape.....but if on the other hand you worked for yourself and your shop rate for customers is 30 or 40 dollars or more per hour your actually tanning cost just went up ...30 dollars per hour translates into 50 dollars per cape, .....40 dollars an hour shop rate translates into 65 dollars per cape now is suddenly not such a great deal.

    If your doing more than 50 capes a year working for 8 dollars an hour or in some instances less; some people have actually calculated that they earn as little as 3 dollars an hour for home tanning, then your losing money hand over fist. This is time that could have been spent mounting instead was lost to doing home tanning yourself.

    Here is another way of looking at it...even if it costs you 65 dollars per cape to have a tannery do it for you...i am including the cost of shipping in this number.... <our cost is 38.00 plus shipping but even so giving you the benefit of the doubt on shipping costs i think 65 is generous>, but even if all the costs were equal...if that time you had spent on home tanning, was now spent on mounting more capes; you would have been ahead in the long run because we all know that real money in taxidermy is in the mounting not the scraping and the turning and the salting and the home tanning.

    Why do you think the really big studios don't do their own tanning? I mean if anyone could justify the expense of auto tanners and saw dust drums and so forth it would be the big studios who have the volume in house to justify the expense, and yet they don't ...why? Because the truly successful taxidermist have learned there is no money in it...the money is in the mounting not the tanning.

    Now many will say "well i am not that big and my time is not worth that kind of money" <ie:30 or 40 dollars an hour> i would say you have undervalued your time but if you really believe your time is only worth 8 dollars an hour, you might as well go apply for that job at McDonald's, save the money you earn there plus get the benefits...free food, health insurance, few days paid vacation, maybe even a promotion to assistant shift supervisor etc.

    Successful taxidermist are the ones who know the true value of their time, the true value of their time is what they could be earning per hour if all they were doing was mounting and most of the good ones will tell you their time is worth alot more than 40 dollars an hour.

    3. Disposal of used chemicals, I have read of or heard of on more than few occasions of people pouring the waste down their drain <great way to destroy you septic system> or they pour it on the side of the road or drive way or out behind the building etc. Every home tanning product i have ever come across is harmful to the enviorment and is supposed to be disposed of according to "local, state and federal regulations" Those are key words written by lawyers to put the responsibility on the home tanner and take it off the manufacturer....if your neighbor gets a contaminated well or some exotic fish starts dying in the stream behind you property you are in for a world of hurt and justifiably so. Is one bottle of waste "syntan" going to destroy the world? probably not. how about a few cases of it? well i would not be spreading it on my food before i ate that's for sure. Can they eat away at your sewer pipes ? yes. Can they contaminate ground water? yes. Could it affect your drinking water? absolutely. Are you even aware of what the actual requirements are for disposal of these products according to "local state and federal regulations", or what the penalties are for improper disposal?

    4 Are their any adverse health effects from exposure? probably yes. If that chemical your using is absorbed through your skin, you inhale the fumes, or worse you or you kids were to accidentally drink it you should know what to do and how its supposed to be used....respiratory equipment, latex gloves proper ventilation etc. There are studies that show people who have worked in tanneries have higher incidence of certain types of cancer than the general population. Just like people in certain industries have a great chance of getting mesothelioma... there are correlations between exposure to certain chemicals and adverse health effects.

    Is it really worth the little bit of money you think your gonna save by doing it yourself?

    What ever you decide is right for you i encourage you to educate yourself on the safety implications, how is it supposed to be handled, what precautions should you take for yourself and your family and neighbors, what to do in case of an accidental poisoning, what are the true and correct disposal methods.

    There is no price tag on some of these things.

  6. Rhino

    Rhino Too many irons in the fire will put the fire out!

    BRAVO BOB! That was a good post!

    Quite a few of these folks are dumping illegally, and could care less!
  7. Monte

    Monte Missouri fur-Limited hair-tanning

    Bob , I second oldshaver, a great answer and darn accurate.
  8. *

    * Liberalism IS A MENTAL ILLNESS !

    Bob, Aubrey, and Monte...
    You can't fix stupid. ;D
    Good try Bob, Good post.
  9. Why are you using LutanF AND Liquatan?
  10. buckstop

    buckstop New Member

    Great post, Bob. You nailed it!
  11. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    ;) What Bob said...
  12. tomdes

    tomdes Me my dear and Fall BAZZ!!!

    Good post Bob, 100% true..
  13. I was taught to use both Lutan and Liqua Tan. I have been asking myself the same ? I know there are other oils out there that do not have the tanning agents in them. Anyone recomend one?
  14. coonhollow

    coonhollow Active Member

    I also use Lutan F and oil purchased from a comercial tannery that I mix with liqua tan, only for the simple reason I have a lot of Liqua Tan to use up.
  15. LordRusty

    LordRusty If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    Absolutely spot-on Bob! Perfectly stated! You're either a Taxidermist or a Tanner. The choice is yours! Choose wisely!

  16. craigjw

    craigjw http://www.back2lifetaxidermy.com

    I think those of us who are not full time taxidermists are in the same boat. We want the summer off. Tanneries refuse to hurry their work so they can keep busy all year. We want them back so we can get done with our work. Tanning yourself is not worth it cost wise, but I have no choice but to tan my own so I can get done with stuff. I have 26 deer to mount right now, I have 2 done already, when I used a tannery I would not get hides back until march. By tanning my own, I will be done with all of them by then and dont have to spend the summer in the shop.
  17. buckstop

    buckstop New Member

    I got my first batch of capes back from the tannery last week. If I got my capes back in March I definitely would be looking for a different tannery!
  18. Knoblochs Tanning Oil #2
  19. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    ROTFLMAO Craig, you really shot yourself with that one. I don't know of a single tannery that's not busy year round. You DO realize, I hope that when it's "summer" in the Northern Hemisphere, it's "winter" in the Southern? That means that all the African, New Zealand, Australia, and South American animals being taken by hunters is coming in during your "summer vacation". Personallly, I don't know any full time taxidermists who have that luxury regardless of who tans what for them. I know I have enough to do year round anyway.

    Bob, you did an excellent job covering all aspects of that. Great job.
  20. coonhollow

    coonhollow Active Member

    That's true George I have never been to a tannery that wasn't hustling to keep up with the seasons. honestly every tannery I have used has had acceptable return time. you have to remember the volume of work they get from each region adds up. I only tanned enough capes to give me some to do while the rest were off to the tannery. I usually kept all archery capes as well as any western stuff that came in early to tan myself. after that everything went to the tannery.