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What makes in house tanning diff from a tannery?

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

  1. Because the tannery guy admitted it was his fault...and i do not hold it against him...it's easy to "convert" small slip spots into fighting scars...

    By the way why is everyong over looking Brian Harness in this discussion???

  3. WBB793

    WBB793 New Member

    Monte said it. Mechanical action is the difference between bucket tan and autotanner. Period!!
  4. Steve Rotramel

    Steve Rotramel We got some radical rebels in this county!

    All right Monte - maybe you won't be crying.

    I keep saying this and I mean it - I'd be glad to have this discussion on a perfectly friendly basis.

    Way to go Michael P>
  5. Is it just me or is anyone else noticing that not once has Steve answered any direct questions posed during this thread?

    Steve, you claim that i started this ... i did not ...you were the one who first attacked our experinces level and then came back with the name calling... if you expect me to just accept this your wrong. Can we be friends...possibly. drop the name calling and personal attacks, possibly apologize for your attacks and insinuations and go back to the facts. Please try answering the questions being posed. They are not meant to discredit they are important.
  6. Steve Rotramel

    Steve Rotramel We got some radical rebels in this county!

    I'm going to be a nice guy here since I've already had my laugh. You can look this up under "Chemical Reaction" in Wikipedia.

    Chemical kinetics

    Main article: Chemical kinetics

    The rate of a chemical reaction is a measure of how the concentration or pressure of the involved substances changes with time. Analysis of reaction rates is important for several applications, such as in chemical engineering or in chemical equilibrium study. Rates of reaction depends basically on:

    Reactant concentrations, which usually make the reaction happen at a faster rate if raised through increased collisions per unit time,

    Surface area available for contact between the reactants, in particular solid ones in heterogeneous systems. Larger surface area leads to higher reaction rates.

    Pressure, by increasing the pressure, you decrease the volume between molecules. This will increase the frequency of collisions of molecules.

    Bob I'm surprised your staff chemist didn't already know this.

    By the way, here is where you started it -

    "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."
  7. ok finally a starting point from which we can begin to discuss the science aspect thank you for starting to present the basis for your arguement.. lets start at the begining...should skins be dry salted before they go into the "autotanner?" and why they should or why they shouldnt?
  8. Steve Rotramel

    Steve Rotramel We got some radical rebels in this county!

    Thank you Bob. I'd be happy to give my opinion.

    In my opinion, the best skin condition to go in the automatic tanner is fresh off the animal. A brine rinse will reduce the amount of corruption in the tanning fluid, but it doesn't seem to help or hurt the tan.

    I lost a number of tanning reference books in a flood several years ago, or I would quote chapter and verse of the PhD authors preference for raw hides over salted. He was speaking in reference to cowhides so that's probably different. His point being that the only reason to salt is short term preservation for storage and traveling purposes.

    If the abbatoir is proximate to the tannery - prefer the raw hides.
  9. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Brian isn't included in the discussion because it digressed to the auto tanner. BUT as I've stated here dozens of times neither Brian nor Steve would ever admit that their processes fall short of conventional methods of tanning. (Regardless of what you call it Steve, that IS "hawking your product")

    And PLEASE stop insulting all of us with articles written by PhD's. Al Gore has thousands of PhD's behind his nonsense so why wouldn't I expect some PhD to side with any issue laid out in front of him. I wonder how many PhD's have ever emptied out a chome tanning tumbler in their lifetimes? I a PhD's opinion is so vital, how do you disregard Dr. Yoshan Moodley's study at Cardiff University in Wales about the necessary impact of salting raw hides before any processing?

    The one irrefutable issue that neither Brian nor Steve will address is the increased costs of using their products. With Brian, those of us on the outside have seen that simple product esculate in price as extra chemicals and extra products were required to make it acceptable to taxidermy work. With Steve's you have to buy his concoction of dry chemicals. Yet any of us know that with a plastic bucket, a bottle of acid and a pound of Lutan, we could accomplish the SAME thing with time tested results and a fraction of the cost.
  10. Monte

    Monte Missouri fur-Limited hair-tanning

    Steve, I have admitted my failures more than once on this site. While you claim a 50% loss rate ,overall it was 3% on 10,000 hair-on.
    New people considering tanning in house need to know all of their options. Spending over 2000 for a machine is just one of their choices.
    I don't see how telling the improvements of the tan will hurt you , if you can support it with the right information.

    Now , wikipedia does not bring it to the bottom line for me.
    what improvement does the pressure add. Is it increase shrink temp. is it a more open strecthy skin. Is it increased tear resistance. Do you claim it is faster? How much faster. I don't think faster means anything to an in house tanner, they can cycle when ever they want and as often as they want.

    I have a lot of experience in tanning leather from the raw through the blue. I developed a 24 hr process to increase my volume with the same equiptment.
    The raw skin 24 hour process does not compare with the longer 3 day process which makes much softer leather because of the advantages of aging at certian stages of the process.

    Shearling tanners prefer a two week aging period using an alum pickle.

    Rushing a hide through has no historical reference to higher quality.

    Steve, I have mentioned several times I know that your process works as well as several in house processes. Why is there any need to discredit professionals commercial tanners ?
    By the way I still have a contract tannery.
  11. Steve Rotramel

    Steve Rotramel We got some radical rebels in this county!

    George you are perfectly wrong on all points. I have been very clear about the tan quality and have always given due respect to the tanning professionals.

    I owned a tannery myself - I don't any longer after getting my butt kicked on several levels.

    The question posed is this - which is better. In house or sending out.

    I received a box one day that contained 5 lifesize black bear hides. Everything about them was wrong. Raggedy skinning, slovenly fleshing, inadequate salting, disastrous storage - even the box was a reject.

    To top it off the skins were crawling with live larvae. The guy might as well have sent a pipe bomb. I immediately carried the whole box outside, doused it with gasoline and burned it to ash. There isn't a better example of the taxidermist blowing it with his hides and I had utterly no responsibility for his loss.

    This taxidermist experienced significant loss to his business over this incident. What if instead he had decided to use a tanning machine? The hides would have gone in fresh off the animal. No drying or salting. No grease burn and no bugs. Would the leather have been as good as if he had sent them to Sivko or Carolina? No way. But at least today his customers would be enjoying their trophies in their own homes instead of their trophies being so much dirt.

    As far as cost - you gotta be kidding me! For ten years I gave out the formulas to anyone who asked for them and gave them a number to call to buy the components direct. I still sold 20 tons of the tanning crystal every year, at a per piece cost that is still lower than any any other system.

    As usual I can count on you to spout off in ignorance. But that's okay - I'm used to it and don't take it personally.
  12. Kevin M.

    Kevin M. Active Member

    Well , Monte I think that the " professional commercial tanners." Have discredited themselves with their attitude toward us home tanners as being ignorant in their eyes.
  13. That would explain the bashing I get..as Micheal P stated everyone has their preference for what works for them...everytime i mention the word krowtann i get bashed by [email protected] (is he a tanner?) and George...now I know George prefers JRST...I have no qualms against that particular process, its just I have never tried it for myself...
  14. Steve Rotramel

    Steve Rotramel We got some radical rebels in this county!

    Just so Monte and I agree with you completely.

    The migration of the tanning agent through the cross section and especially into the grain layer during those "rest" periods and during slow drying is one of the biggest factors in getting soft hides.

    Even with the wet tans in the tannery I used to fatliquor, hang and dry to 95%, and then back into a tan vat to recharge. That got the grain well loaded and vastly reduced the shrinkage on the mounted animal.
  15. Steve here is where we start to disagree, i belive it is essential for a thourough and proper tanning to occur that they be as dry salted as possible....

    I am going to be referring to a few different sources as we hopefully talk this through
    but will often be referring to a book titled "The principals and practice of fur dressing and fur dyeing" written by william e austin

    while not all of the content is relevant, ie: the fur dyeing aspect; its a excellent source and has been used by many for years.

    "... it is of a highly complicated nature. The
    skin of all fur-bearing animals is essentially the same in
    structure, although varying considerably as to thickness
    and texture. It consists of two principal layers, which are
    entirely different in structure and purpose, and correspond-
    ingly different in both physical and chemical respects: the
    epidermis, epithelium or cuticle, which is the outer layer,
    and the dermis or corium, which is the true skin... The corium, or true skin, consists essentially of white,
    interlacing fibres of the kind known as connective tissue.
    These fibres are themselves made up of extremely fine
    smaller fibres, or fibrils, cemented together by a substance
    of a somewhat different nature from the fibres, the coriin.
    Towards the center of the skin, the texture of the interweav-
    ing fibres is looser, becoming much more compact at the sur-
    face just beneath the inner layer of the epidermis. This
    part of the corium is so exceedingly close that the fibrils are
    scarcely recognizable....."

    It is our position and view that because they are so cloesly compacted and conected when they are raw, that the drying of the skins with salt helps to removes and break down these bonds ..essentially opening up the fibers and fibrils. If you havent first removed the biological from between the fibers and fibrils since they are allready compacted to the point of being essentially water proof; then is little if any room for the tan to go...by removing it with salt we are increasing the surface area and opening it up during the pickel

    "...….The acid of the pickle causes the skin to swell, the salt
    then penetrating between the fibres of the corium, and at
    the same time reducing the swelling of the skin. The acid
    also neutralizes the alkaline products of decomposition
    which may form, while the salt acts as a deterrent to the
    progress of the putrefactive processes……

    Steve, do you disagree with us on these points?
  16. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Merry Christmas Everyone!
  17. Steve Rotramel

    Steve Rotramel We got some radical rebels in this county!

    Well, I would say a qualified disagreement.

    I have handled tanned rabbit fur that was soft as a wash cloth and yet crackled when wadded. The crackle is the untanned grain, which is the area of the skin referenced in your quote.

    Your reference talks about chemical blocking to the tan. I would say that in a fresh hide the fibrils are about as spread apart as they are going to get. Salting or air drying causes them to collapse and glue together. Of course the soak up is supposed to return the original structure. The interesting thing to me at this point in my studies was how many reference books when pointing out the ideal condition for a skin (hydration percentage etc.) used the phrase "as close to raw condition as possible".

    I think that the grain is so tightly woven that it makes little difference whether the skin has been salted or not. But I'm speaking from experience rather than imperical data.

    The main factor to me was what I referenced in my answer to Monte, and that is the complete migration of the chemical constituents during slow drying.

    If you salt - the re-soak MUST be complete. In the automatic tanner, fresh water in the hide forms a barrier on a couple of levels. Number one, while it transfers pressure on a near 100% efficiency rate, it is not compressible as you know. Therefore, the overall effect of the pressure is partially nullified.

    Secondly, fresh water in the hide dilutes the chemical mix. In a 100 gallon drum it's no big deal. But add an extra quart of water to one gallon of mixed tanning chemical and you have significant dilution. As you know, a primarily alum based tan penetrates on a reactant concentration basis. If the concentration goes down in the drum, less gets into the skin.

    The fluid in a fresh hide is not "water". It behaves differently than water. One of the differences is how effective the chemical "pull" is. The fluid in a fresh hide pulls the chemical in more efffectively than water.

    The discussion continues about whether the chemical is pulled through osmotic pressure or the "fresher" fluid is pulled through osmotic pressure but the net result is the same either way.
  18. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Steve, I actually discovered your real problem. You make up your mind, read a comment, and then let your mouth overload your ass in trying to discredit specific items referred to. Monte saw it and now I've only given you another target to defend having an ugly baby. What did getting poorly cared for bear hides have to do with anything? Why would you burn them instead of packaging them up and returning them to the owner? Dramatics might play on stage, but like Will Primos says, "This ain't Hollywood". Instead of your usual blabbering about me "knowing everything", try pointing out exactly what I said that was incorrect. And instead of these suppositions of yours, why not look at Glen Conley's microscopic work that shows some of those ideas are flawed?

    And YES, it IS a personal preference like Michael said. It doesn't matter if you use DP, home tans, commercial tans, or nothing at all I suppose, if you're happy with it, then don't ask around - find out for yourself and then make a decision based on that. Regardless of what anyone says, that's what you're going to do anyway. But the fact of the matter is that a professional tan in the hands of an "ax murderer" won't look nearly as good as a DP'd hide in the hands of an artisan. Guess that makes any method rather meaningless and I don't need a PhD to say that.
  19. Steve Rotramel

    Steve Rotramel We got some radical rebels in this county!

    George I didn't want the chance of a living bug in the tannery. The skins were a loss anyway.

    I explained the relevance to the argument. A tannery can blame their losses on the taxidermist all day long. That doesn't change the fact that they are losses. If the taxidermist had made a diffierent decision back when he was busy fleshing his raw hides, maybe there wouldn't be any loss at all. That's the point.

    I understand you were deflecting the argument away from a friend and I salute you for your often well hidden nobility. Monte and I have come to a cordial understanding. I've always enjoyed talking to him on the phone. I think he is a rare person who likes to talk about tanning more than I do!
  20. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    LMAO Steve you REALLY don't know me at all, do you? I don't have any friends when it comes to factual issues or unveiling suppositions. If I take up a cause, I'm putting MY integrity on the line and I like to maintain a bit of personal control over how I use that. I can just as quickly apologize when I'm incorrect, but I can't make excuses for someone else being wrong.