1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

Krowtan study results...food for thought

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by Uncle Harley, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. Uncle Harley

    Uncle Harley New Member

    OK, all the hype and negative hype on here has had me second guessing what I have known for the last 3 yrs and that is that KT makes a good quality hide for taxidermy Purposes....... SO....... I decided to run some tests and purchase some PH paper . Here are the results I am finding

    When I start the batch my ph is between a 1 and 1.5

    Day 2 it is slightly higher and usually by day 3 it is at a s 4-4.5 And will stay there no matter how long I leave it. When I neautralize I with baking soda, it doesn't matter if I use the recomended ammount for 15 min or dump an entire box into the neutralizing bath and leave it there for 2 hrs My hide, not the water is a roughly a 6 mabey sometimes slightly lower. So Could the claim that Krowtan is actually tanning be true if in fact the tanning agents are suspended into the mix be true.

    In "normal" tanning conditions it is my understanding this is where you want your Ph at various stages
    1 is where the pickle takes place to set the hair...... KT does this .......check

    between 4-5 is the proper ph for tanning........ Are suspended tanning agents now bonding at this stage in KT.... I'm inclined to think so......check

    slightly acidic 5.5-6 is where you want the hide to be when finished..... Kt does this....... check

    So IN MY OPINION AND MY OPINION ONLY I do believe there is more to KT than just a pickle.....does my test prove that it has in fact been tanned, I'm not a chemist I can't answer that.

    So has anyone else actually put ph strips to this process to see what is going on and what were your results?

    I have always been a believer in KT but I have always told people try things for your self and see what works for you. Can we discuss these findings in a CIVIL mannor? Because, I would really like to know if what I am using is going to go to chit 10 yrs down the road and I start losing customers in droves in the height of my taxidermy career.
  2. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Harley, I posted in the other epistle that chemically, I have a new appreciation for the product. IF IN FACT it does all that with the pH, (and I have no reason to doubt you) then it has to be an effective "hide preservation method". I still won't ever buy into it being a true tan as we've come to understand, but it certainly is no worse than the JRTS that I'm using. It's a shame some of the guru's manufacturing it didn't go into some detail on the chemistry, but I'm assuming that there are proprietary processes they felt needed protecting.

  3. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    Ok Harley!! You said in a pm that it is my fault and me who started this chit. LOL

    SO, here's my answer.

    Yes, I have done this also. And, YES!! I have gotten the same pH readings as you have here in your tests.

    During one of the Yoxathon's, the subject came up and others that were here had similar readings.

    Won't argue the readings with you at all. We ALL AGREE on that!!!!!

    HOWEVER, the fact remains.....I LOST EIGHT CAPES!!!!!

    Those eight capes were pressure washer fleshed!!
    I sincerely believe that in pressure washing the capes that the hide was so perforated with water that the acid could not penetrate the hide.
    MY SOLUTION.......I started salt drying after pressure washing and before KT.
    I rehydrate in salt water.
    Since ADDING this step...I haven't lost any capes....But the pH readings are as before.

    So with THAT said.. I won't bad mouth KT, but I damn sure do have a problem when that step is omitted from the instructions when it appears to me to be a necessary step when pressure washing.

    So why do some people get good results while others don't???

    My guess is that those who are getting good results limit the amount of water the cape/hide sees before going into the KT.

    I went back to what I was taught about tanning 15 years ago. EVERYTHING gets salt dried again. Salt locks the hair and kills bacteria. Hard to neglect old proven ways that work.

    So, with all that said; and a phone conversation with Brian where we talked about my problem where he advised me to kick my pH back down with formic........
    I have elected to return to using a formic acid pickle with a brush on tanning agent. Saves me a ton of money and a lot of worry and aggravation. If my pickle pH rises, which it does, I kick it back down with safety acid. Takes much less dollars in safety acid to kick back down as it does with formic acid.

    I buy formic for 20.00 a gal. I use 1 1/2 oz. of formic per gal of water. I use 2 gals of water per cape.
    There is 128 oz. per gal. That equals 43 capes per gal of formic. That's roughly .50 per cape.

    I get 16 capes out of a gal. of KT. A gal. of KT(4qts) costs me right at 96.00 delivered to my door.
    That's 6.00 per cape.

    Now add the cost of tanning oil at .50 per cape and I have a whole dollar invested into chemicals for my skins.

    I know we are taxidermists, therefor not too bright, but 5.00 is 5.00. Times that by the number of capes you do in a year and you decide which is best, easiest, safest, and smartest for you.

    Now, have at it.. This outta get good.

    Disclaimer;; if your a truck driver and not really a taxidermist...shut the hell up would ya.
  4. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    I just wanna know how many different ways you're going to write pH? ;)
  5. Uncle Harley

    Uncle Harley New Member

    sorry Cyclone, My disclaimer stated I was not a chemist LOL I took one chemistry class when I was in college, we made alcohol and asprin, I drank the alcohol and ate the asprin and don't remember the rest of the semester.

    Tim, LOL I did say you started it, you were the one who asked me if I ever checked the pH when I was at your shop as far as losing capes, knock on wood I have never lost a single one and I have done everything from powerwash, shave on a machine and and ONCE just for chits and giggles I didn't even flesh one just split and turned That one did need a few days back in after I shaved it, but still didn't lose any hair. The main reason I use this stuff though is I can but one in on sat morning flip it before I go to bed flip again on sunday morning and flip one last time sunday night and then I can leave town and deal with it the next weekend when I get back If it was in just a straight up pickle I am afraid my pH would get too high and I would lose them that way.
  6. Joe Winsor

    Joe Winsor Active Member

    This is the most sensible post, in any tanning debate, that I have read in the 3+ years I've been on taxi.net
  7. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    Contrar Harley!!

    A clean hide in a formic pickle will only raise the pH oh so slightly, whereas a dirty hide will raise the pH immensely.

    So you have to turn the skin anyway, RIGHT?? Why not check the pH while you're there. Only takes a sec.

    If you do have to kick the pH back down, you will only have to do it once. AFTER that, you can leave that thing in a formic acid pickle for months if not years. Watch for acid swell, but truly it will be safe for a very long period of time. Take it out, wash and neutralize, shave and oil. Freeze or mount. Pretty safe and pretty simple.
  8. Uncle Harley

    Uncle Harley New Member

    Tim I agree you method does sound easy enough and deffantly cheaper, I think for now I will stick with what I know untill I get my customer stuff done and then attempt this method with My capes. My biggest fear is leaving a standard pickle alone for days without monitoring as you know In the event of an emergency at my day job I may have to take off for Ohio or Michigan and be gone all week. I once put a hide in KT late one night and the next morning I got a call and head out of town I was gone for a week and a half and my hide never got flipped It was a little stiff ot the side that was exposed to air but I flipped it when I got home and kept flipping for a few days and all was good. That is what I'm afraid to give up with the day job I have, but if you guys with more experience than me say a pickle will stay stable for days without monitoring then I will try it out.
  9. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    LMAO Now that's funny. I don't care who you are.
  10. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    Whatever makes you comfortable, but I'm here to tell you........after 24 hrs in a formic pickle, that thing is PICKLED! Your rise in pH is gonna occur within that first 24 hrs. In your case, if you start with a clean skin(one of the reasons I like to powerwash flesh) you won't have to worry after that first 24 hrs. Keeping things clean is the key in my opinion. I don't want anything like blood, dirt, meat or fat in my pickle tubs. If I keep things clean, my pH won't go above 3 ever. If I do have to kick it back down to <2, it will be on day 1 or within that 24 hr. period. And, unless an emergency comes up to interrupt your weekend, if you put them in on Sat. morning, by Sunday you are stable. But even with that said, I still want to leave my skins in the pickle for a min. of 3 days.

    Do what you feel comfortable doing, but don't forget we had this conversation!!

    PS....Thanks Joe
  11. Uncle Harley

    Uncle Harley New Member

    Oh I plan to do some test Tim, like I said in your shop when we briefly discussed this I'm gonna do some spearments and see what's up. Checking the pH and monitioring it is phase one. I clean all my capes in Kemal 4 prior to sticking them in the bucket so dirt and blood is not a problem, The only problem forsee is in my current process by not salting I don't get the cape 100% clean of meat all the time fat yes little meat heare and there as long as it's not thick I shave it off later. If I salted then this would be easy to pick/ peel off after a few hrs of salt on it at the stage where the membrane just peels real easy so that shouldn't be a problem either by adding that step.
  12. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    That's why I like to pressurewasher flesh and salt.
    When you get set up to do that, I think you will find everything will work out perfectly for you.

    But, since you aren't pressurewashing, thats why I think KT is working for you. ;)
  13. Uncle Harley

    Uncle Harley New Member

    I pressure wash somewhat but not so much since we moved to the country, My well pump doesn't keep the pressure up enough to keep the pressure washer going properly so when I starts to peter out I have to stop and let the well pump catch up.
  14. Glen Conley

    Glen Conley KARMA GOOSE R.I.P. 2006-2006

    I tell you what I would bet you. If you were to do side by side microscopic exams of a formic pickled piece, and a Krowtann pickled piece, I doubt you could tell the difference. Now why do you think that is?
  15. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    Glen, that's exactly my interpretation of what Brian said to me when he told me to kick my KT pH back down with formic acid.

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck............must be a chicken, Huh?
  16. Glen Conley

    Glen Conley KARMA GOOSE R.I.P. 2006-2006

    What was that story about the King's new clothes?
  17. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    You sure about that?
  18. bowmantax

    bowmantax New Member

    Don't know if you are right or not harley, but your findings sound good to me. I use the KT once and a while, but I do pre salt my hides for at least 24 hrs then into the KT solution just as directions say. I feel that by pre salting, it is a extra safety precaution on hair slippage and osmosis can take place easier. If there is more salt on the hide, ie the hide is somewhat dried out of moisture, it will pull more moisture back in along with the KT solution as well. Been doing it this way and have never had one problem yet with a cape. Only use on thin skined animals like bobcats and foxes though in my shop. Everything else gets commercially tanned. Like the KT on those thin skinned animals though since tanneries are so hard on them. I am a beliver, my oldest mount though with KT is only 5yrs old. Looks new though and hair is still tight and can't see any changes.
  19. hounddoggy

    hounddoggy Member

  20. Salt won't kill bacteria!