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alligator tanning

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by blake23, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. blake23

    blake23 New Member

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    My friend gave me an alligator that he had in his freezer that he wanted me to try to tan. I was wondering what the best method of tanning would be for tanning an alligator. I want to just tan the skin for a rug and possibly have the mouth open. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Blake, just tan it as you would any greasy skin, bear, coon beaver etc. I found the easiest way to flesh is with a twisted wire cup wheel on an angle grinder, you can do the belly area's on a round knife if you want. If you can detach the head leave the skin in the pickle for a couple weeks, if you can't, you'll need to do the whole thing in about three days to keep the teeth from getting soft. Make sure you get the head, upper palette and jaws cleaned out good!
     

  3. Rhino

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

    I agree 100% with Keith!

    Keith, I saw one of your shaving machine the other day. Appeared to be a very well built piece of equiptment!
     
  4. Thanks Aubrey
     
  5. falco

    falco Trapping is fun

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    Now I know why the Croc my client dropped off tanned, have soft AND missing teeth.
    dang it.
     
  6. blake23

    blake23 New Member

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    I just decided to go without the head. I used a knife and a pressure washer to flesh it. The pressure washer did a pretty good job and i would say that it got about 90% of the flesh off. But i have it soaking in a brine solution now. and then i am going to use lutan f. I heard that was pretty good when it comes to gator skins. I had Mckenzie ultimate acid and Mckenzie tan but i was not sure if it would do the job.
     
  7. If you're going to make it as a rug I would go with the immersion instead of the swab. Not sure what you mean by a brine, but if you do have it in one, water saturated with as much salt as it will hold, you need to go ahead and get it out and into a regular pickle with acid, then after shaving (cleaning) again, degrease it, then go back ion the pickle for at least several hours, preferably overnight, then proceed to tan.
     
  8. blake23

    blake23 New Member

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    I have it soaking in water and salt right now. I have about 10 gallons of water and 12 pounds of salt. Its been in there for about 2 days.
     
  9. blake23

    blake23 New Member

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    And another thing... I just found out from Van Dykes that my tanning oil is on back order :-\ so is it ok to freeze the skin until it comes in? or can i leave it in the pickle or the salt for a little while longer until the oil comes in? They said it would be at least a week until it will be here.
     
  10. Rush

    Rush New Member

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    Aligator scales are very easy to loose from the hide. You might want to check and see if its loosing scales and get it into an acid pickle and try to save what you have left.
     
  11. Since you don't have the head on, just leave it the pickle, but make sure it's a good pickle, not just salt water. Since you only had 12 lb. of salt in 10 gallons of water you should be able to just add acid to make it a pickle. A brine will take 2+ lb. of salt per gallon, if you had that concentration you would have needed to dilute it for a pickle.d
     
  12. redwolf

    redwolf Active Member

    I was warned not to use a pressure washer on gators (by a good source) because the water gets in between the scoots and scales because of the force from it. So causes them to slip off. I use an angle grinder like Keith does.
     
  13. blake23

    blake23 New Member

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    I heard muratic acid would do a pretty good job. Would that be something that i could add and then leave that in until my tanning oil arrives?
     
  14. Rush

    Rush New Member

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    Never worked with muratic, always have used formic and it worked well on alligators.
    I would make my pickle to have a pH of 1.5 to 2.0 and get the hide in and leave it in for a day stirring very little, trying not to lose any more scales, and checking often to make sure its not getting "rubbery" If its loosing scales now, no pickle is really going to help at this point
     
  15. blake23

    blake23 New Member

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    It has lost a few but not many. There are a few missing from the very tip of the tail. But I have it in lutan f now. Once this has soaked for about a day, what should I do about not having the tanning oil in yet since it is on back order? Can I freeze it?
     
  16. You can freeze it, or just order a different oil!
     
  17. blake23

    blake23 New Member

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    I already have Mckenzie oil. I didnt think it would be as compatable with the lutan f as the oil that i ordered. Will Mckenzie oil work?
     
  18. I would sure think so.