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just a thought on salting

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by hounddoggy, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. hounddoggy

    hounddoggy Member

    I read where a lot of you guys and girls salt until dripping stops and then re hydrate/pickle. i salt my capes until they are hard. I know alot of people say it isn't necessary but i really wonder if it is better to salt capes hard.

    my thought on it may be wrong but here goes. skin is pliable. it stretches. if you salt a cape til hard is there a benefit? i wonder if dry salting breaks down or stretches and rips structures within a cape. i would love to hear from the experts on this. a cape salted for a short period of time doesn't have everything removed or it wouldn't be pliable/flexible so i know that no structures within the skin are being ripped and stretched. i compare it to tenderizing meat. the constriction and shrinking involved with dry salting in my mind would actually give you a softer stretchier end product due to what is happening. it would be awesome if we could video exactly what happens when a skin is dried by salting. as a cape dries things are bound to rip shrink pull away and to me that means during re hydration more junk can in effect be released from the cape and that means more room for tan and lubrication. maybe my overly busy mind is going to far with this but i like to dry my capes hard the re hydrate maybe its better maybe its not

    love to hear thoughts from people smarter than me and there are plenty of you on this site! good night to all
  2. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Shallow minds should be careful around deep thoughts.

    That's been an ongoing debate for years, but to date, no one has convinced me of the benefits of removing all the water from a hide and then rehydrating it to get it moist again. No one has ever shown me that any "breaking down" occurs during a dehydration. If that were true, rawhide leather would disintegrate and we all know that's not happening. The late Glen Conley's friend, Dr. Hooshan Moodley has a superb dissertation on here concerning the use of salt on animal skins. MY contention is that when the hide stops "dripping" all the fluids that could be removed, have been. The hide is not "hard", simply because of moisture maintained within the cell walls themselves. Introducing the hide to a pickle then, allows for the natural osmosis and introduction to the pickle solution deep within those "thirsty" cells. If you need to rehydrate a hide before you pickle it, all you've done is to get it back to the same dimension it was BEFORE it was dehydrated. MY contention is that drying a hide out completely comes from a time when hides were gathered in places far away from processing plants and tanneries. Quickly drying the hide was the only means of preservation. That's why I think it continues today under that same old,"We've always done it that way" mantra.

  3. There are fors & againsts for both methods , Salting till hard ~ I have just rehydrated 2 capes , 1 salted hard the other salted till dry to touch but still flexible , ( each in there own tub with a similar amount of water ) the water that the hard 1 is in is much darker than the other at the end of this process, however it takes much more time to rehydrate ~ more chance of bacterial infection ? Maybe this has allowed more protiens to be released ? The down side that I find is that if these dry salted capes are left for a considerable time prior to tanning you can get a greasy film on the flesh side that the rehydration solution battles to get through .
    I think that is the same question as " How long is a piece of string ?" Answer ~ twice half its normal length .
    Everyone has thier own opinion , all we have to do is respect them & give advice when asked .
  4. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    I like the way you think Doggie.. I have my doubts, however that salting creates all of that ripping and tearing that you speak of.

    Ever air dry a hide? It gets stiff as well. Why are they harder to re-hydrate? Why don't they turn the nice white color that salted hides do?
    Without salt, the collagen structure within the hides are subject to hydrogen bonding when drying, very strong bonds that are short and difficult to break. The result is longer re-hydration times.

    Add salt to the curing process and it penetrates the collagen structure and inhibits much of the hydrogen bonding. Salt, being ionic and easily dissolved in water, draws water back into the structure during re-hydration. Faster re-hydration with the added bonus of cleaning the collagen lattice structure of non-tannable proteins and other gunk..

    Need to be salted hard? Naw, I get just as much gunk out of the hides when not salt dried hard as when they are. It is a matter of preference and storage longevity.
  5. hounddoggy

    hounddoggy Member

    "all of the fluids that could be removed had been" George

    "the pickle that had the cape which had been dried hard was much darker removed more?" nts2010

    " cleaning the collagen lattice of non tannibles protein gunk" cyclone

    it could even be argued that drying hard could impede the releasing of non tannibles i guess. a cape that isnt dried hard but is agitated during rehydration and or pickle (??) interesting stuff

    i wont feel the absolute need to dry my capes hard anymore but i WILL rehydrate them even if i dont salt them hard.

    glad to hear your thoughts i certainly respect the knowledge you 3 have

    have a great day and hope you have a great season!
  6. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Why would you rehydrate them?
  7. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    I get no less than 3 pages of hits for proper "re-hydration" that I have contributed to..the topic has been covered once or twice.

    There are several links included below started by Oldshaver. Do not skip over those..they are full of information.

    George, it is well documented in tanning literature of the benefits of salting and re-hydration..

    among others:













    Read, enjoy and come back with some ideas Doggie..
  8. springer1

    springer1 Member

    you re-hydrate to allow pickel process to achieve maxium effiencey to break down bacteria in the leather(both sides) this sets the hair in the hide (as far as difference)i have tanned straight from animal to pickel ,from trapper dried capes no difference in softness,as far salt making it easier for a hide to break (stretch /pliable) its in the tan & shave.
  9. hounddoggy

    hounddoggy Member

    thanks for taking the time to list those posts! i spend 95% of my taxi.net time in the archives. i read each of the links you attatched. for whatever reason i like salt drying my capes re hydrating THEN pickling. i rarely add much if any salt to my re hydration baths unless i know it was a nasty cape. Maybe im to picky but to me its one of those if it aint broke dont fix it types things.
  10. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    I'm not familiar with this process, please elaborate..
  11. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    There were several more pages of links..
  12. Bruce_Rittel

    Bruce_Rittel Consultant Services

    I'll say it again - "Tanneries handle 1000's of skins". They will recieve skins wet or damp - then Salt them and dry them hard. They cant afford to lose a skin or cape. Do they have a "loss problem"? It seems that only the guys handling 25-100 skins or capes have a problem - deciding on getting their skins dry like the Tanneries or trying to process them damp.

    Keep in mind the drying hard also helps a Tannery keep the skins so they can safely store them intact until they schedule processing them. But - it doesnt seem to affect the final product!