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pickled skins ripping

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by jorgy, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. jorgy

    jorgy Member

    I had a few skins last year that wanted to rip while shaving them down. I am using the McKenzie safety pickle and keeping the pH in the range they say to. Once in awhile while fleshing I get a skin (all deer) that will want to rip like the acid has trashed the skin. Dont know what to do different.
  2. How much salt are you using per gallon?

  3. jorgy

    jorgy Member

    One pound per gallon. I follow the instructions just like on the jug and the pH always comes out just above 1.0. I always have to add just a bit of acid after a few days and then it will hold the pH low enough for quite some time.
  4. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Not sure why that's happening but the ph is to low and it should be kept at 2-2.5 range. Also you salimeter to check your salt content. I never go by what they may say. I go by what tanneries do measure the salt content to 42-44% in my water.
  5. The only thing I could come up with was lack of salt allowing the acid to burn the skins in the pickle.
  6. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Not sure what you mean by "all deer" in the same sentence with "Once in awhile". Is it all the deer you do, or occasionally one of the deer out of many will rip? I am assuming that you are excluding elk, moose and other cervids by your statement.

    If it is "all" deer then it may very well be the pickle. However, if it is the occasional one deer out of many then it surely does not point towards a flaw in your pickling system unless you are doing something different from batch to batch.

    All deer capes are not created equal.
  7. hounddoggy

    hounddoggy Member

    shouldnt hurt to add a tad of acid to keep pH good but "a tad" is different from person to person. adding to much acid AND NOT ADDING SAT could be dangerous. ALSO WHAT WERE THE TEMPS? IF YOU ADDED A TAD OF ACID (and no salt) AND IT WAS COLD ENOUGH FOR SALT TO FALL OUT OF SOLUTION THAT COULD BE AN ISSUE........ i stir my pickles 3 or 4 times a day and if it gets cold i turn on a heater in shop and may stir more. not saying thats your issue just trying to think and hopefully we can help figure it out.
  8. jorgy

    jorgy Member

    I meant it has only happened on deer capes, but not all of them it's just now and then. I am following the instructions on the acid. I have one that says to keep the pH in the 2-2.5 range. McKenzie says to keep it in the 1.0-2.0 range, which is what I was accustomed to when I was using formic.

    I dont believe it's a temperature issue. It's at room temp, around 70, all the time.

    I don't add much acid when the pH begins to climb. I only do two capes at a time in a 12 gallon pickle. I probably add a couple tablespoons to that to keep the pH down when it spikes after about 3 days. It seems to hold after that pretty well.

    I always thought a lack of salt would cause acid swell, but have never had it happen.
  9. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Have you had it happen to both capes from the same pickle?
  10. R.J. Meyer II

    R.J. Meyer II Member

    AND IT WAS COLD ENOUGH FOR SALT TO FALL OUT OF SOLUTION THAT COULD BE AN ISSUE.....And how exactly would that be possible ?
  11. At super cold temps salt will seperate from water. Not sure how cold but it can happen.
  12. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    At colder temps the amount of salt that a solution can hold will be less. However, I have never seen salt drop out of solution enough to cause these issues.

    It is not an issue that would cause hides to rip as stated.
  13. R.J. Meyer II

    R.J. Meyer II Member

    Ok thanks I have had solutions in 40 degree temps just sitting and they remained clear with no salt lying on the bottom of the black tub. You must be talking Damn cold for that to happen .................
  14. muscle20

    muscle20 New Member

    Never had salt separate from water, I store hides all winter long in temps exceeding - 30c and colder in pickles, so cold that if I throw water in the air it freezes before it hits the ground. All my pickles are maintained at a pH of 2.0 or lower, My advise would be is add more salt to your pickles to avoid acid swell in the first place, its cheap and will not hurt the hides or skins, more being a safety factor.
  15. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Have you had it happen to both capes from the same pickle?
  16. jorgy

    jorgy Member

    I honestly don't recall if it has ever been both capes from one batch. It just puzzles me what is going on with some of them. They want to rip on the edges while pulling them tight during shaving, but something has obviously damaged the skin.

    I really dont think it is anything prior to tanning. I wont accept anything with odor and always skin and flesh right away. They are salted, hung overnight, resalted the next day, and hung until they can be folded.
  17. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    That would be one of the most important observations. If both hides from the same batch show the same conditions then it points strongly towards that particular pickle batch. If, however, only one hide of a set were doing this then it is pretty strongly suggesting that it is NOT the pickle but rather a condition of the individual hide.

    I suggest you start taking notes on pickle batches and capes as you process them.

    Have you had any outbreaks of EHD in your area?
  18. jorgy

    jorgy Member

    Yes we have had some EHD. I think it's widespread this year with the heat and drought.
  19. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Last year? Is is possible the capes could be from a unhealthy animal?
  20. Rhino

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

    Buy some real acid! All that fake acid is junk! Probablly not the cause of the ripping though. ;D