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getting started building tumbler

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by briar1, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. briar1

    briar1 New Member

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    i am looking for a few answers on building a tumbler.
    1. i am going to build an 8' tall drum but how wide should it be?
    2. i was reading that it should turn at about 18-20 rpms. is this correct?
    3. how course should the saw dust be to "break" the hides down for a soft tan?
    4. do the thick hides have to be shaved thin for a soft tan or will leaving them in the tumbler longer break thru the thickness across the back.
    any info will be extremely helpful, thanks to whomever responds, gary r.
     
  2. 1) 3' is sufficient
    2) 17 or 18 is fine
    3) wood flower or a fine corn grit. Any courser will be a nightmare to screen out.
    4) You will never achieve a very soft tan on anything except maybe small fur bearers without properly shaving.
     

  3. 3' is not sufficient. I use the coarse sawdust from Jonas/Knoblochs on everything from small game to large game.
     
  4. unless you are running large bunches of hides at once 3' x 8' is more than sufficient. It will keep the sawdust concentrated in the drop. If you make it to wide you will have to use a lot more medium. If you start running thick fures/hides such as bear, bison, sheep...you will find the course sawdust is a lot harder to remove.
     
  5. I thought you were talking about the height! Sorry! Mine is 3' wide and MVT is correct, it does concentrate the drop weight.
     
  6. briar1

    briar1 New Member

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    thanks to you both for your replies. What exactly do you mean or how do you screen the the material.

    and how many pounds of material per hide. nothing more than or bigger than deer, beaver, muskrat?
     
  7. screening or caging is the process of running your hides in a drum with open screens in it to help remove the sawdust/grit. 200 to 300lbs of grit is the typical weight I run. That will have to be adjusted on your end depending on quality of tan and oil you use and the results you want to achieve.
     
  8. briar1

    briar1 New Member

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    thanks, you have been a great help. i appreciate your time responding. Gary
     
  9. briar1

    briar1 New Member

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    MVT (or anyone)--i built the above tumbler 4'x8' and have put a 3hp DC motor to it with 2 sets of pullies (4" to a 16" and a 6" to a 14"). my question is that i have only been able to put about 35-50lbs in it. Using oak saw dust. the motor will spin with that weight but no more. is there something that u hear here that i am doing wrong? you said you are using 200-300 pounds of weight! i am not even close to that. here is my phone if you wouldnt mind calling me. i might be able to explain a little easier 314-974-8540. i will try to get a few pics put on here of it.

    i did shave and tumble 3 coons in it and it softened them very nice (with the 35-50lbs for 2 hours) but the oak dust stained the skins a dark chocolate brown. is there a video or something anyone would recommend? or other advice?
     
  10. Put a gear box on it and use a dual belt setup to gain the strength for more sawdust. Don't use sawmill dust. Buy it from Jonas or Knoblochs.
     
  11. briar1

    briar1 New Member

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    thanks for the input, a local friend suggested a gearbox and i will see if i have enough room for a dual pulley off the shaft.

    i know the sawdust draws moisture from the skins so do i use the softening oil before putting them in the tumbler or after? i noticed the ones i have tumbled already got soft but after sitting only 24hrs they stiffened up again somewhat...i didn't use softening oil.
     
  12. Oil them liberally with a good oil like Knoblochs no 1. Allow the skins to dry to 75 % and then tumble them.
     
  13. briar1

    briar1 New Member

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    thanks J Brown II, you have been a big help. i keep practicing :).