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The importance of neutralisation-more than you think!

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by Rhino, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Rhino

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

    The obvious reason, is to prevent skin deterioration,after being in acidic bath.

    First thing to remember, is, the stronger the acid, the harder it is to neutralise. The neutralising process NEEDS to remain flexable.
    Always use baking soda! Its safe! When using stronger acids, increase the amount of soda, to at least 2oz per gallon(3oz OK), and increase the time in the bath(up to 1hr). 30min, and 1oz, DONT cut it!
    Thicker skins, also NEED additional time and soda.If you think about it, its just common sense.

    Neutralising the mineral submersible tan(excluding EZ100) An example would be Lutan. Neutralising this tan is importantant in the following ways.
    1. The recommended finish pH, actually FIXES, or locks in the tan. Without proper FIXING, the tan can be washed out. Mineral tans are attracted to acidic collagen, an are neutralised AFTER the tan is introduced.
    2. The oil you apply to this type of tanned skin, FIXES to the tannage, so it remains in the skin to some extent, and cant be washed out. Skin remains soft.
    Without proper neutralisation, washing before mounting, will wash out the tannage, and oil. Drumming and pulling in sensitive areas will take place. You mounted raw hide.

    The PAINT-ON TAN: synthetic(include EZ100 in this group-its a submersible, but a synthetic)
    1. Most, if not all of the synthetic tannages used in todays taxidermy tans, REQUIRE a skin to be FULLY neutralised before application. This type of tan, unlike the mineral, is attracted to collagen with higher pH values.(mineral tans are attracted to acidic collagen)
    2. NO TANNING TAKES PLACE, without through neutralisation. REMEMBER THIS!

    So to make a LONG STORY short, you neutralise according to the type of acid you pickle with, the type of tan you use. and the skin being neutralised.

    EXAMPLE: Safety acid=STRONG 2oz soda per gallon,and 45min to 1 hour in bath for most skins
    Citric-1oz 30-45 min should suffice on thin skins.

    Know your acid strength, know the tan, and adapt to skin size and type! (Boar- tight weave collagen=up the time and soda) Gentle aggitation, and warm water, is ALWAYS beneficial!

    Hope this helps someone!

    P.S. - Dont worry about the pH of the neutralisation bath, when using baking soda. I have learned over the years, baking soda is very forgiving on epidermis, hair, etc!
  2. juniper

    juniper Active Member


    Last weekend I screwed up. I guess it was to early in the morning.
    I tan with lutan, I pulled the deer cape out of the tan with out fixing it. I forgot to add the soda...It hung for approx 30 min before it clicked in I didnt add the soda to fix the cape. I then mixed a water/soda bath and soaked for 20 min.
    I then let it drip dry, dried, added my oil and froze.
    I will be tanning again this weekend. Should I wash the cape ( to remove the oil ) and put it in the tan again just before I fix the other capes ?

  3. DOUG H

    DOUG H Member

    Thank you for the info,very helpfull. Doug
  4. Rhino

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

    Do this. Wash the cape, adding 1/4 lb salt, 1oz baking soda, and 1oz dawn, or the de-grease of your chosing(surfactant type-soapy), to warm water. Place the cape in this solution for 30min, while gently aggitating every 10 minutes or so. Then wash as normal in this solution. Cape will be fine.

    It kinda depends on the acid you used to pickle with, weather this is being a little anal or not? Doing something right, is never a waste of time!

    Some might think the pH of the wash itself, without the soda, might finish "fixing" the tan, but it wont. Not enough "punch".
  5. juniper

    juniper Active Member

    Thanks Oldshaver

    PS.The acid was Safety acid
  6. So if you use formic acid on deer capes would you suggest to use 2 oz of baking soda per gallon of water and about a 45 minute soak when using tru bond brush on tan? I have been using the 1oz per gallon of water for 30 min like the direction say.

  7. why, when using an auto tanner, neutralizing isnt called for after removing from the tanner?