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Tanning a gator head

Discussion in 'Reptile Taxidermy' started by bhymel, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. bhymel

    bhymel Member

    How do you guys pickle and tan your heads, do I use the same recipe that I use for my mammal skins, then tan using a reptile tan, as you can tell not sure how to proceed forward, I have one of Tom Voyers DVDs which was excellent just did not cover the tanning process.

  2. ljones

    ljones 1994 wasco award winner

    last one i did was a 17 foot lifesize nile croc , i pickled it then tanned with lutan f

  3. bubba z

    bubba z New Member

    Tru bond works great and their website has gator specific directions. It'll take done work to clean it out and you can cut out most of the bones from the inside to get the meat out including the bottom jaw
  4. boarzhead

    boarzhead God created man... Samuel Colt made them equal!

    Alligator and Reptile Tanning Posted from Tru bond

    By Aubrey Young

    1. SALTING:3 days minimum-Remove as much meat as possible-split tail WELL, down the center to keep from losing the big scales in the center.(pressure washer above 2K psi)

    2. RE HYDRATION: Very soft skins- 2 to 3 hrs in plain warm water

    Slightly stiff- 3 to 5 hrs, warm water, per gallon add the fllowing-1/2oz citric, 1oz Lipa-Solve 55,an 1/4 lb salt. Hard salt dried- 5-15 hrs, warm water, per gallon add the following- 1oz citric acid, 1oz Lipa-Solve 55, 1/3 lb salt.

    3. PICKLING:per gallon of warm water(80degf) add the following- 2.5 oz CITRIC ACID(only use citric acid-well water-3oz citric per gal), 1lb salt, 1oz Lipa-Solve 77(not 55) It is OK for the pH to rise as high as 3, when pickling gators, or other scaled skins. Pickles that are too “stout”, will weaken scales and teeth. DON’T pickle at a pH below 2! Use small amounts of baking soda to raise pH if needed. If the pH of the pickle starts off a little below 2, it will usually rise to 2 or higher, after adding the skin. Pickle 48hrsminimum on small gators, 3-4 days on larger skins.(snakes, lizards-24hrs if thin)

    4. SHAVING: Shave belly skin, tails,and jowls if possible. Shave ALL reptiles at an angle to prevent the cutting of holes. Using the hour hand on a clock, shave from 2 to 8 o’clock. A pressucre washer, above 2000psi can also be used to remove all meat, fat, and connective tissue. As you are pressure washing legs, etc, you will see a “jelly” form. That is connective tissue that you can “roll off” with the washer. Then back to pickle overnight, 8hr minimum. Quickly rinse before neutralization. Drain 30 min.

    5. NEUTRALIZE: Briefly rinse skin with plain water. To every gallon of warm water, add the following. 1/4lb salt, 2oz baking soda. Add skin. Thin, small skins, 30min. Med skins-45min. Large gators, above 9′, 1 hour. Pull and quickly rinse. Drain 30 min.

    6. TANNING: To every gallon of warm water, add 1/2lb salt, 4oz of TruBond 1000B. TIP: shake well, add the TB 1000B to the container to be used, FIRST, before adding the water and salt. Mix and add skin. Use only enough water for the skin to move freely! Small skins- 8hrs in tan. Medium- All others, overnight. Pull and rinse Let drain for1hr. Skins can now be washed in a mild soapy solution, with 1/4salt per gal of water, IF NEEDED, for mounting. For flat skins or rugs, DO NOT WASH. You can thoroughly rinse the scale side with a hose, if any oily feel exists.

    Have a good one, and God bless! Aubrey Young-oldshaver P.S. An additional coat of Lubri-Stretch 2000 can be applied to Large gators, for added softness.
  5. bubba z

    bubba z New Member

    Get as much meat out of it as you can and I follow that and skip the salting step on alligators only and I never had a problem with them and I think you have less scale loss that way
  6. Patrick J

    Patrick J You've got me mistaken for someone else

    Be carefull with the pickle and lutan. My tanner I think pickled mine too long and the teeth came out like rubber and curled up as they dried
  7. bubba z

    bubba z New Member

    That is true definately don't leave it in the pickle too long
  8. bhymel

    bhymel Member

    How long in the pickle and what ph, I read on here about 8 hrs with a ph at 3. Is this correct?
    And how long in the lutan ?

    Thanks Billy
  9. bubba z

    bubba z New Member

    It depends on the thickness usually 3 days in the pickle for a decent sized gator is enough then put in the tan overnight and neutralize and oil it
  10. psycho

    psycho 2011 WORLD CHAMPIONS!

    Ditto to what Bubba said. :)
  11. I use krotan on all gator skins
  12. msestak

    msestak Well-Known Member

    what about the scutes, any special treatment needed for them?