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salted skins vs Pickle

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by falco, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. falco

    falco Trapping is fun

    Has anyone ever tried to softening up an african salted bird skins with the same Pickle solution they use for mammals ?
    Just wondering what that Formic acid solution is going to do with the bird skins ?
  2. Museum Man

    Museum Man Well-Known Member

    iv'e always just used water and dawn and never had a problem getting any salted skin soft again

  3. JBird

    JBird Member

    falco - call me or txt me or email me - I have a surefire way of rehydrating salted skins ;o)
  4. Shawn73

    Shawn73 Active Member

    j birds what is you way is it a secret ... :)
  5. igor

    igor Member

    I use just soapy water overnightr, then fleshing, then refreezing, then again ... till soft. Sometimes add some white vinegar in water for 15-20 mins. May be something similar to pickling solution? Probably not the best way but works for me.
  6. bowerbird

    bowerbird New Member

    two answers
    yes i do pickle some larger skins rather than salt TO SHIP, they hold longer and the chance of spoilage is reduced.
    i would not put a salt dried bird skin straight into a pickle,,its no better than a salt dried african cape into a pickle without the primary re-hydration and scouring,,,
    you will have a skin with little mercy for stretch.
    As Igor said, soak in soapy water flush out the salt, if its going to slip from poor salting it will anyway,,
    scrap off any membrane with a suitable tool or wire wheel, allow it to sit in soapy water for say half an hour, then rinse and refreeze to expand the skin.
    repeat the process above, until you can clean all the feather tracts and open the skin right up for final wheeling or tooling ,,
    the refreezing helps expand the ski and in the process of being refrozen helps re-hydrate joints so they can be worked over, if they are still giving you grief on the leg and wing joints, open them with a scalpel to allow the moisture in , reseal on the final mount close them with superglue and apoxie sculpt
    just my learned experience.....
  7. rai_red

    rai_red Active Member

    I use the same method like Igor and bowerbird, soapy water, refreezing and this procedure as often till the skin is soft again,

    PS : but I am also interested in your method, Jeff
  8. alexm

    alexm New Member

    Ben get some 55 from Siris great stuff rock hard impala 5 hr
  9. falco

    falco Trapping is fun

    Friends, thanks for the inputs.
    The soap water, freezing, and soaking and everything else in that regard, is all good. and I have tried them too with no issues.
    it just popped into my mind and I was just wondering if anyone has tried that mammal solution on birds to see the result. some tanning folks might have some ideas.
  10. taxos

    taxos Finches, Buntings

    Yep, soap water and ice!
  11. Just got done with a BADLY freeze dried turkey skin. Was pretty much rock hard even after it had thawed for a couple of hours. Soaked it in dawn soap and water and ice until I could unfold it, brushed on Stop Rot, refroze, took it out and soaked in a Lysol, Dawn soap solution. Kept taking it out and working it to get into all the nooks and crannies. Came out fine. Wheeling it was a little more work than a fresh skin, but it will mount up just fine.
  12. igor

    igor Member

    freeze burn skins are still easier than salted ones. Salt changes protein structure of a bird skin which makes impossible to relax it completely no matter what you do. Skins well fleshed in a field and not rock dry are easier to re hydrate. still not 100% relaxed.