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Self tan question.

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by 8Point, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. 8Point

    8Point Member

    I been looking around but can't find the answer to this.... what is the necessary amount of tan cream required to apply? (I use Mckenzie Tan) They say to brush on but that seems too light of a coat.....maybe I am using too much.,. I pour it on and rub in... maybe use about 1/2 a quart / cape.... also can the pickle brine be reused??
  2. 8Point

    8Point Member

    For those wondering, yes this is my first post.... I been following this forum to some time now and have learned A LOT!!!! Finally got courage to pot a question to all of the talent on this sight. Thanks in advance.

  3. Just brush on an even coat, you don't need it running off the hide or puddled up on it. You can reuse a pickle as long as the Ph is fine, but I never do. Is cheap to make a pickle brine and there will be stuff pulled from the skins left in the brine.
  4. 8Point

    8Point Member

    Thank you very much! You make a good point on the pickle. Making a fresh batch is cheap. Thanks again!

    TIMBUCK Active Member

    Pour it on the big areas and rub it in and dip your hand/fingers and rub it on the face and ears. There is really no wrong way just coat everything good.

    As far as pickle goes,I reuse mine.I run a lot of capes through mine before it gets to dirty. The key is to wash your capes clean before you put them in. Dirty pickle is no good. Keep your salt around 40 and your PH at 2-2.5 and roll on.

    Oh I use formic acid.It is the only acid I will use. Way to many issues with slippage using any brand of "safety acid". IMO it is junk and causes a lot of needless headaches.
  6. 8Point

    8Point Member

    Thank you very much for the reply! Keeping price clean makes sense.... I did notice a bit of slip.... I use the ultimate acid out of Mckenzie..... maybe I should try the stuff you are talking about.....
  7. 8Point

    8Point Member

    I meant keep pickle clean...

    TIMBUCK Active Member

    Some folks may have good luck with the new "safety acids" but i never have. I have been tanning my own capes and some for a few others for about 16 years and have tried it all at one time or another. I keep going back to Formic. It is the most stable Ive used other than Oxalic,which is good, but i like the way a formic pickled hide shaves better.

    Yes the key is to wash your capes and hides clean with water only before you put them in the pickle. I have ran as many as 70 capes through the same 50 gallon batch of pickle with absolutely no issues. Of course supply companies recommend you change very often because they are in it for the$$$.

    Good luck and PM me if I can help.
  9. 8Point

    8Point Member

    Thank you VERY much for taking the time to give much needed advice! I definitely will. I've learned so much since I've discovered this forum. I just appreciate people willing to lend advice. Thanks again!

    TIMBUCK Active Member

    Just some clarification. I wash my capes after I salt them. I only salt hides overnight. I never dry salt a hide. If i do not intend to pickle them right away a bag the and freeze them. It is not necessary to dry them hard. IMO. Others in the industry believe this also although some dont. I relax them in plane cool water,drain and then wash them good and throw them in the pickle.
    Make sure your salt concentration is at 40-45%. No lower.
  11. 8Point

    8Point Member

    Oh my gosh... I got lots to learn. I'm just taking notes now ...... not sure what the 40% is calculated by bit I'll read up on it. Not to sound repetitive but thanks.again!
  12. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    TIMBUCK, what are you talking about. You've already explained you don't know anything about acids. Formic acid us pure crap TO ME. When I'm pickling hides, the hide is already iffy. I want my pH to be 1.5 OR BELOW. You'll never get below 2.0 with formic. Safety acids get their name from not "boiling" the water when added like sulfuric acid does if you pour water in it.

    I change my pickle frequently, seldom over 2 hides. The pH doesn't tell you anything about the concentration in the solution. The "dirty" part is extraneous materials that can greatly effect the tan. For a few cents worth of acid and salt, there's nothing to be gained from extended reuse of a pickle.

    No one ever lost a hide because of a safety acid EVER. The most likely culprit was what happened to the hide before it entered the pickle.
  13. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    George, what ever you are typing on sure can make me scratch my head and say " what the hell are you saying". That nice feature on your device has you talking about " formica acid and forensic acid". I know that you were going for formic acid, but some times it can get comical. I agree with reusing the pickle only a couple of times as it can get pretty nasty after a few batches of clean hides go through two at a time. I keep my pickle at 1.5 to 2pH.
  14. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Tanglewood, you have not enjoyed life until you try to post with a damned DROID. If it doesn't like your spelling, it puts something it perfers instead. If you don't recheck it a dozen times, that's what you get. Sorry.
  15. 8Point

    8Point Member

    George don't worry about it. I use a Droid to and have the same probs. I can read between the lines when necessary.

    TIMBUCK Active Member

    George I'll make this short and sweet and will not continue to debate on this subject. What I know about tanning is what I have learned,not read or heard.I am sure you will have some far reaching, babbling response but you are WRONG..
    Carry on. :)
  17. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Well, I'm open minded. Don't try that "short and sweet" crap. There are others here trying to learn and a few who didn't take Mr. Wizard's chemistry kit and tan hides. If, in fact, I am "WRONG", I'm sure they'd like to know exactly what things you're referring to.
  18. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    Sometimes this site can get taxing. A whole industry full of tried and proven methods shared by those who have been around the block more that once, and up jumps the devil. Some guy who wants to rewrite the book and pass it along as being the NEW Gospel. There are a lot of recipe's out there for sure, but using a pickle over and over and over is a recipe for disaster. No wonder so many new people get frustrated with this site. People post bad advice and then someone has negative results because of it. But the perpetrator walks away scott free thinking his advice was righteous, and gets lippy with those who try to correct him.

    You know Evil Knievel was a calculated risk taker who broke every bone in his body more than once. I wonder how many kids broke their bones trying to do what they saw Evil do. Just because he was retarded doesn't mean we should all try to jump the Grand Canyon.

    What's funny here is George is correct, as usual. Formic is a viable acid for pickling, UNTIL you need to bring the ph back down because it has risen because the skin has wicked up the acid. So you need to kick it back down......how you gonna get there? Not with Formic without having to use more than would be necessary to make a new batch. Safety Acid WILL take you back down without having to use 3 times as much as with the formic, so why not make a new batch when you are introducing new skins to a pickle? Only REAL way to have a "SAFE" pickle. If you are using Formic and the need arises to bring the ph back down........cheapest and best way to get there is by using Safety Acid added to your Formic pickle. And salting is a necessary step. Don't fail to do it.
  19. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Sadly, Glenn Conley passed well before his time, but in leaving, he left invaluable advice for those of you just grabbing and guessing. Here is a C&P of his posting some years back. Glen requested Dr. Youshan Moodley to give his findnings on salt during tanning.

    Dear Taxidermists
    I have been prompted to add this to the Taxidermy.net forum. I am sure that most of you are aware of most of this, but please read further if you think that this may be of interest to you.

    When an animal is skinned and fleshed in the field, the best way to preserve its skin is to liberally apply rough salt (Sodium Chloride) to it and leave it to dry. Salt acts as a dehydrator and absorbs moisture (or [cytosolic fluid/color]) from the skin ([/epithelialcolor]) cells, markedly speeding up the drying process. It this rapid dehydration of cytosolic fluid that enables the epithelial skin cells to retain much of their intracellular organelles such as nuclei and mitochondria. If skin was simply left out to dry in the sun without the application of salt, then there would be enough time for the degradation of cellular material by proteases and lysozymes housed within the cell. If, on the other hand, the skin dried quickly enough to beat this degradation, the heat required to dry it this quickly would end up causing a similar amount of organelle and structural (cytoskeletal) damage.

    So, you see, there is no getting away from it, salting is the best way to preserve skins in the field. The quality of salt used may sometimes cause problems with the quality of the skins after tanning and it is always important that your clients make sure that the salt they use is first grade.

    From a DNA perspective, dry-salted skin harbours a gold mine of epithelial skin cells, each with more or less intact nuclei and mitochondria - the two organelles that harbour all our DNA. This is why we require only a small piece of skin for DNA studies. When we receive the skin piece we incubate it in an isotonic solution with 1% sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) and about 200ug/ml of proteinase. SDS is a powerful detergent which lyses the cell membrane which is made of fats or lipids. Then the proteinase chomps up the proteins of the cell indiscriminately, releasing the DNA molecules from the nucleus and mitochondria.

    We then apply phenol to get rid of the protein debris and separate these from the aqueous liquid which should by now contain just the DNA in solution. It is as simple as that!

    Every now and then we receive pieces of skin from animals that have died in the veld and have decomposed naturally. The hard skin, with cells completely degraded, may still house DNA, but without the protection of the cytoskeleton and the nucleus, this DNA has been broken up into very small pieces by the action of UV radiation from the sun. Luckily technology is of such a standard these days that we can even make use of this degraded DNA in genetics, although much more effort must be applied in order to get these samples to work in the lab.

    The most tragic element of taxidermy and museum curation is the tanning of skins. When this happens, the cellular and biological elements of the epithelial cells are replaced by chemical ones. The skin is virtually DNA free and is useless for any genetic or forensic investigations. It is unfortunate that tanned skins look and feel so much nicer than dry-salted ones and I do not blame taxidermists one bit for preferring to work with skins in this form.

    I thank you for reading through this and hope that it has been of some help.

    Yoshan Moodley
    Cardiff University

    I have a number of skin micro photography photographs floating around in here. Thing is, I have no idea as to where they are all at. I tend to respond to some of these posts in a spontaneous fashion if I already have the photos on file. There is one that I did remember the title of the thread, and found it using Google's main index.

    TIMBUCK Active Member

    With all the above being said you still do not have to salt dry a hide to get a successful tan.
    All good info but there are bunch of very successful taxidermists out there,myself included,who do not completely salt dry their skins.
    Ask around. You may be shocked.
    If you are going to store them then YES. Dry salt them. If they are going straight into the pickle then no.
    And you can use Formic to bring down the PH. Been doing it for years.
    Advising folks to mix acids is not wise.
    Tanning is not rocket science like some try to make it out to be. Its just not.
    Just ask a Indian.