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beginners: Don't soak your skins in salt water!

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by ginevive, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. I have seen it more than a few times; bogus info is going around advising people to soak small animal skins in salt water.

    Please do not do this; you will most likely ruin your hide. Skin it, rough flesh and salt to dry before putting it through a proper pickle and tanning process (enough has been written here that I do not have to repost all of the how-to on that; so a search.)

    Or look into the denatured-alcohol (NOT rubbing alcohol) soak/pickle method and skin and do that for small mounts. Just don't soak it in salt water, or soak it in rubbing alcohol and attempt to freeze it. These are great starts to ruining your hide.

    I am not sure where this is originating; maybe the self-proclaimed 'rogue' taxidermists out there who are okay with having nonpreserved bug-attracting things in their collections. (I am not a rogue taxidermy hater; I love the properly-done stuff; but I am tired of people selling unpreserved stuff that is going to mold and draw bugs to unsuspecting buyers.)

    Also, you kids who are dabbling in protected species like native US owls and hawks.. you are playing with fire. Stop making hawk feathers into earrings and trying to sell them. Nobody likes you and you are basically the taxidermy equivelant of an illegal drug dealer, broadcasting yourself to the world online. Stop.

    Just a little public service announcement.
  2. duxdown

    duxdown New Member

    Yeah what she said ! Lol

  3. Denton Shearin

    Denton Shearin 2009-Breakthrough Award, McKenzie Award,

    Good words...solid advice
  4. Very well put, I just pray the right people see it.
  5. i was told by someone to rehydrate tanned pelts in salt water .. which i did. and they turned out fine other then the fact they have dried a bit cause i left them in the fridge for a bit too long (although no slipping and appear to be fine) gonna mount them tomorrow. i tested oen and it worked out well but i had to take it off cause i didnt put glue on lol
  6. duxdown

    duxdown New Member

    Big difference in rehydrating and trying to keep or preserve a specimen with salt water
  7. B Jones

    B Jones Memeber of - NTA,UTA,AIT.Proud Member of NZTA.

    Well put Jen. These rogue people are dealing with fire and they will get burned.
  8. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Great post, Jen.
  9. RTF

    RTF Active Member

    50/50 mix of DA and Turpentine does wonders.
  10. Would this apply to fawn also?
  11. B Jones

    B Jones Memeber of - NTA,UTA,AIT.Proud Member of NZTA.

    ? Why wouldn't it, just leave out the turpentine.

    I sure looked right past that one George.
  12. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Hold the phone. I can understand the denatured alcohol, but WHY would anyone use turpentine on a hide? Turpentine is distilled pine tar and has a negligible pH. Intentionally placing it on a haired hide is going to induce matting of the hair and a very discernable smell that will eventually have to be removed with some type solvent - perhaps the denatured alcohol that you mixed it with to begin with.
  13. B Jones

    B Jones Memeber of - NTA,UTA,AIT.Proud Member of NZTA.

    Clifftax, it trying to insult you but what does the turpentine do besides make the mixture stink to high heaven.
  14. whoops. read the post wrong D:
  15. RTF

    RTF Active Member

    On the turpentine mix issue you'd have to dig into Chuck Testa's head. He swears by it. But there was also an article written about it many years ago in a magazine called Taxidermy Review, title "Laboratory Techniques for Mounting Rabbits and other Small Mammals"
  16. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Cliff, Chuck Testa and Taxidermy should never be used in the same sentence. I knew OLD guys when I first started that swore that Griffin's Liquid Shoe Polish was the answer to all the tanning issues.
  17. duxdown

    duxdown New Member

    Lol! George I was thinking with all the advantages we are afforded today why would we even go there? If we're gonna we just as well get your old porcelain tub and some battery acid back out too. :)
  18. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    Are you talking about a generalization or ever because I and several other successful taxidermists do soak raw hides in salt water in rare instances. For steer, bison, elk, and other large, thick hides that I get--especially in the summer--I make a brine with a huge amount of salt. I was told to do this by Michael P. after I kept having slipping on steer hides. It was confirmed by someone else as well. Are you talking about just regular salt water, or does that include a super salty brine? If so, what's the reasoning?
  19. RTF

    RTF Active Member

    Nope, I guess not.
  20. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I don't know, I think Chuck Testa is awesome when it comes to taxidermy. He had me sold on his skills when I went to his website and saw him paint three long and wide solid black lines down the inside of the ears on his blacktailed deer heads. Check your references. Those solid black stripes are pure genius I tell you.