1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

Trouble with Pickle

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by Katie H, Dec 27, 2014.

  1. Katie H

    Katie H New Member

    I put a deer hide and a coon into the pickle the day before Christmas, and because we were having family over that evening and the next day I put the barrel in the basement. The hides don't seem to be getting very white, though. They aren't a bloody pink, but more of a dirty brown color. The pH has been kept below 2. I checked the air temperature down there this morning and it's in the low 50's...I might know what my problem is now.
    My question is, can I bring the barrel back upstairs where it's warmer without doing anything more to the pickle solution, or do I need to add more salt and acid? The hides aren't ruined, are they? I haven't noticed any hair slippage.
  2. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I'm a bit puzzled. If you pickle pH has been 2.0 and below, why are you concerned about color or temperature? Sure, a hide is better suited to absorb the pickle at room temperature, but if they've been in there and the acidity has been constant, the color has no bearing on whether or not the hide absorbs the acid.

  3. Katie H

    Katie H New Member

    The EZ-TAN 100 Tanning Instructions that I use say, "Do not let the temperature of the pickle go any lower than 55F. Low temperatures cause the salt level to drop, thus lowering the protection of the pickle." This is why I'm concerned. The hides just don't look like they normally do.
  4. muscle20

    muscle20 New Member

    Just keep enough salt in your pickle and the pH low, I store skins all year long in the pickle, in the winter months the temp is as low as -30 and there is not any ill effects on skins.
  5. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    What acid are you using?
  6. Katie H

    Katie H New Member

    Ok, that makes me feel a little better about it. Does anyone know why the hides haven't turned the nice white color?
    I am using Saftee Acid.
  7. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    It's never a good idea to keep pickle solutions in living quarters. Many acids give off fumes and, although safety acid is one of the low fuming acids, it still is not a good idea.
  8. twinrivers

    twinrivers Active Member

    Using saftee acid keep pH at 1, salinity at 40-43%, and temp @ or near 70degrees fahrenheit for optimal results. Normal room temp is 70 across the board with any pickle you choose to use, just a nominal temperature that is as I would say a standard in tanning. Not so sure it matters too much. As long as your at 50 I don't see a problem. Can't control temps always when the outside temps drop to zero. Hell it is hard to climate control any shop when outside temps drop to the extremes, but if you can stand to work in it your pickle should be fine I would say. My thoughts on the matter only.
  9. chasing the outdoors

    chasing the outdoors New Member

    I know a tanner that keeps his pickle barrels outside all year long. Ive even seen it snowing on them. If it matters, he uses formic acid.
  10. Bruce_Rittel

    Bruce_Rittel Consultant Services

    Hi Katie!

    You sound like a very concientis person – and I’d like to explain the reason why that “do not use Saftee Acid below 55 Degrees, or you will have problems” was included in the Instructions on using it.

    When Rittels first decided to include Saftee Acid in our inventory and market it, we obviously talked with our Salesperson and Manufacturer. They told me to include that – but it applied strictly to the pure Saftee Acid we sold bottled in Pints, Quarts and Gallons. These are pure Saftee Acid and did not contain Salt. Yes in temperatures below 55 Degrees Fahrenhiet it will begin to freeze, in fact we had a few do this when we stored them out in our Warehouse.

    I called the Manufacturer and he told me, move them to a warmer area, preferably 60-65 Degrees Fahrenhiet or above. Let them warm up and shake them everyday, until they thaw. Now you can use them, and there shouldn’t be any repercusions. The bottles we thawed took about 3 days to return to normal!

    I am unable to vouch for this happening once you use Saftee Acid and Salt in a Pickle. Once in the Pickle, the capes or skins absorb both the Acid and the Salt – and if you leave them there 3 days, and stir them once a day, they are usually thoroughly pickled. Plumped up ready to shave, degrease or wash. Normally they take on a translucent whitish color when they are thoroughly pickled..

    I cant explain why your capes and skins didn’t get that coloration. Maybe they didn’t remain in the warmer area long enough to thoroughly pickle before you moved them to the colder area, but hopefully, moving them back to a warmer area will do it.

    Cyclone is right when he says you can’t do this with all acids and salts, because they tend to fume. Healthwise it isn’t wise. However, unlike Formic Acid and others, Saftee Acid has very little fuming under the same circumstances. It’s a good Acid, and will not burn you if you make contact with the pure acid and wash it off within 8-10 seconds. It's also envoirmentally friendly when you dump it, but remember, you still have the Salt in it too.

    When you use it in a Pickle its very stable. Keep it below a 2.0 pH. My local water is a 6.8 Ph, and when I first mixed the Pickle it always read a 1.1 pH. However, once I added the skins or capes, it went to a 1.5 pH and usually stayed there. Try to keep it lower then a 2.0 pH. Like any Pickle try to stir it once a day to break up any accumulation of surface mold, which is airborne..
  11. Katie H

    Katie H New Member

    Thanks so much! You're explanation answered my questions for the most part. :)