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

Do I NEED to neutralize??

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by 8Point, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. 8Point

    8Point Member

    I pickle my hides. I'm wondering if the neutralization process is necessary. I've been having problems with acid shock to the hides.( where the fur "burns" causing a curl that can't be combed or corrected) due to the chemical reaction from the acid meeting the base ( ateast that's what I was told..... ) Please..... By all means correct me if I am wrong.

    I've been following the directions washing hides and using proper dose of soda but still am experiencing the problem. Is it necessary to neutralize? Any tips to fix the hair? Glue holds it down but when combed out it bounces back...... Any tricks?????
  2. IMNTM

    IMNTM Southern Wildlife Art Taxidermy

    A simple answer would be yes. Every tanning agent I have ever used needed a higher ph than that of the pickle to function (tan) properly. What type pickle & tan are you using?

  3. TomR

    TomR New Member

    Neutralization is not an optional step. Otherwise, your hide will remain acidic, the hair will fall out, and the skin will remain caustic.
  4. 8Point

    8Point Member

    It just seems odd that such an important step doesn't require an official PH test like it does when in the pickle. I other words I just bath it in the required bath ratio of water and soda for the length of time and assume its good? Just seems odd. I would think that this step would be crucial enough to require a PH test yet I haven't heard that people do that. What's the least amount of soda that I can use and still achieve proper PH level?
  5. You could try a slow neutralization.... Takes 4 hours. Last one I did this way came out perfect. Info is on pro-1's website.

    Posted using Outdoor Hub Campfire
  6. IMNTM

    IMNTM Southern Wildlife Art Taxidermy

    You do actually check it in a round about way when you adjust the ph on your tanning solution.
  7. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    You check the pH of the skin, not the bath. Pull the skin, give a part of the skin a squeeze to remove excess liquid and fold that part of the skin over the pH paper. I was experiencing hair curling like that also. Slow neutralization was suggested, so that's what I do now.
  8. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    Yes you need to neutralize for tans to bond correctly. Yes you need to check the pH of the skin. No its not acid that curls the hair its likely too fast of a neutralization process, yes slow it down and in increments. Im like 99% sure that youre the guy i spoke to at length about tanning and skipping steps within the last month. Im not sure why youd be asking this after all we went over? I wish you well with your future tanning...
  9. 8Point

    8Point Member

    I am the one that spoke on the phone with you about tanning and I took MANY notes. In fact you were the one that answered my question about why my fur is curling. I tried following directions to a T after we spoke only using the measured amount and tried to slowly introduce to the hide but I still ended up with a little curled hard but not nearly as bad as before. I just didn't know if anyone had any tricks to get it to lay back down. We also never really talked much about the "why" part of neutralizing or maybe I wasn't taking good enough mental notes. You gave so much info in such a short time it was hard to retain. Next time I will follow your instructions but lengthen it out much longer. I'm not trying to skip steps. I'm just asking to learn. I did learn more talking to you in that call than you could imagine. I'll try it on my next hide this weekend and let you know how that one goes. ( you and I talked more about why I was experiencing slip and krowtan vs pickle etc) thanks everyone for taking the time to respond!
  10. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Not the direction you want to go. You need to add more soda than required for pH adjustment, check the pH of the hide after the prescribed time and soak longer if need be..

    Baking soda is an acid salt. It can act as either an acid or a base under given conditions. We are using it as a base in this situation. It forms a buffer in solution and has a very mild effect on hides..

    See also:

  11. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    Cyclone, any idea why hes still getting that hair curl? We went over many things.
  12. sportsmen wildlife

    sportsmen wildlife New Member

    I believe the hair curling is related to bacteria damage and not anything to do with the actual tanning process causing the condition. Hair curling seems to always occur on the shoulders and on the sides of the face, and always on one side or the other. Could this be from a deer(dead) laying on its side where it rest on its shoulder and face in either blood or some other contaminate? I worked in a tannery in the past and now on my own, and we have gone at this for years. Salting a hide and getting the moisture content down as quickly as possible, seems to get good results, but does not eliminate it. Putting a hide directly in the pickle without salting seemed to really bring out the issue. I also worked in a shop that used dry preserve on every deer and never once had a hair curl issue, even on questionable hides, so thats something to think about. I just think if its an issue with raising the PH then it would affect the entire cape, pretty much curling the entire cape. Would love to hear some more ideas on this issue. Also, to get the hair to lay down just spray hair with water and take a small chunk of critter clay and rub it with the hair. Brush out when dry and clean residue with windex.
  13. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    I hear ya, theres no consistency yet no "for sure" answer. I have seen what looked like good capes curl upon neutralizing and i think thats the hottest reaction. But i have to admit seeing slippage areas curl too. I just dont know. I can say some cases wont lay even with cabosil/clay treatment.
  14. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    I just plain don't know that one. The first thing would be to distinguish if the burn was actually due to neutralization or if what is being observed is the hairs twisting in the follicles. Twisting in the follicles can be caused by shaving too thin and/or bad spots in the hide to begin with. The entire group of hairs will appear as a "cow lick" and are hard to align like mentioned even when gel or clay is applied. They most often appear, at least when I see them, on the shoulders.

    I have also seen hairs curl on the very ends which I would attribute to more of a chemical burn and could even be from dragging. Very few of us check the hides before tanning and probably wouldn't notice these abnormalities anyhow.

    Here is my suggestion. First, I'd drain the pickle solution from the hide. Then I'd rinse the remaining pickle from the hide with tap water. Place in a bucket partially full with tap water and then try a slow neutralization, mixing the bicarb in a separate solution then pouring in.

    To be frank, I've seen the curl, I occasionally get it but I've never been concerned that it was created by the neutralization step..
  15. Bootyshotnurse

    Bootyshotnurse New Member

    But what ph? All this talk and no science. I did the ratios suggested, but then found ph is 7 in my bucket and another google search said 4-5?
    what do you want the ph to read? Mine says 7…..but internet says 4-5?
  16. every formula and step mentions it.

    Over the years the pH has been dropped.

    I still alum tan, aluminum chloride only locks inabove 4 pH
    wrightwaytaxi likes this.
  17. Bruledrift

    Bruledrift Active Member

    This is like trapping otters and skinning them. All directions on skinning otter say about anything you do will cause them to singe, curling the fur ends. I wonder if it is the same with deer?