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Thawing in pickle or brin

Discussion in 'Lifesize Mammals' started by taxidermyfun, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. taxidermyfun

    taxidermyfun New Member

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    I read on a couple posts that someone was told to thaw an iffy hide in a pickle solution. I was wondering what some of you veterans of taxidermy and or tanning have to say, if anything about this. Thanks
     
  2. BrianHendricks

    BrianHendricks Member

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    I have been thawing in a pickle for many years with no bad results. Always check the ph and salinity before use. I Like to move the animal or skin around at first to saturate and release air. Skins such as bobcats and smaller will thaw very quickly. I Then prep the skin and return to the Pickle. The Pickle will toughen the skin and prevent slippage on fragile critters like rabbits. Can't guarantee your results but I have thawed hundreds of animals like this and never had a problem. 1lb. Salt per gal. Water. ph of 1.5-2 Keep skin submerged while in solution.
     

  3. taxidermyfun

    taxidermyfun New Member

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    Thanks for the reply Brian, what about thawing the whole animal before skinning in the pickle? Then flesh and turn and salt hide? then back in the pickle?
     
  4. BrianHendricks

    BrianHendricks Member

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    Sorry, guess I wasnt real clear on that. Yes you can. That is especially good for the thin skinned and small stuff. Rabbts, weasels, etc. Much easier to skin with the hide toughened up. It's pickling from the outside in so the epidermis sets first. Eliminating the "hand heat issue ". Allow them to pickle over night. Fat skins like skunks and raccoon can be put right into the pickle after fleshing. The Skins I offer for sale have mostly been handled this way. Even with the feet in I can ship them in warm weather without fear of slipping. I'm No tanning expert so I don't know where the line is on needing to salt heavier hides that have been thawed this way. I've thawed Bears that come in frozen in a ball like this but always salt because I send them out for tanning. Hope that's helpful !
     
  5. The only issue for me is the blood coagulating in the pickle, so you need to brush that out of the hair in the end. Other than that I have never had any problems thawing raw skins in a pickle. Never tried entire animals though.
     
  6. ice

    ice Active Member

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    If a frozen small mammal was going to be freeze dried, and the hide was somewhat questionable, would thawing in the pickle be helpful?
     
  7. BrianHendricks

    BrianHendricks Member

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    Don't know the F D process but that's the big advantage to pickle thawing. It can't reverse any damage but stops it from spoiling more. Worth a try on a practice specimen.
     
  8. A D S

    A D S New Member

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    Brian, if you thaw a specimen in a pickle with 1.5 to 2 ph, do you neutralize it before skinning or fleshing then put it back into the pickle after turning and salting?
     
  9. BrianHendricks

    BrianHendricks Member

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    Absolutely not ! That would defeat the purpose. The acid ( low ph ) is prohibiting bacterial growth. Raising the ph would permit bacterial growth again. I believe bacteria can begin to be a problem from about ph2.5 on up. Important to keep an eye on the ph.
     
  10. A D S

    A D S New Member

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    I understand that point. Sorry I was a little vague. I was wondering about the acid getting all over while fleshing....contacting skin or fumes....even if you let it hang until it stops dripping first. I use saftee acid and it's still pretty strong stuff. I've always let the skin thaw until its able to unfold it with force, then put it in warm water and lysol to thaw for about 30 mins. I havnt ever had a skin slip, but I do have a couple questionables coming up, so I appreciate the advice.
     
  11. BrianHendricks

    BrianHendricks Member

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    I Guess I should have given some precautions. I Use Mck. ultimate acid which is probably similar. I Wear nitrile gloves and squeeze them out well. I put an old towel on my bench. Large animals I work on over or in a plastic tub. It can be a little messy but hey , they're dead animals. It's just a different messy. So many methods in taxidermy are based on someones good or bad experiences. I'm Thinking you've been quite lucky with the Lysol and warm water. My opinion is that warm water and Lysol could be a ticking bomb. Between the temperature and the high ph it scares me. Lysol like lime , being alkaline ( high ph) is used to slip hair when making leather and warmth promotes bacteria growth. Maybe two negatives make a positive in this case, but I wouldn't count on it. Maybe one of the tanning guys can help us out here. I'm Not a chemist or tanning specialist. I don't mean to offend you, just warn you. Hopefully we're headed in the right direction here.
     
  12. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    I have never thawed in a pickle but do thaw many things such as cow hides, deer hides and some bears in a brine. Usually these things come in rolled up tight, the outer most parts thaw quickly but the rest can take days to thaw out. I mix up a brine with at least 1 pound of salt to each gallon of water and drop them in. They usually thaw out in a few hours, if you keep checking them and working them loose. Let them drip dry and get to fleshing and then into the salt, have never had any issues yet. A bonus on cattle or buffalo hides is you can hose the manure off before fleshing.
     
  13. A D S

    A D S New Member

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    I never knew Lysol could do that! I just thought it would kill bacteria and prevent slippage. The warm water is for thawing, but cools fast as the frozen parts thaw. Maybe I am lucky and am going to screw myself if I keep it up. Hope a chemist is watching....I'd sure like to know. I'm in so cal, and leaving a skin to thaw overnight doesnt always work here. I try to get everything fleshed and tanned in the winter months to prevent uncertainties, but it depends on a lot of factors. I also wash capes and skins in Lysol and cold water after skinning to clean blood,dirt and debris off. Then I squeeze them out and double bag for freezer storage. Funny, after I neutralize my skins after pickling, I wash again in simplegreen and tide to stop any acid swell, and add some fresh clean smell. Wonder if its all for nothing or if I'm doing something right. Like I said, never had a slip yet.
     
  14. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    When I thin my capes, it is done on a fleshing wheel and the hide is out of the pickle and drained. I might be exposed to un neutralized capes for 30 min to a couple of hours as they go back into the pickle when I'm done. This is no different, exposure wise, than skinning an animal that has un neutralized pickle in and on it. Tanners all over are doing it daily, so i think it is pretty safe. Wearing gloves is a must in my opinion.
     
  15. ADS you have been very lucky using Lysol and other solutions to wash skins. Be careful.