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whitetail stretch

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by Andrew M, Feb 19, 2015.

  1. Ok so I use the McKenzie tan, I've done about 50 hides with it (mostly small game) and never had problem. I just finished a deer cape as a favor for a taxidermist that I know. When he gave it to me all salted I remember thinking that it was a pretty big cape, about 22" or 23". He didn't bother to measure the neck before he gave it to me, so no original measurements. Once tanned we measured the neck. could only get 20" inches stretching it pretty hard. I shaved it quite thin so I know it wasn't to thick. I've heard deer capes can shrink, but also that u can get a really nice stretch as well. What happened? I know it wasn't the tan because after I pulled it out of the pickle I did a quick measurement on it and it was 20''. Was it just the way the cape turned out? The only other thing i could think of would be the salt level? I usually keep mine at about 42 this one was closer to 45. Would that have anything to do with it? Are the any good tans out there that maybe have better stretch just in general?
  2. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    First off I don't use any kind of rub on tans that you have to make sure you mix it real good. That is an unstable tan........ Next to that your salt has nothing to do with it. Salt prevents acid swell in the pickle.
    Also I never heard of deer capes shrinking unless something went wrong.
    First off you never measured the cape in a raw state to get some kind measurement. You did try and get one from the pickle and that will not give you a true measurement for the pickle does shrink up the hide to aid in shaving it. After the neutralizing you could have gotten the neck measurement there and have some kind of idea on what you had for the neck size.
    Now you didn't explain to us your steps in neutralizing or if you even oiled the hide after you tanned it. These are important steps here.
    e one of the best)
    You also stated the cape wasn't thick. So was it an early archery cape. Generally after that those necks swell up with thick skin due to the rut and sometimes need a double shaving around the neck area only.

    If your looking for a good rub on tan there are three that come to mind that are awesome for the home tanner, Liqua-tan (been around for years and proven to be one of the best). Next to that you have Tru-bond and Pro-1 that do wonders but with all tans you must follow directions to the T.
    Hope this helps out.

  3. What kind of tans are there? What kind of tan do you use? I thought all tans were brushed on. What type of tanning methods do the big tanneries use? The cape was not an early archery cape, i should have specified that. It was a late season cape. It had a thick neck, I shaved it down so it had a thin neck. here's my tanning process.The formula for the pickle is, for every 1 gal. you use 1 pound salt and 0.5 oz of acid (Mckenzie acid) I already had a 40 gal. (40 pounds salt, 20 oz acid) pickle that had been previously used. The pH was at 1.5 where it is supposed to be. the salt level was 45. I monitored the pH, and the salt level closely. After the hide had been in the pickle for a week I shaved it. Overall the hide was in the pickle for about 2-3 weeks. The neutralizing method is, for every 1 gal water you put half a Tablespoon of baking soda in. Mckenzie directions stated that the minimum for whitetail pickle is 5 gal. water (so 5 pounds salt, and 2.5 oz acid) and the neutralizing minimum is 5 gal. water and 3 tablespoons baking soda. my neutralizing bath was 25 gal. water, and the amount of baking soda was 15 TB. (I think I may have put a little more baking soda in, besides the point) I dried the cape, applied the brush on tan. I let it sit overnight. I next washed it, and then I dried it. I've heard a lot about Liqua tan, i might switch to that. Thank you for your input!!
  4. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Quite a silly question if you really want to know. You are trying to make a cape to what you thought it was without initially measuring...

    Just about every hunter that ever had a deer mounted "thinks" it was bigger that what it really is...

    If you've "never had a problem" before then what makes you think that your have one now?

    What did it measure when you re-hydrated it?
  5. I don't mean it to be a silly question. Most people talk about how they get lots of stretch out of a cape. I, on the other hand, haven't gotten any stretch and seems to have shrunken. just trying to understand why that would be. True I've never had a problem with it, but as I stated before I tan mostly small mammals not many deer. I was curious if maybe the whole tanning process would cause less stretch than it should. I've never payed much attention to how far my raccoons or other small skins would stretch cause it didn't matter, but for deer (from what i understand) should have an element of stretch. Thus my questions.
  6. btw its not my cape so I could care less for how big it is. i just want to be able to tan hides correctly.
  7. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    How did you re-hydrate it?
    How did you thin it?

    You can't really start with the end product and try to figure out what went wrong from there. You'd need those initial measurements. In a case such as yours where you don't have them you follow directions, hope for the best and work with whatever final measurements you get.

    First thing I'd suggest is to take a piece of you pH paper and determine the pH of the flesh side of the skin. Anything below a pH of 4 and you need to neutralize more.
  8. It had been salt dried, so I just stuck it into the pickle. I thinned it with a Dakota V. What kind of tan do you use??
  9. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Mistake #1, not re-hydrated after salt drying. You must rehydrate until the hide is as pliable as it was when fresh in order for the pickle to take effectively. There are a lot of substances that come out of the hide when re-hydrated. You cannot re-hydrate effectively in the pickle. Rehydrate in 10gal water with 1/2 cup salt.
  10. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    I would really should sit down and do a lot reading here on tanning. Type in hydrating hides , how to neutralize ( one table spoon of baking soda to a gallon of water to a good handful of salt) different tans etc.

    There is no major tannery that does rub on tans. Now do they use them? Yes in conjunction to other tans. I use along with other tanneries use a soak tan for our hides. It's a much better tan that work from both sides(epidermis and flesh side) to tan. There are many different one out there. I use EZ-100. It's a garment tan and one of the best out there.

    There was a lot of mistakes made in process.
  11. You've all answered my questions. I'll be sure to read up on tanning. Thank you all for replying!
  12. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Read and keep asking...

    To answer one of your questions, I've used Liqua-Tan in the past with good results and am now trying Trubond. Trubond is proving to be very good for my purposes.