# FORMIC ACID PICKLE

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by 1tahr, Nov 2, 2015.

1. ### 1tahrActive Member

HI ALL, IVE FOUND 3 DIFFERNT FORMIC ACID PICKLE RECIPES ALL WITH DIFFERNT AMOUNTS OF ACID PER WATER , CAN SOMEONE TELL ME THE CORRECT AMOUNT THE ACID I HAVE IS 85% THANKS

2. ### cyclonePosts: 400001

1.5 ounces acid
1 lb salt
1 gallon water

Check the pH, get it below 2.5..After adding the hide check the pH daily.

3. ### 1tahrActive Member

hi thanks, what is the outcome if the ph is higher , will this help cause slip cheers

4. ### Frank E. Kotulamaster, judge, instructor

yes if your pH is higher than 2.5 which is what we use to base it on you might get some bacteria growth and it may happen. A pickle is to be kept at a 2.5 or lower 2 is best. Now any lower is ok but you may get what we call hair swirl but the hide will still be fine.
If your capes are in the acid for a long period of time (that is an a high pH then yes you may get slippage) for you see a cape can be kept in a salt solution for two days for hydration any longer and you can get slippage.
There is always a possibility any time to get slippage if you don't follow the rules and even then it can happen (murphy's law comes into effect)

5. ### 1tahrActive Member

thank you I value your knowledge

6. ### Bruce_RittelConsultant Services

I always weigh my skins or capes. If they weigh 40 Lbs. I need to use 2 Quarts of Pickle per 1 Lb. of Wet, Drained, Skin weight. Or in this case 40 Lbs. = 20 Gallons of Pickle!

Then I use 85% Formic Acid. The following formula -

For every 1 Gallon of Water (8.5 Lbs.) used for your Pickle
Add 1.1 Oz. (by Weight) of the 85% Formic Acid
1 Lb. of Salt (Iodized or Non Iodized)

Your pH should read 2.2-2.5 pH (dependent on your local Water Source pH). Salinity 40-43%. I always kept my Shop about 70 Degrees Fahrenhiet.

Always Wear Gloves and avoid splashes. Exposure to your skin can severaly burn you.

7. ### Bruce_RittelConsultant Services

Something else you should know about Formic Acid. The Formic Acid has a habit of what is called " Bottoming out" when you use it. As an example - when you use it and get a 2.2 pH using the instructed dosage - no matter how much Acid you add afterwards, it does not change that Bottom reading. Add 1.2 Oz. (by weight) per 1 Gallon of 85% Formic, to get a 2.2 pH reading, and you can also add 6.0 Oz. per 1 Gallon and still get the same reading. The pH Reading will not go lower.

Bruce,

9. ### Frank E. Kotulamaster, judge, instructor

Pickles can be reused many times over. The only reason to really to dump a pickle is contamination from a bad cape, bloody mess greasy bear hides. Dirt will not harm the pickle at all, just makes it dirty so I like to rinse my hides off in cool water after I hydrate them to keep a pickle as clean as I can.

always make sure you check the pH and salt content in the pickle to insure a safe pickle.

10. ### RhinoToo many irons in the fire will put the fire out!

You can reuse a Formic pickle, but it starts to what I call "sour" and stink a little. Also have seen mold growing in one before , after being reused multiple times. Not to mention what Bruce touched on about it "bottoming out". Everything just becomes too "iffy" in my opinion.
Relying on a salinometer to aid in reusing pickles, will eventually bite you! After the first or second usage, the salinometer becomes useless. It starts measuring "suspended solids" , instead of salt content. The more dirty the water gets, the SM will always show that no salt is needed, when the pickle NEEDS more salt. According to charts I have read, depending on the skins added, and some other variables, you are going to lose an average of 4oz of salt per deer cape pickled. Actual salt take-up of the skin, and in and out of solution loss.

Bottom line- EVERYTHING becomes guess work, and you have lost control of a easily controlled process. It's too cheap not to just go ahead and make a new pickle. Just my opinion.

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12. ### John CWell-Known Member

I have had yeast mold grow on top of it. Thats the green mold. I have a funny new thing happened on a batch of iffy hides. had a white translucent mold grow in a pickle. Its neat in a way.
Pressure washed the hides, did a wash in Gain, then rinsed well, hides drained and into the pickle (I never salt and dry hides) there is the white fluffy growth in a perfectly clear pickle, not on top like yeast will do but in the solution. HAs not harmed the hides, has no smell. I just have not had the time to study it to figure the fluff out.

13. ### TIMBUCKActive Member

I experience this "Bottoming" regularly. Even on a new pickle. Frustrating as heck. Im using 90% Formic. My PH will bottom at a 3 no matter how much I add. The acid itself is a 1. What the heck?? Is there a fix for this?

14. ### RhinoToo many irons in the fire will put the fire out!

Do you have hard water??

15. ### theguyyouknowtaxidermyThe Guy You Know Taxidermy<Daniel Elkins>

I have a few questions about "bottoming out".

once the pickles bottoms out, is it still okay to use?

Should one consider using a supplement chemical to help aid the pickle in maintaining a lower PH?

What level of PH is too high?

16. ### Bruce_RittelConsultant Services

I urge you to check out your local water supply Ph! Use a Pool type of measuring pH system (non ionic). It will affect your pH values. Mine was always a 6.8 pH when I tested my solutions. But it has to be considered in your pH readings when you mix a Pickle or Tan.

17. ### Wild zoneNew Member

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Thank each of you for your post. !!!! I am steady learning , even after have gone back years studying this net .. sincerely ,, Phillip Hall

18. ### RhinoToo many irons in the fire will put the fire out!

It's great to see folks like you Phillip, that genuinely seem to want to learn proper tanning! 8)

19. ### theguyyouknowtaxidermyThe Guy You Know Taxidermy<Daniel Elkins>

Bruce,

I have read several times where you have advised to check the PH of the water source and that it needs to be considered in. Exactly how do you consider in the PH of the local water source? If its 6.8 or 7.8 or ??...... how do you apply that to the overall product?

I asked a week or so ago about a few other questions such as:

Is the pickle safe to use once it bottoms out?

what PH is too high when using Formic?

Thanks!

20. ### Wild zoneNew Member

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Thank you Aubrey for the kind words . And for willingly sharing your years of experience to whoever is sincerely trying to learn!!! I don't know how to thank you enough!!