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Auodad/sheep pickling question

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by woakley144, Dec 25, 2015.

  1. woakley144

    woakley144 Active Member

    Why do the sheep/auodad capes kill my pH when they are pickling??? I start with a pH of 1-2, after about 12 hours the pH is in the 4-5 range. My salt level is staying at 40-50% but the pH keep going up. Is there something about the sheep that causes this pH issue???

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Bruce_Rittel

    Bruce_Rittel Consultant Services

    That seems very odd! Unless someone is using Borax, instead of Salt after they are skinned and fleshed. We had the same thing happen in AK when I worked there. We had a nice bunch of fleshed and dried Seal skins come in - but after Rehydration and putting them in the Pickle - our pH was up and out of control. We kept adding Acid - but finally on the 3rd day, we just made a new Pickle. When we called the village and told them about the pH problem - they told us they had used Borax instead of Salt!

    I guess the lesson learned - is don't use Borax! For Tanning!

  3. It seems that you have your answer...
  4. Bruce_Rittel

    Bruce_Rittel Consultant Services

    I'm not saying it's Borax that's playing with his Pickle pH - but it sure does sound a lot like what we experienced with our Seal skins that time. Let's hope it's a "good guess"! If it was a "sent in" skin, I'd question the Outfitter he used to handle the skin and get it ready for him. Let us all know how it plays out!
  5. woakley144

    woakley144 Active Member

    Borax!!!!!That's it!!!!!! I used borax when I was caping the head out to absorb the excess blood from the head, and I must not have gotten it all off when I washed the hide before I salted and put it in the pickle.....

    Thanks guys for helping me with this problem. I will quit using borax when I cape. But that leads to another question.....

    Do I need to use salt when I cape to absorb the excess blood???
  6. Bruce_Rittel

    Bruce_Rittel Consultant Services

    Actually the purpose of Salting is to attract the excess moisture from the skin and help it dry. It would also attract and pull out some of that "excess blood" you mentioned. I'd do it.
  7. woakley144

    woakley144 Active Member

    Going to do a pH experiment today with borax and salt/acid pickle. I will post results later today. Will be interesting to see the results....
  8. woakley144

    woakley144 Active Member

    Here's the results from the pH tests I did.....

    Tap Water pH 6-7

    Tap Water w/ borax pH 9-10 5 table spoons

    Tap water w' safety acid pH 1 5 ml acid

    When I added the borax solution to the acid solution the pH stayed the same until I started getting to the 10ml range of the borax solution.

    I left the pH strips on the counter for an extended period of time and the acid/borax solution pH changed to the alkaline side..