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Smelly Foxes after tan

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by Ginger2000, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. I had a pre-post search but couldn't find any post similar to what I'm asking. Working on two foxes atm. They're not my first foxes but they're proving to be more challenging than the rest of the foxes I've worked with.

    I tanned them in Snowdonia White-Tan bath, and they're the second pair of foxes to go through that system. The first two came out fine. All other foxes before then were tanned with JHT brush-on Oil.

    Anyway, I first noticed that these two had a very strong smell emitting from them both, and that the skin-side felt rather oily. I put it down to needing more degreasing, so I washed them in a bath of salt/water and fairy liquid (dawn in the USA). This has always worked for me before, but today, I've noticed they're still smelling.

    Do they need more baths or is this something else entirely? The dog of the two has slipped horrendously (my fault) and honestly I'm not a fan of the idea of putting him through more baths. I will if I need to though.
  2. muscle20

    muscle20 New Member

    Dawn dish soap can be used on bird skins for dissolving grease, mammal skins use a solvent degreaser spec. for degreasing in the fur dressing industry!

  3. muscle20

    muscle20 New Member

    Also solvent degreaser works far better on birds than dish soap.
  4. I've used it before and it's worked 100% fine.

    This time just happens to be different.

    I went ahead anyway and bought degreaser for skins, and tried it with the two problem-pelts. During their bath I noticed dark stains appearing in the skins.


    Their conditions haven't changed otherwise, and now I've had a third fox go down the same path. Parts of the pelt won't dry, they're quite yellowish and feel oily, and the same smell.

    I'm starting to think it was the tan bath as I've never had this happen before.

    When I first started I used JHT brush-on liqua tan oil ( http://www.jhtsupplies.co.uk/liqua-tan-16floz/p00000492 ), which worked fine. Had no problems other than it requiring certain temperatures to dry in otherwise it wouldn't take at all and pelts had to be retanned, but otherwise it was great.

    Recently I started using Snowdonia one-bath system ( http://www.snowdoniasupplies.co.uk/cgi-bin/view_larger.pl?ref=CP0502 ) which was also good. I got three foxes out of it, but it's been the last three that have given me the listed problems. This is my first time dealing with these problems.

    Would really like to recover these three foxes.
  5. muscle20

    muscle20 New Member

    What was the condition of the skins before you started processing them? What is your degreasing procedure? Did you degrease during the pickle? More information please.
  6. I skinned them myself. All three foxes (especially the first two) were quite fat and greasy, fleshing the skin and the fat was coming off like candle wax, you could've made several candles out of it. The dog-fox (the one who slipped) sat longer than should have before I skinned it though so I'm pretty sure he's a lost cause at this point, but I'm holding out hopes I can salvage something from him. It was my fault that he lingered, I kept running into distractions that delayed me. The vixen was skinned the day after I got her.

    The third dog fox was skinned by the hunter and popped into the freezer. Hunter was gonna attempt to tan it himself but didn't have time so handed the job to me (he supplies my foxes too). Pelt wasn't fleshed by the hunter so I did that, and like the other two, fat was like candle wax.


    This is the degreasing formula I use: http://www.jhtsupplies.co.uk/super-solve-degreaser-16floz/p00000751

    I follow the instructions on the bottle, dilute 2-3oz of the formula in warm water and allow to cool before submerging the skin in it for an hour. I tried it while the mix was still warm and it just devoured the skins (thankfully they were experimental skins).

    Skins were degreased after 3 days in the pickle. I get my pickle solution from the same store (though they appear to be out of stock). I'm following the instructions that come on the bottles and as said everything was fine until these three. Again, I think it might be the tan bath, and I'm considering buying more brush-on oil from JHT and attempt to ''re-tan'' the hides. Unless I get better suggestions.

    The third fox, the one from the hunter, I'd really like to recover, I can deal with losing the other two if that's what I'm looking at but I'd really like to save the third.
  7. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    If your hides have any yellow and oily feel areas that's telling me your skins are still with fat and grease. Therefor they weren't properly fleshed prior to the pickle. They need to be clean of all fat and grease that is on the hides before you pickle any skin. If you have dried on fat it's very hard to get this off once it's dried into the skin. This is what going on with your skins. Degreasers get fat and oils out of the pours, it won't dissolve areas that are dried or not cleaned from it.

    The tan is never the problem, it's how it gets applied or used. The tan will tan properly cleaned hides but your best tans are those you submerse.
  8. Okay, so my fleshing was the error. Is there any way I can fix this? Would sanding the hides work or would that just make it worse? I've been considering it but I don't want to act if there's a chance it will increase problems.
  9. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    no once it gets to that point it's almost senseless to try and get it out. it's a learning experience we all through. If you have any areas that are high you can scrape them off to get some of the grease out but once impregnated that deep on a thin skin, it's not coming out.

    Sanding it will only cause holes.
  10. Okay thanks for that. I guess what didn't help me was the knife I used to flesh them, lets just say it wasn't a fleshing knife, and it wasn't that big so getting a good grip on it was impossible.

    On the plus side I did actually find a fleshing knife supplier in the UK and have since got a 16'' fleshing knife so here's hoping I don't repeat this blunder again.
  11. muscle20

    muscle20 New Member

    I do not use a fleshing knife on fox, fox have very thin skin, all you have to do is scrape the bigger chunks of fat off the fresh skin then place them in your pickle vat for a few days, this pickle not only plumps up the skin and loosens the corium fibers it toughens up the skin. Then take them out to drip for a bit, then using any type of tool to loosen the membrane once you can grab on to the membrane with your fingers then pull the membrane off with your fingers, you will be surprised how it comes off sometimes in large sheets,I do this with almost all fur bearers, I consider fox and coyotes, wolves to be the easiest to remove the membrane. once you have all the membrane removed this exposes the fat cells which can be scraped with a dull knife, then placed back in your pickle vat for further processing, degreasing is done in a separate bath after the skin is pickled in warm water never above 35 c with salt and degreaser, then return to the pickle, its just that easy!
  12. Honestly I learn better seeing how to do it rather than being told (visual learner here) ^^; ... but I do appreciate your advice, and whoever sees this post may also benefit from the advice! Thanks for sharing!