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pickling musk uneven results

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by wilsonintexas, Aug 7, 2016.

  1. wilsonintexas

    wilsonintexas New Member

    I picked up 5 dryed not tanned muskrats in Alaska fur ronde

    I hydrated them in salt but I added some dawn to try and degrease them.

    I put them in a 2 gallon bucket with a gallon of safety acid.

    The ph jumped to 4 so I added more acid. After three days the skins were uneven so I took them out and rinsed them in water. I them put them in a new batch of acid.

    After three days I am still having uneven results.

    The PH has been at 1 and stable.

    Some areas are white and some are still grey. Some are red. (I assume it is blood I should have gotten off before the pickle)

    I am trying to add some pictures.

    I am still in Alaska and the nights are getting down to 55 or 56 so that may be impacting things.



    Any recommendation would be appreciated.

    I am continuing to stir them daily.

    When the pickle is finished, I will neutralize them and then put them in ez 100 to tan them.
  2. wilsonintexas

    wilsonintexas New Member

    just saw that I have two copies of the same picture.


  3. muscle20

    muscle20 New Member

    They do not look fully hydrated, how long did you soak them in plain cold water? Also I looked on a bottle of dawn dish soap, I can not see any thing on the label that this product is a good degreaser for fur bearers skiins in the fur processing industry ! Use a solvent degreaser spec. for the fur dressing industry.
  4. wilsonintexas

    wilsonintexas New Member

    I soaked them in salt water until they were soft. (or at least Ithought that they were) I then put them in pickle and they have been in pickle for about a week.

    Several sites, recommended dawn for light degreasing. I kn ow that thney also use it to clean birds in oil spills. so I thought that it could help cleaning the muskrat.

    It is possible that I did not hydrate them enough.

    so if they were not fully hydrated when I started the pickle, is there anything I can do to save them at this point?
  5. crazycajun

    crazycajun New Member

    The furs look grease burned to me, I use EX-40 Degreaser from Knoblochs to clean my furs, If skins are really greasy it will prevent the pickle from penetrating the skin properly.
  6. wilsonintexas

    wilsonintexas New Member

    If they are grease burned. What fo i dogrim here?

    Do i neutralize them then degrease them or judt degrease them rinse and back to pickle.
  7. crazycajun

    crazycajun New Member

    I put a solution of tap water 2% ex-40 degreaser and 5% salt and agitate for 5 minutes, that normally cleans them up.
  8. wilsonintexas

    wilsonintexas New Member

    I did not have that degreaser, but my son in law has a business that has a good degreaser thatg is really good at organics. I used some of it, (because I had it and I wanted to get it before I lost my window) I know it wold take a few days to get the real stuff, and thiught athat I would give this a try.

    It is a specialty degreaser for cleaning floors before they do a special coating on them. It is very good at organics, it will handle cleaning floors in kitchens at restaurants before they apply a non slip treatment. It has instructions for degreasing motor blocks at a 1:1 and greasy floors at a 12:1. Since the skins were already wet, I used it straight, knowing that it would get diluted from the pickle left in the skins anyhow.

    Anyhow I degreased them for a few hours (I pt them in before I want to a DR visit. When I got back hecked the PH and it was at a 6. So I rinsed them well in running water and then made a .small batch of safety acid, to bring the PH back down. I then put them back in the safety acid and salt and checked the PH, it was at 1. I checked again in half an hour and it had not changed.

    That was yesterday.

    Today I checked them and they are progressing much better. The white color is spreading and getting much more even. So oit looks like they were grease blocked.

    I will continue to check the progress, and agitatethem over the next few days. I plan to will continue the pickle and neutralize them this weekend ang get them into ez 100.

    I have been reading and as I understand it the goal of the neutralizing is to get the outside at about a 4, but keep the inside of the skin at a lower ph.v(The tanning solution is drawn to the lower PH first and will tann from the inside out. (as I understand it)

    Since these are muskrat and pretty thin I was thinking of neutralizing the m or only 5 minutes instead of 20.

    Am I guessing right on this, or should I let them neutralize for 20?

    I already mixed a gallon of water and a table spoon of baking soda. The PH is at a 6, but I am sure it will come down some when I add the wet skins from the pickle.

    I will check the PH before I transfer them to the ez 100 and adjust it to 4.0 as needed.

    Again yhanks for the recommendations.

    When I was cleaning gthem from he degreaser, there was no hair slipping, so I guess that I have not done any damage yet.

    Thanks again for the quick replies.

    If I had quick access to the degreaser mentioned I would have used it, but it would have taken a few days to get it delivered to me, so I thought I would try what I had access to.
  9. crazycajun

    crazycajun New Member

    The tanning process I use, I don't neutralize until my tanning process is done, But anyway I slowly bring them to a 4.5 - 4.8 PH. I guess it all depends on the tanning process used. Glag it worked out for you!
  10. wilsonintexas

    wilsonintexas New Member

    I am using ez 100. From the process I have read, the ez 100 is processed at 4, so it calls for netralizing the skins to 4 before you put it in ez 100.
  11. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    It does look like as Muscle said not fully hydrated, plus it looks as though it's grease burnt which is the worst enemy in tanning. The grease goes right through the skin and it's almost impossible to get out. You have to use a fine brass wire brush and work it on those areas to help get the grease out. With that said there is never a guarantee it will work. The cape will tan but in time the grease burnt areas will wear out faster and produce weak skin structure.

    Ez-100 will give one heck of a tan for it's a garment tan and can't be washed out using detergents. Follow Bruce's directions to a T and you'll be fine. One note is that check the tanning solution after an hour and correct the pH to be sure it's 4-5 no more no less. Now after the tan is done, check the pH and make sure it's still in that range, if not bring the pH up to the 4-5 and leave it in there for an hour. This is called buffering and making sure you have tanned it correctly and you won't get acid swell.
  12. wilsonintexas

    wilsonintexas New Member

    The degrease helped some. But did not solve it. If i use the bras brush do i do that now and continue to pickle? I asune so.

    I have had it in pickle about 9 days so i think i have some time to get a brass brush and try it. I wish i had seen the post earlier i was just at a shop that has tools and i saw some brass wirebrushes there.
  13. wilsonintexas

    wilsonintexas New Member

    I found a small fine wire brush in a dremal kit (I DID NOT USE THE DREMAL) I am pretty sure it is stainless. So I tried it on the skins. I ended breaking up a thin layer that was easier to break up in the grey areas. It reminded me of the layer that you pull from the back of ribs. I was able to remove a lot of it, but I did at least break it up over the enire skin and put them back in the pickle. My PH is still stable at between 1 and 2.

    I would like to start the ez tan tonight, just becasuse of the scheduling of things. I wanted to be free to oil them and start drying this weekend. BUT if it looks like they are pickelng better (that is turning the white color, I will let them go a few more days)

    I plan to use them to line gloves, so I am not really worried about the skin side to much. But I would like them to last a while.
  14. Paul B

    Paul B Active Member

    You used 2 gallons of water with a gallon of acid? You only need a 1/2 ounce of acid to a gallon of water and use more water, looks like you barely have enough to cover one skin.
  15. wilsonintexas

    wilsonintexas New Member

    Sorry if that was confusing

    I used the correct acid ratio i forget but about 1/2 oz to a gallon and salt

    I did overtan them

    They were very greasy and ended up pretty thin

    But i got there and have enough to try my hand at gloves

    I am going to waterproof them first and see howit goes

    I need some more leather for the shell but it will happen some day