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chrome tanning at home

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by WH33LS, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. WH33LS

    WH33LS New Member

    hey, I'm looking for some advice about chrome tanning.

    I'm on my first season of trapping and I think I did alright. I have a few pelts that I want to tan to make a hat or pair of mitts and a throw for myself, not to sell.

    I've read that chrome tan is the better process for my purpose since I won't be mounting these hides and the hides will be exposed to rain, snow, wet and etc... and also read it's very hazerdous for the environment, disposal needs to be done properly.

    I've went through the archives searching chrome tan and made some notes but I still have some questions to ask about this process... I couldn't find much about how to chrome tan at home.

    I'm wondering...
    1) for my purpose of mitts and hats and/or rug (black bear, beaver and otter), should the hides be shaved down after pickling to help the tan penetrate deeper and break easier?
    2) should hides be salted before the chrome tan technique? or does it matter
    3) in the steps below(#7).. should neutralizing be just before tanning instead of after tanning for chrome tan?

    I found the information below in an old archive post that someone made but I've edited it a little

    (I need to rehydrate the bear hide that I have)

    rehydrate (10-24 hours)
    using a product like relax R or another product and follow directions

    Pickle using oxalic acid and salt.
    pH below 2
    3-5 days for beaver/bears?

    using a fleshing wheel (but not sure how close to shave the hide so it's suitable for mitts or rug)

    is it necessary to degrease using Chrome?

    return to pickle for 24 hours at least

    (neutralize here?)

    make salt solution
    - mix up a 5 gal salt solution 11/2 pounds of salt
    1. put the skins from your pickle into the salt solution for half an hr.

    make a stock solution
    - Boil a quart of water, add 1/2 pound of chomium sulphate and boil for 10 mins.

    2. Then remove skins from the salt solution

    3. add 1/2 of your stock solution to the salt solution and stir it well (this makes your tanning Liquor)

    4. put the skin into your tanning Liquor, after 10 hours add the other half of your stock solution, agitate well stir at least twice a day or more, leave for a week or 2 or 3
    5. stir and agitate often.

    When you think it has been in long enough and it is tanned

    6. remove the skins and wash real well in plain water

    7. then put the skins in a few gals. of water with a 1/4 pound of baking soda

    8. wash the skins good for half hour, rinse in plain water

    9. then oil, dry and finish.. I'll use amys notes for this

    (This is for 5gals. of solutions if you want more double it or triple or what ever.)

    thank you in advance for any advice or help concerning chrome tanning at home and ty for reading such a lengthy post

    any advice is much appreciated
  2. Rhino

    Rhino Too many irons in the fire will put the fire out!

    1. Yes
    2. Yes
    3. After
    4. Too long in rehydration- long enough to soften, NO MORE- 1/4 lb salt, degrease or re-wetter like you mentioned- warm water(per gallon)
    5. Use citric or Formic acid
    6. Beavers need to be thin- "tight skin"-- other skins, thin without false cutting
    7 Need to degrease? YES, Very well
    8. 1/2 lb salt per gal of tan
    9. Too long in tanning bath- overnight is fine- don't understand this?
    10. Neutralize 2oz soda, 1/4 lb salt, per gal of warm water- 45min to 1hr(after tan)

    Others will probably have a few more suggestions here. I wouldn't use chrome because of the waste water, as you mentioned. Lutan, followed by a synthetic paint- on tan will give you what you want, I believe. Washable, a little softer, and easier to work with. If you insist on using chrome, you need to add a masking agent to the tanning bath, like sodium formate. ( level tablespoon per gal should suffice) This will slow down the tanning, and allow deeper penetration of heavier skins. The "weave" of beaver skin is VERY TIGHT! They have to be thinned very well, especially in the cheaks and thru the center of the pelt. Bears, are hard to explain as far as the shaving goes. You will just have to learn that by trial and error.

    I might come up with more later, after I get time to re-read your post. Anybody that uses chrome regularly, please jump in.

  3. Rhino

    Rhino Too many irons in the fire will put the fire out!

    It looks to me like you intend to learn how to tan correctly. You made a large purchase buying that machine, assuming it's yours?

    I'm am no chrome tanning expert, but I know enough to get by using other methods. My opinion here is, you would be far better off, developing a system other than using chrome. You can develop something almost as "water proof ", etc, using other methods, that will be suitable for the "long term". You might decide to start tanning deer hides, or even go further, and tan for others. All the time you spend developing a good chrome method, you could spend developing something more "long term" , and not have to worry about your waste water disposal, down the road.

    Guess it just depends on your long term plans?
  4. WH33LS

    WH33LS New Member

    I'm not totally committed to the chrome tan method, reading through the archives it seemed as if chrome tan was the better method for my purpose (mitts/hatts)

    I wanted to read through the archives before asking in a post

    but I'm open to other suggestions if there is a product that would waterproof, as you mentioned

    thank you for your replys
  5. Rhino

    Rhino Too many irons in the fire will put the fire out!

    You can tell you did some reading. :D

    Mr. Rittel advertises EZ 100 as a "washable" tan. I think that is what Amy is using in her tutorial you mentioned?

    I myself, would go with Lutan, then re-tan with a synthetic like EZ 100, or a synthetic paint-on tan. Today's modern paint-on tans can never be accused of being a "short cut method " anymore. The "paint-on tans I developed, utilize a "liquid form" of a synthetic tan, and even though I don't know what is in them, I am sure a few others on the market are doing the same.

    Anyway, that's my two cents, as far as what you are trying to accomplish. Maybe Bruce can touch on how well EZ100 holds up to multiple wettings? That might be all you need, I'm not sure?
  6. Bruce_Rittel

    Bruce_Rittel Consultant Services

    Maybe it’s time to talk about “Shrinkage Temperature”. I used to be a Salesman for BASF and I was fortunate enough to attend a 5 Day Product update at their Lab in upstate NY about their products when I worked with Sentry Chemicals and distributed for them and BASF to the Leather Industry in the Salem MA area.

    Old Shaver has a good point. Even tho Chrome is considered having the high Shrinkage Temperature (212 Degrees Fahrenhiet) – why not instead, tan your Loads with a Syntan. Chrome is ideal for Hospitals and places that want to “sterilize” their leathers – like Woolen Bed Sheets (used in Hospitals to prevent patients from developing Bed Sores), but to use it for Taxidermy purposes, it lacks the stretch and distortion you need to mount it on a form and do your Taxidermy work. It also has “Memory”, much like a Handerchief. If you wet the Chrome piece and pull it out of shape – when it dries it wants go back to its original shape.

    In the BASF Lab I attended we actually did “Shrinkage Tests”. They would take a piece of the leather (hair or fur off or on, it didn’t matter) cut off a 2” X 2” piece and then put 4 clamps, one on each side and suspended it in Water, in a small metal vat much like an Aquarium. Then they would slowly begin heating the tanned sample, by increasing the Water heat. When they reached the “Shrinkage Temperature” they would then record it for the customer’s use.

    When the piece would get to its “Shrinkage Temperature” the chemicals used to tan the piece would no longer remain chemically attached to the skin. They would lose their chemical bonding to the Sample in it. This would make the sample become gnarled and usually it shrank while it was clipped to the Clamps! It would totally destabilize!

    Most homes have Water heaters to raise their temperature to only slightly above 110-120 Degrees Fahrenhiet. Unlike a Hospital, which disinfects everything
    Prior to reusing something – it’s extremely unlikely that you and I as Taxidermists would want to work with 212 Degree Water. Almost all of the Syntans can withstand 160-180 Degree Fahrenhiet Water. For practical purposes they are considered Washable!

    Unfortunately Alum tanned skins are not washable. Since it is an Aluminum Sulphate, and when tanning it breaks down to Aluminum and Sulphate ions in solution – when tanned and dried, the Sulphate over time attracts moisture (Water – Sweat or even Atmospheric Moisture) and it again becomes Sulphuric Acid which eventually weakens the Chemical bonds in it and with time (14-16 years) destroys the usefulness of the tanned piece. It’s irreversible. Alum is considered to have a Ts of 120 Degrees Fahrenhiet (I use Ts to denote Shrinkage Temperate readings).

    Lutan F (BASF) on the otherhand, can be considered somewhat Washable, since its Ts is approximately 135 Degrees Fahrenhiet. However, it can be rehydrated 4 or 5 times – but I would avoid many frequent warm soaks and using a Harsh Alkaline Detergent added to them. It also has a long shelf life, but I speculate its because it also utilizes Aluminum Chloride instead of Aluminum Sulphate - no Water attraction and turning back into Sulphuric Acid with age.

    Like Old Shaver suggested – I’d consider using a Syntan, if you needed a good Shrinkage Temperature. They are easy to use, and their tanned skins and capes contain all the qualities you need to use them for garments or mounting for Taxidermy purposes. TASCO and KNOBLOCHS both sell them. As a rule, their Ts ranges typically from 160-180 Degrees Fahrenhiet.
  7. WH33LS

    WH33LS New Member

    I've discovered that's it not cheap at all to get products mailed from USA to canada, I can't find any suppliers of ez-tan 100..

    so I'm curious if Para-tan, liqua-tan and/or lutan-f would have the same washability/shrinkage temperature as ez-tan

    ty in advance for any information and ty for reading
  8. Trapper705

    Trapper705 New Member

    Halfords in Edmonton has a product called KT tan that is supposed to be compareable to ez100. I use KT tan with good results. I have not used ez100 so I cannot speak to the compareable part.
  9. freeze_1

    freeze_1 Booboo, my business manager

  10. wilsonintexas

    wilsonintexas New Member

    I did not trap my capes, but I did pick up some dry skins locally.
    I also wanted to make a hat ans gloves.

    I picked up a tanning kit at a local store, but after some reading, and a call to the people who made the kit, I was told that not every kit was washable. and that the one I had would wash out the first time hat the gloves got wet.

    I then read up on EZ-100 I gave it a try, with limited success the first time. I did not remove the membrane of the muscrat, and I did not degrease the skins. The skins did not turn out very well at all. I am going to salave them by gluing them to a second layer of leather (which I would probably do for the gloves anyhow, I want the fur on the inside, and would add a second layer of something else for the outside layer)

    BUT I am getting off topic, sorry.

    I have tried ez-100 and safety pickle for a second time. and they are looking much better. (I took time ot get rid ofthe membrane and I degreased them in Oderless Mineral Spirits.

    I know that money can be very tight,

    But consider what you have put into these skins already, the time to trap them, skin them, and get them to this point.

    It will also take some time to tan and finish them.

    In my case I am retired, so my time in not money. I have a lot more time than money, but I would still spend the money for the EZ-100.

    I highly recommend that you try the EX-100, and at least his oil. I would also get his safety pickle, the added shipping for the pickle will not be much. BUT You can probably do pickle locally (citric acid, or any of the other formlas)

    I wish you luck, and let us know how it goes.

    I do not remember seeing what you are tanning.