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Hide won't dry well

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by Eldpuma, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. Eldpuma

    Eldpuma New Member

    Confused - need help with troubleshooting !!
    I recently tried to get me to go from preparing my lamb hides with only fat (no pickle - just salt + fat) to try to make it more taxidermiskt.
    I want to learn this before I dare to take on my hunting buddies more exclusive game hides ..
    However, it has, although I very carefully follow the most basic principles resulted in my beautiful lamb skins become just dry paper. I am so "f" disappointed! :(
    1. Salted skin placed in cold water to relax
    2. 3-4 days in pickle with citric acid and salt. Ph control according to the paper strip indicates between 1 and 2
    3. Neutralization for 30 minutes with baking soda
    4.Därefter washing and sufficient drying - oiling
    5. Next, the skin feels first really soft and stretchy but drying is now extremely slow. However, no hair loss. Despite a then very persistent effort to stretch and break it down and in addition several rounds into the freezer so results still this to end with a piece of white paper! :-\

    How can I troubleshoot? Citric acid is said to be the "weak acid" - would oxalic make a difference? Neutralization should be even longer?
    Would it be better to neutralize with ordinary washing soda in a few hours - have seen that it is usually used to degrease fårfällar ..?
  2. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    You forgot the the actual tanning. I don't see it in your process.

  3. Eldpuma

    Eldpuma New Member

    :eek: Hmm actual tanning.. isn't that the oiling before breaking??
    I used sesame oil + lard with some soap
  4. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    No, it's not. Oil is oil and tanning agents are tanning agents. There are oils that are for oiling after tanning and I do not believe sesame oil is one of them. Some may argue that brain tanning and egg tanning are oils that actually tan a hide, however, I don't believe they actually tan a hide, meaning to turn it into leather.

    What you have now is a pickled and oiled sheep skin. If you want your sheep skin to be leather, it will need to tanned.

    There are literally weeks worth of reading on the subject of tanning in the archives.

    Find posts by David Patton, oldshaver , cyclone and Bruce Rittel and between them, they have many decades of experience and you will be bless with the tanning knowledge of those who know almost everything there is to know about tanning.
  5. Eldpuma

    Eldpuma New Member

    Ok, I understand I have to read on ...
    But even if I do not get a full tanning with just fat or oil and no pickle, so usually my sheepskin skin become soft and smooth .. nothing like this paper-like ..
    Now I wonder if there is no cure or if the skins are just junk..?
  6. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    You were not having problems before, but now, you are. What changed?
    What changed is the addition of the pickle.
    This is my unscientific opinion.

    Native Americans dressed their hides with fat or oil supplied by animals, whether it be tallow, brains or something else. Their oiled buckskins where not tanned and yet they stayed soft and durable for a long time after being "broke" and dried, with much use as a garment.
    Your problem may be the addition of the pickle. Maybe, if you are going to pickle them, you should finish them out by tanning and then oiling them with oil made for tanning. Otherwise, perhaps doing them the way you did in the beginning, which seemed to be working for you, is the route to go.

    This is if you are doing wall hangers or throws and such. If you want to do taxidermy on them, I would learn to properly tan them.

    With all that said, The short answer to why they are coming out like paper, is , I really don't know why.

    TIMBUCK Active Member

    There is just entirely to much information readily available about this subject to make it this difficult. Do your homework and you can produce a decent tanned skin. Not trying to be harsh just stating the facts. There may be a little science involved but rocket science it's not.
  8. https://fleshingmachines.com/tanning-secrets-101-taxidermists-sportsmen-2/