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Difference in using soda ash and baking soda

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by bonhed, Nov 23, 2017.

  1. bonhed

    bonhed Click, Click......Boom!

    I’m sure the chemistry is different between the two but what difference does this make in the tanning process, how much to use of whichever one?
  2. GregJ

    GregJ Active Member

    They are two different chemical compounds typically used for different purposes. No one can answer your question unless you explain in at least some detail what process you are trying to accomplish.

  3. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    From my research, Soda ash is very harsh to a skin when using it to raise pH. Baking soda is best for this.
  4. CCarlson

    CCarlson Active Member

    Soda ash, and Sal soda are Sodium Carbonate.
    Baking soda is Sodium BIcarbonate.

    So, baking soda has one more extra carbon then Soda Ash/Sal Soda/Carbonate.

    You can remove the bulk of this extra carbon by bringing baking soda up to a few hundred degrees for a few minutes. I used to do this process when I was farming corals in tanks, a lot of soapmakers do this as well. Heres a youtube tutiorial on one stovetop method - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpGEc-pLXN4
  5. JuJu Bee

    JuJu Bee New Member

    We would use Soda Ash to increase the pH of a Degreasing bath....if you want it higher than Baking Soda gets you.
  6. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Ah, it's nice to see the alchemists are always awake and willing to contribute... ;)

    Sodium carbonate, Na2CO3

    Sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3

    Please show us where the extra carbon is...

    As for their use in tanning, sodium carbonate will indeed raise the pH of your solution much more rapidly than will bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate is classifies as an "acid salt" due to the fact that it contains that acidic hydrogen proton. Bicarbonate can act as both an acid or a base depending on the pH of the solution you add it to. The wonderful thing about bicarbonate, however, is that it creates a buffered solution when we use it to neutralize our pickles and tanning solutions. i.e. it will adjust pH to where we want it without being to harsh. It is more forgiving than carbonate and a very wise choice for both beginning and advanced tanners.
  7. Rhino

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

    Like cyclone already said, the bi-carb is a much better choice, and MUCH MORE forgiving.

    Soda ash can cause VERY LOOSE hair if over used, whereas bi-carb won't have near the destructive power if over used, if any at all. No matter what anyone else says, I have seen skins ruined with soda ash, with my own two eyes....I won't touch the stuff, even though some tannerys use it, with little problem. It's use is for the very experienced only!
  8. Bruce_Rittel

    Bruce_Rittel Consultant Services

    I guess we all have our different opinions. However I've started up 9 different Taxidermy Type Tanneries and we all used the same procedure. Use the Sodium Bicarbonate to adjust a solution which has skins or capes in it, and raise its pH if necessary and then use the Soda Ash later to raise the pH to an acceptable disposal level. In both cases, I would avoid excessive foaming when adding them to the solutions by first adding them to Water and then to the solution. Especially Soda Ash.

    I agree with OldShaver and Cyclone when it comes to using soda Ash as it is harsh on skins or capes that are still in the solutions.