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How To Rehydrate A Dry Tanned Deer Hide?

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by Gabrielle, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. Gabrielle

    Gabrielle New Member

    I have a dry tanned deer hide that Im going to attempt to repair and make into a soft mount. What is the best way to make it mountable and soft again? C86DE108-442A-4A99-952F-CE1C5DD7B108.jpeg

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  2. Micah Howards

    Micah Howards Active Member

    The dry tanned furs I get I just soak them in a bucket of water until they are soft and pliable enough to mount.
    Gabrielle likes this.

  3. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    If you know which tannery tanned it, call and ask them. If you don't know, I would fill a vessel with enough water to cover the hide and add a handful or two of salt and soak for an hour or so and then put it into a garbage bag and put it into the fridge over night.
  4. Judging from the picture there appears to be a slight blue hue on the skin side which is advantageous for you. If there is a blue hue it indicates the tannery utilised chrome tanning on the skin. Once a skin is chrome tanned it is able to be exposed to water and moisture within reason and not be subject to rapid deterioration. Meaning that it is washable in water and a soft soap solution eg. Borax, a softening agent or sugar soap.
    If the skin side is white it may, not necessarily, mean that the skin has been tanned in alum and salt solution which is the first step in chrome tanning. In old taxidermy books this is the length that tanning of the skin went to as it is theoretically preserved. The major issue with this is that the alum and salt are water soluble meaning that if it is exposed to high humidity or you soak in water, the preserving agent will leach from the skin leaving the skin susceptible to microbial decay but there has to be sufficient water activity (aw) for this to occur. Chroming or 'fixing' prevents this occurring as the chroming makes it an inhospitable media/environment for bacteria.
    You may also try dry cleaning fluid as it evaporates readily to initiate pliability.
    To answer your question directly get in contact with the tannery and seek their after sales advice on the best course of action.
    If you believe that it is chrome tanned, submerge and soak skin side down in water with borax or soft soap until pliable, perhaps over night to avoid hard patches. It is advisable to push out air pocket buildup caught under the skin a couple of times through the process.
    If it is only alum and salt preserved make up your own solution of salt:alum 2:1 and soak in a similar procedure to the one above. You may also phenol it if you can acquire it, phenolphaline will impart a pink hue to the skin though. The phenol is bactericidal and allows for longer soaking times.
    Perhaps the most important question thereafter influencing the technique that you utilise is which method is most suitable to the adhesive that you intend on using.
    Best of luck and I would be curious to learn of the results and process that you used.
    Gabrielle likes this.
  5. Gabrielle

    Gabrielle New Member

    I actually bought the hide from someone online who tanned it themselves. All I know is that it was dry tanned
  6. Gabrielle

    Gabrielle New Member

    I bought this hide online, and I believe the person dry tanned it themselves. So Im not sure what method was used.
  7. In response to what to do with an unknown, dry tanned product I don't know your best course of action.
    Perhaps you could re-hydrate it in water and re-tan it yourself to be certain that it is properly preserved.
  8. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Put a gallon of water in a bucket with a partial handful of salt. Take a piece of the hide that you could stand to lose a little of and cut it off then put it in the gallon of slightly salt water and soak until saturated. This can be only a couple of inches square or less. Wrap some plastic around it and leave it in the plastic for at least 8 hrs. If it doesn't disintegrate or turn to rubber and it shows some stretchy-ness to it, you should be good to go for the rest of it.
    Mike Powell and Lance.G like this.