# Formic Acid Question

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by swampfox2, Oct 11, 2019.

1. ### swampfox2Well-Known Member

I want to try Ben Mears method of tanning by using 6 oz. of 85% formic, 3gallons water, Para-tan, salt, and Para-tan oil. Question is do you think I could substitute 95% formic and reduce the amount to achieve the same results ? Say maybe 4 oz. 95% instead of 6 oz. 85 % ?? Can any of you chemists give me an idea ?

2. ### cyclonePosts: 400001

You have the right idea but the wrong numbers. You'll need 5.4 oz of the 95% .

85 x 6 = X x 95. solve for X.

85x6 / 95 = X

Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
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4. ### swampfox2Well-Known Member

Thanks cyclone ! I knew I should have stayed in school, it is good for something after all !!

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5. ### swampfox2Well-Known Member

I have some 95% coming and will test your numbers out on a back hide first. Hopefully things will work out fine.

6. ### cyclonePosts: 400001

So do you have any 85% formic acid. The only real way to test your experiment is to make two batches side by side and compare the results.

I can assure you that my numbers are correct. I have no control over measuring, mixing, proper water conditions, etc. There are many variables..

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7. ### swampfox2Well-Known Member

I have no 85% that's why I am going to try 95% at a reduced volume. I have confidence it will work out the same with careful measurements. Soon as I get a victim to try it on. Thought I had one last week. I have been feeding deer in the back 7 acres for the past three years. My son went out to the blind last week and shot one with his bow. (his first attempt with a bow) Problem was he pulled his shot high and right hitting the 8 point thru his scapula but still got 14" of penetration. (Or the deer ducked at the shot) I made him wait 2 hours before taking up the blood trail which was good but after 175 yds. or so he lost the blood in the dark. As it turned out the deer made it just off the property and died. There are more coming in but the 8 point was the largest so far this year.

8. ### MonteMissouri fur-Limited hair-tanning

I would suspect you cannot tell the difference between 85% and 95%

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9. ### swampfox2Well-Known Member

I have only used the safety acid before so I have little experience in that regard but fixin' to give it a whirl. Like I said I will test on a back hide to see what I get before doing a cape. I tend to run on the safe side when I can.

10. ### Frank E. Kotulamaster, judge, instructor

Remember the main thing with any of our acids we use in the industry always use the proper pH strips and keep it @ the highest 2.5 and you don’t need it lower than a 2.

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11. ### swampfox2Well-Known Member

That's what I do when I pickle. Usually starts out around 1.5 but with the safety acid it will climb so regular monitoring with the low range ph strips is necessary till it levels out and then a daily check. Ben Mears doesn't check the PH with his tanning method. He turns everything get big chunks of meat off and puts the cape in a mixture of two pounds of feed salt per gallon of cool water for 24 hours. He then mixes his 3 1/2 gallons of water, 4 ounces of Paratan, 3 1/2 lbs. of salt, 6oz of 85%formic and 1 ounce of parasoft oil in hot water stirring well and let sit over night. In 24 hours stir the tanning solution well remove the cape from the salt brine and let it drain then put into the tan for at least 24 hours but he said he has left them in for as long as two weeks with no ill effects. Just stir them around a couple times a day. He balsifies with 6 oz. of baking soda in 3 gallons of water for about 15 minutes. Take our squeeze out excess water and towel dry, flesh and thin cape. In 2 gallons of water add 1 cap full of liquid tide wash and rinse well in cool water. Towel dry and mount or freeze till you are ready.

12. ### Frank E. Kotulamaster, judge, instructor

Trust me it may work for him but that’s not how you tan with para-tan
It’s improper work as no tannery would ever do this method.
It upset a lot of folk cause a well known person does something out of the ordinary and says it’s correct but the chemist who made the product says do it thus way for it to work.
Any over tanning causes the loss of elasticity. Yes it’s safe and tanned but doesn’t have the qualities when done properly.

13. ### cyclonePosts: 400001

Exactly.

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14. ### swampfox2Well-Known Member

Well , that is certainly food for thought. I just got some Para-tan in yesterday if they sent instructions I'm doing a batch both ways to see if I can tell any difference on a back hide. Still have 8 days before my formic arrives any way. Thanks for the input !

15. ### swampfox2Well-Known Member

Well, I walked out to the shop and put on my reading glasses and the procedures are quite a bit different. I'll have a fresh back hide or two to test with before long and I have both safety acid and citric on hand. I am super curious about it now.

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16. ### MixedupMelMember

Hello sir! Compleate newb here and i did a quick search looking for where its recommended as the proper PH strips and didnt turn up anything so i hope i may ask a quick question.

Do you reccomend this because some aquarium test things arent accurate enough?

17. ### Frank E. Kotulamaster, judge, instructor

Welcome to the gang first off
Using aquarium pH test kits aren’t what we use as they are a bit different.
You need to go to any of our tanning or taxidermy supply catalogs and buy them there.

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18. ### MixedupMelMember

Thanks! Yes sir understood!

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