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Rehydrating Very Dry Capes

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by Rgvmelb, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. Rgvmelb

    Rgvmelb Member

    I'm having a lot of trouble rehydrating capes. They're absolutely bone dry and taking well over 24 hours to be somewhat okay to put in the pickle. But still not really coming good once shaved. Sometimes they're fine, sometimes not. So l'd obviously like some consistency with them.
    I've been giving them a couple of hours in straight water, then adding salt after that.
    These are quite thick, being about half an inch thick or thicker in some places.
    Tried some Kemal4, but that was useless. I don't really want to use any relaxers unless l have to because it's quite expensive for us over here!

    MixedupMel likes this.
  2. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Some info for us please
    Dried capes. That’ll help more plus where you live if shipping is expensive
    MixedupMel likes this.

  3. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    After they soften some , take a scalpel and do a 1/2 inch checker board cut half way true thick hide put back in brine for a day , works great for me
    MixedupMel likes this.
  4. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    PERSONALLY, I'd be very wary of checkering the hide at this point. Flint dried hides are especially tough but you will definitely need a surfactant (it makes water wetter). Fabric Softener will work just as well in most cases as the expensive stuff. Get your water HOT and then mix in the amount listed on the softener container. Stir thoroughly and let cool until lukewarm. Then put your hides in them and let them set for a few hours. Don't leave them any longer. Remove the hides and allow to drip dry. When the water stops dripping, roll the hide up and put in into a plastic bag. Either refrigerate the hide or keep it in a COOL place overnight. Flint dry may take an extra day but make sure that you add a least a handful of salt to your hot water before stirring in the softener.
    MixedupMel likes this.
  5. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Salt impedes penetration of liquid into the hide, so too much salt can be a problem.
    MixedupMel likes this.
  6. Rgvmelb

    Rgvmelb Member

    Frank, they're salt dried. Pretty much flint dried by the time l'm getting to them atm.
    I'm in Australia so everythingis expensive from you guys!

    Thanks very much George, l'll give this a try!

    I'll add too, l took two out of the pickle, knifed off what l could at the time (weather was drying them out over the beam) and put them back in a brine for a few hours. I haven't had a chance to knife them again, but they're very thick still and actually have a bit of stretch now. Unfortunately it'll probably be a few more days before I can get to them again. But at the very least they will be a lot easier to work on!
    MixedupMel likes this.