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Help Please :)

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by HappyPineapple, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. HappyPineapple

    HappyPineapple New Member

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    *Update two* I have the skin in the pickle bath waiting until I know what to do next.
    *Update* the skin is in a pickle bath but i'm not sure what to do next - I know I need baking soda and pickling salt but can I substitute sea salt or kosher salt for pickling salt? I live in the outskirts of Perth Western Australia and we don't have the best access to lesser-known items. No supermarkets near me sell pickling salt.


    I stayed on a farm last week and took the opportunity to skin one of the foxes shot by the farmer. I salted it once I got home and we've had hot weather since so it's dried out completely (also super stiff as I didn't flesh it properly). Is it possible for me to finish fleshing after i've salted and if so how can I soften the flesh back up.
    I also have questions regarding what recipe I should use to pickle the hide once I'm done with this.
    Thanks everyone :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
    Jeff927 likes this.
  2. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Ok all you have is a salt dried skin and hopefully not being real hot that you didn’t get any bacteria growth.
    Soak it in 3 gallon of water till it fully hydrated. Now you can place it in a pickle ( citric) is nice and safe. Soak it overnight then do your fleshing and put it back in the pickle for three days. After that do your final fleshing, and put it back in overnight, drain, neutralize, tan and oil.
     
    HappyPineapple and Micah Howards like this.

  3. HappyPineapple

    HappyPineapple New Member

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    Thank you! Do I just buy the powdered citric acid from the supermarket? Also it was quite hot (40 degrees Celsius). A tiny amount of fur fell out around the base of the tail where I couldn't get all the vertebrae out and I suspect it's rotting slightly so I cut the tail off the rest of the skin.
     
  4. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Yes that’s fine to use but if your going to play around I would look into bakeries companies and buy it there for a cheaper price.
     
    HappyPineapple likes this.
  5. HappyPineapple

    HappyPineapple New Member

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    Thanks! I'll let you know how it goes.
    Update:
    It's been in water for about half a day now and is already softening considerably. Off to buy some citric acid soon.
    Also, when it comes to citric acid time, what ratio do I use to water?
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
  6. HappyPineapple

    HappyPineapple New Member

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  7. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    You’ll be fine
     
  8. HappyPineapple

    HappyPineapple New Member

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    I took it out the pickle this morning and attempted to flesh it - it was pretty hard to do but I got a bit of mush off.
     
  9. HappyPineapple

    HappyPineapple New Member

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    I plan to take the skin out of the pickle tomorrow and neutralise what's a good recipe for that? Also will I need to buy something to tan the skin after that?
     
  10. HappyPineapple

    HappyPineapple New Member

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    The skin is still in the pickle bath as i'm not sure what salt to use :/
     
  11. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Being in Australia, you would probably be better off mail ordering some of the better tanning kits that have all the instructions with them and have everything ready before you start. That the fur is already slipping is a bad sign but certainly will be good as a beginner practice hide. Another product that you would want to have on hand is Glen's Stop Rot. It's a liquid and I have sprayed this on fox and coyote skins that were showing a green tint to the belly while skinning and I had no fur loss. The archives on here are also loaded with info that go back many years. Play around with the Search functions and use terms like pickling ratio, pickling percentage etc. Best you can do with these foxes is to skin and salt while you skin. Skin carefully so you leave as little on the hide as possible and then flesh the whole hide. Take the entire tail out, skin down to the last toe bone, open the ears and salt everywhere. With the heat you are dealing with, rot is going to happen fast. The belly and the ears are the first places to slip. If you run into companies that tell you they can't/won't ship to Australia, see if you can find someone that will ship to you. You will have to pay for the shipping but I do know of people that have sent simple things overseas to someone because the big company wouldn't do it.

    Pickling salt is just plain salt with a small grain. It is also called "canning salt" here. There is no iodine in it or any other additives. Look in the cooking/canning section of the grocery and see what they have that is just pure salt with no additives. Look for Diamond Crystal salts. Kosher salt can be used as long as nothing else is in it. Most Morton salts have additives. As Frank stated, ask in bakery supply places for citric acid. Probably a large container of it for less money. There are also several taxidermy/tanning supply places right in AU. A few below.

    https://www.moderntaxidermyaustralia.com/ Seems to have just forms but it can't hurt to ask about other products.

    http://australiantaxidermysupplies.com.au/Online-Store/CatID/27/Tanning__Fleshing_Supplies

    https://batestaxidermyandsupplies.com/taxidermy-service-price-list.php Says they are the Australian Distributors for Knoblochs Tanning chemicals.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
  12. HappyPineapple

    HappyPineapple New Member

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    Thank you. What will happen if I don't use a tanning product? Will my skin just rot on me? Unfortunately I can't afford to order a tanning kit, as much as I would love to. Searching "pickling ratio," got me some results on pickling but I'm struggling to learn about neutralising. I'm just going to pour the pure sea salt and baking soda into water, add the hide after rinsing, and hope for the best :( I really hope the tanning products aren't essential, I spent about 30 minutes carefully skinning this fox.
     
  13. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    In the future, freeze the skin and get all your info and products together BEFORE you start.

    As for now I would freeze the neutralized skin and wait until I could afford a tan.
     
    HappyPineapple likes this.
  14. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    It really should be tanned properly and you need the right chemicals and in the right order and mix percentages. I even use a hydrometer to make sure that solutions are correct. If you are desperate with this one hide .. and it's already missing it's tail, consider just making sure it is really well fleshed, soak it in alcohol for a while and then just tack it out and dry it. You won't be able to do anything with it but look at it really. It won't be tanned but preserved. To do any sort of tanning, you really need to have everything lined up and set to go 1, 2, 3. To do one step and then wait before doing the next risks losing the hide in some steps.

    Considering what you can do with them, the tanning kits are not all that expensive. They do more than one hide. If you have access to a freezer, stock up on a bunch of foxes, get a kit and do them all at the same time.

    For the alcohol bit, you can try this. It's crude and not tanning but it might be what you want for this one to start with before you sink the funds into actual tanning. https://www.instructables.com/id/Curing-Small-Animal-Pelts%2c-Squirrels-Rabbits-etc../
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  15. Rustybucknutz

    Rustybucknutz New Member

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    For what it's worth, and I'm no pro with tanning, but I used to save all the hides from Coons we shot over our dogs and if they got stiff I would drape it over a guide wire on a telephone pole in our yard and work it side to side vigorously until it was "soft". Soaking and re-fleshing sounds much easier lol.
     
  16. HappyPineapple

    HappyPineapple New Member

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    Thanks everyone :) I'll try again in future and this time have everything ready :)
     
  17. msestak

    msestak Well-Known Member

    9,909
    3,708
    Erie, PA
    try this:

    https://www.vandykestaxidermy.com/Pickling-W49.aspx

    Neutralizing Pickled Skins:


    Low pH of acid pickle in most cases assures the killing of bacteria that causes hair slippage! However, if the pH is too low prior to tanning, most tanning chemicals will rapidly fix to the skins surface with little or no penetration. Interior of skin will become stiff on drying as result of grain collapse. Neutralize skin pickles prior to tanning by using 1 ounce of Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) per gallon of water. Use a minimum of 1 gallon water for a fox skin, 2 to 4 gallons for deer cape and back hides. The crucial part of neutralizing is the amount of time the skin is in the neutralizing solution. A good starting point would be to neutralize a fox skin for 10 minutes, a deer cape for 20 minutes; agitate the skin during neutralizing, then remove and rinse.