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Wet Tanned Bear Hides Versus Dry Tanned For Bear Rug

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by tru-2-life, Dec 25, 2019.

  1. tru-2-life

    tru-2-life New Member

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    I have been doing deer & bear for 20+ years. I have done mostly my own tanning except for maybe half a dozen animals. The reason I have been doing my own was not happy with some of the quality that I received from the tannery. I like good stretch with the wet tanned hides that I do. I have done bear mounts, but only 2 bear rugs in this time. I am going to take on more in the future. I am purchasing a sewing machine to make the process go faster & better quality. I have read older posts posts saying that dry tanned hides are better. Doesn't that make the mounting part of the rug less appealing? The dry tanning I had done ruined ears & noses, plus the costs & time it took to get back was ridiculous. (Maybe wrong tannery) I am using mainly Liqua-Tan by Knobloch. Will the quality of my rugs not be as good or the longevity not be there. Looking for some input. Thanks
     
  2. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Ok my thoughts and take no offense here as your not sure on how a rug is done.
    Riggers get them in ( if your mounting the head) in dry. Then they will sponge the flesh side and stretch the bear on a wooden stretcher. Make the necessary cuts in the pits , sew, and let dry. After that it gets sewn.
    You don’t see the backing on a wet tan bear for there’s no stretching and the drying will make the felt crumpled up and it’ll look bad.
    If your getting bad quality from a tannery then personally I would find a different one as they may not be specialist in degreasing.
    Bears are a pain to process properly. Not saying a home tanner can’t do it but there’s a lot that goes into bears compared to any other animal.
    Liqua-tan is fine but I would suggest that you use a some type of soak tan to insure proper tanning. If you miss any part of a bear with a rub on tan I will say this ( I’ve seen it done and helped worked on there’s that used a rub on tan) your looking to have slippage cause it wasn’t done properly. At least a soak tan will get into areas that you might miss . Now not to say it won’t work is not true but under proper knowledgeable folks ( Ken Walker) used loquacious-tan on his fake panda mount yrs ago. The main thing is knowledge and he has it.
    use a citric acid bath as it’ll aid in degreasing your bear but I’ll soak them for a month in the pickle plus it may take up to 3-4 degreasing to be processed properly. Good luck and enjoy
     

  3. tru-2-life

    tru-2-life New Member

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    Thanks Frank for the feedback. I do put my hides in a pickle bath for 2-4 months before I do the degreasing or shaving of the hides. Then I apply the tan. I have not had slipping for years. I have made a stretching board for bear rugs years ago. So I will use this after I mount the head. I guess were I am getting confused is if I tan with the Liqua-tan or I could use Lutan-F will the rug still make the felt crumple? The problem I have with sending the cape out at this time is they told me 7-8 months to have dry tanned. I have a bear hide all salted and dried since Sept. I am ready to relax & put in my pickle. I would like to complete this project for this guy but don't want to have it not turn out to the best that I can do. So the question is can I still do a good job with wet tanning using the Lutan-F or the Liqua-tan.. or do I bite the bullet & put it out another year. I just want to do the best I can. I know if I send it out it would be less work. But I would like to finish this project before I have a major surgery in March & not sure how long before getting back to work on it.
     
  4. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I would only do a rug with a professionally dry tanned skin. I have always done it that way and never had one turn out bad. I have had them come back from a certain tannery with one missing the chin, another with the ears shredded like fringe and the other missing the pigment on it's hole head and epidermis on the nose completely missing and it sucked, but a little Appoxie Sculpt, thread, paint and a replacement chin and all was well. I never used them again.
     
  5. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Tanning with either is not going to make a difference in softness.
    A hide needs breaking in order to get soft. So it’s either you get a 6-8’ tumbler or start breaking by hand.
    After I tan mine and I’m a fan of ex-100 I do oil them twice before I start breaking my rugs.
     
  6. tru-2-life

    tru-2-life New Member

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    Thanks I should have sent the hide out sooner to another tannery. I had the same with some of the hides I sent out also. In the future I will check out comments from other people about the tannery I will choose. For now I'm going to do this one & try my hardest to break it to as soft as I can get. I appreciate the feedback.
     
  7. tru-2-life

    tru-2-life New Member

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    Ok thankyou for the advise I will do my best in breaking the hide to get a good outcome. This Bear Rug has been a pain... but I'll learn form this one on what to take on & what I should send out for tanning! Thanks again
     
    Frank E. Kotula likes this.