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Question About Neutralizing

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by 101stcurrahee, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. 101stcurrahee

    101stcurrahee Member

    The instructions with all the chemicals I’ve been using for the last few years from Van Dykes talk about using bicarbonate at 1 oz per gallon to neutralize after the pickle. It says the optimal ph for hides to tan is 4-5

    My natural water is 7. Should I not use any bicarbonate? I’m thinking when I put the hide in straight tap water it will end up closer to 4-5.

    Is there a more precise way to do this?

    Should I try it with straight water and then test the ph after 20 minutes to see where it’s at? It says over neutralizing is very bad so I don’t want to mess it up but I’m not sure how to make sure it’s right. Water ph varies so that recipe of 1oz per talon can’t be good for everyone?
  2. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Stop thinking and follow directions
    Most tap water is 7pH and adding the sodium bicarbonate is what raises the pH in your hide for a proper tan.
    If you want to try an experiment add 1/4 lb of salt just to your tap water. ( I’m adding salt to stop acid swell and saving your cape for this) put your pickled hide in that. Check the pH now. Yep going to be low and your cape is not neutralized properly and then the tanning process begins and if the capes aren’t the buffered acid swell.
    For all the yrs that the tanning industry has been around working with chemicals it’s amazing on how folks without thinking and understand they have no chemistry background think they are reinventing the wheel.
    Directions are made to insure proper tans etc so that the home tanner can get close to tannery style cape for mounting.
    There’s a reason why your capes need the neutralizing done this way. There’s a chemical process that is going on here and probably the tan your using is an acid tan. These tans love acid and need acid located in the center of the hide ( I’m talking in layman terms here) so when you neutralizing a cape it raises the pH on the outside of the cape. ( over doing it only hurts acid tans) ( chemistry again here) Now what happens is the acid tans is at attractive to the acid and goes right in to the center of the cape to insure a complete tan. Not neutralizing it will slow down the whole tanning process and may only tan the outside of the cape and not get to the center. Hence more than likely acid rot or swell.
    Hopefully this gives you a bit of insight on why all you chemists out there should stick to reading and following the directions that you were given.
    elk74 likes this.