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Neutralizing Tell Me Why

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by 13 point, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I believe that what I think they call a curl test is what they use to determine if something is tanned or not. I believe that the hide is heated up to a certain temp. and how it reacts lets you know. I never really paid much attention to how to go about doing that, because I was satisfied with the end result of what I was producing, so I just accepted that it was preserved either by turning into leather or some other chemical means that I felt was suitable to the outcome I was looking for. Tanning is a form of preservation as well.
     
  2. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    This makes perfect sense , and is what I’m asking , just saying you didn’t follow prodacall so it’s not tanned to me isn’t an answer . It’s like if I put 10 treated hides out and just one was a professionaly tanned wet tan how could anyone tell and how can you tell , that’s basically what I’m now asking , not arguing Not disclaiming anyone just trying to figure this out . Is the answer truly, you did not do it this way , the way it has always been done , so it’s not tanned .
     

  3. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I remember this came up in the tanning section many moons ago and if I'm remembering correctly, the consensus, by true tanning experts, was that the only way to truly tell was the curl test or maybe it was called the shrink test, anyway, to heat it up until it did something that showed it to be tanned. Even then, an experienced taxidermist posed the question; Is the test 100% accurate and I seem to remember that the answer was Fairly accurate. He then posed the question; if a mount lasts a lifetime or more and it's not actually tanned, what difference does it make? And that is the question that led me to the conclusion that I will use a product that does what I want it to, follow the instructions and trust that the makers new what they were doing and if it's not truly tanned but acts the same as a truly tanned hide, what difference does it make? My DP'd mounts still look as good as my tanned mounts from the same era, well over twenty years ago.
     
  4. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Bless your 13 Point. I've asked that question for 60 years and have yet to get an answer that satisfied me. As Keith said even the paint on seem to hold the test of time. Glen Conley and I talked at length about this.our suppositionwas that once neutralized, perhaps the cell structures to become "thirsty" to receive the tanning acids. That was the best we could do. You just have to wonder why you would take a hide to 1.0 then raise it to 7.0 and then introduce it to and acid solution of 4.5 or lower. I was never as concerned of acid burn as I was about acid swell.
     
  5. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Yea I’m just trying to understand the whole concept and how you can say it is or isn’t tanned , what about Brain tanning or smoke tanning, it’s been around for ever , are those hides tanned or preserved? I am happy with the product I turn out . My capes have stretch and plyability and meet the criteria of a tanned cape/hide and I’m going to look deeper into find out how to tell if it’s tanned , I find it kinda funny we have all these tanners and taxidermist and the only answer is , if you don’t do it this way it’s not tanned and yet no proof or test of how we can tell it’s not . As George has said your taking a hide you lowered the ph down to Change the fibers/molecules just raise it back up to make it thirsty, how do we know it’s not taking the tanning cream in when it’s at a lower PH , what can I look for to show me that .
     
    Robert Baker likes this.
  6. 15pt

    15pt Active Member

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    What's crazy is all the arguments over DP vs Tan and nobody even really knows if something's really even tanned.
     
  7. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    I'm not an expert by any stretch but if I'm not mistaken different tanning agents are attracted to different Ph levels. I an not going to argue that what works for you is wrong but if a company puts out a tanning agent and in the directions it says to neutralize, and to so use baking soda, they likely aren't making any money for that part so I suggest that you do it. They must have or had a valid reason for telling you to do it.
    I don't remember the specifics on judging a state of tan but 2 folks that use to post a lot here were old shaver and hudson, if you can contact them, they may help you answer your question.
     
    rogerswildlife and Kerby Ross like this.
  8. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    The short answer is you can't tell if it's tanned or not just by look and feel (stretch, softness etc.). The only way I know of is the test I posted earlier, but who wants to do that on every hide?

    I wouldn't worry too much about it. I think you're good on what is working for you.
     
  9. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Yes sir and yours is the only post that says there is possibly a test . The ironic part is , who’s to say that all the different tanning products and companies out there and just because they have a certain let’s say recipe to follow who is to say that they aren’t just following the basic protocol as it don’t really hurt to do it but if they really cked into it it’s not needed . Here’s how I got to this issue, I went to Joe Meaders corse in 96 and was taught his method with Formic acid . To include neutralizing bout 5 years after that I was working with a guy helping him catch up on his back load , anyway he also used Formic acid and he didn’t neutralize and we got into a conversation about it and he ask me if when I neutralized if I ever had any issues with slipping or loose hair or orange texture (swell) anything, he said I’m not talking bout a cape that already had issues, I said yes I had , I think we all have . Anyway he said he took a chance and skipped the neutralizing and everything came out the same , and he had less ify capes with less issues. So we did a little comparison a few capes with and a few without neutralizing. Everything was exactly the same except the baking soda neutralizing step . We could not tell the difference but one of my capes was loose , not slipping but the hair was like it wasn’t set . He said that’s why I stopped neutralizing. That was like 20 years ago and I haven’t neutralized since . Thanks for reading and all comments.
     
    Frank E. Kotula likes this.
  10. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Your best way of knowing if it’s tanned or not ( ok we have the boil test) but under a microscope will show you how the cell structure has changed.
    Both Steve R and Abrey have shown this either in breakthrough magazine and on FB. I don’t remember seeing it on here but that’s how I would say if it’s tanned or not by that way.
    That’s the only method I can come up scientifically
     
    13 point likes this.
  11. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Thank you sir , I’m finding out that we all do a lot of assuming that what we do is producing a tanned cape , I also feel that there is basically only one guide line that must be followed to the tee or most will say what you have done has not produced a tanned hide , with no proof if it is or isn’t. Lastly I still don’t know if neutralizing with biocarbnate ( baking soda ) is a must or is it being done thru washing it . I also understand the concept of what they say being thirsty but again to say the tanning cream didn’t penetrate the hide/cape the way I do it . I guess we may never know until I try a test SOMEDAY, when I do I’ll let you all know . Thanks again for all comments
     
    Wildthings likes this.
  12. Monte

    Monte Missouri fur-Limited hair-tanning

     
  13. Monte

    Monte Missouri fur-Limited hair-tanning

    How do you send a PM I cannot figure this thing out since they change the format
     
  14. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Frank, that's what the test was that I had learned about here, thanks I'd forgotten.
    I'd venture to say that you could just as well skip the tan step. Why not try that. A pickled cape is preserved and once dry will likely be stable, for our purposes. We are not continuously flexing and moving the skin once it is mounted and dry so flexibility isn't really needed is it?
    I normally question most things, so I appreciate your point 13 point but when it comes to using products such as tans, I will follow the directions. It doesn't cost much more and doesn't take much time to do but if your way works for you by all means, I won't argue.
     
    Frank E. Kotula likes this.
  15. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    I still think the tanning cream is a must and the hide does expand and contract and most good hide paste has a flexibility to them to allow this to happen. Just remember most things that can’t move break ( ie crack ) so I’ll keep putting the tanning cream on them .
     
  16. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    I get what you are saying, I was just posing a question as to why skip one step but not another when the instructions state to do both. I've never Dp'd any mammal but have seen mounts done by others, that do, that a trained eye has a hard time telling if it was tanned or not and those are not oiled. I don't know the answer and ain't real sure that there is a definitive one. I've just in the last few years started tanning more on my stuff in house.
     
  17. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Hit or click on the persons name.
    A box comes up with their profile, then hit start a conversation. There’s your pm
     
  18. Monte

    Monte Missouri fur-Limited hair-tanning

    Thank you Frank just now kind of starting to figure it out a little bit
     
    Frank E. Kotula likes this.
  19. Didn't check for a few days and this thread got good discussion. yes, as others have said, a boil test is what is used to check the completeness of the tan/dress. We don't do it in our industry, but the leather industry does constantly on batch samples, their product end use is not static, it needs to hold up to wear and the environment.

    A lot of people refer to a pickled skin as acid tanned. It isn't tanned because the structure has not been changed, but it is preserved because the acid has basically dissolved the non tannable proteins that will get putrid/rot over time. Removing the fats is the most important of all since they will oxidize and become fatty acids that will continue to degrade the fibers over time.

    You hear the term acid rot, and it's normally blamed on the residual acids from the tan, but from my experience the acids from the oxidized fats left in a skin are more devastating. Bears are a good example. When you see a bear skin that is cracking and tearing, acid rot, where is the first place it goes bad? Typically it's the paws. Unless the claws and toes are stripped off there is always fat that can not be removed mechanically down in there. That fat is also so much heavier that chemical de-greasing is not going to get the job completely done.

    Thin skins like red fox and coyote are pretty simple. They do have fat in the fibers, but it is easily removed with a good de-greasing. Once the fibers of the skin are "clean" because of the pickling, and you add an oil back in as a lubricant, the fibers break fairly easy leaving you a soft skin.

    On heavier skins, the change that takes place during tanning will make them soften much easier and remain so.

    A clean pickled skin will work fine for a wall hanger, and stored properly last for a long time. If you have any fat or meat that was not removed completely it can becomea target for bugs.
     
    13 point likes this.
  20. Jim McNamara

    Jim McNamara Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I have a question, had some dry tanned skins for lifesize. Trapper tanned wall hangers.
    Rehydrated wolves in water with a little salt. One wolf would tear if stretched much in the back legs. The other the face was tender in the lips and eye lids and would just tear apart.
    Two red fox, both were rehydrated in just plain cold water per tannery guys instructions. Both animals would just tear if I tried to stretch, especially in the area around the rump and back legs. One leg literally tore off it was so weak.
    What caused these issues. I figured it was acid rot but reading this it appears to not be the case.
    Thanks, Jim