1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

Slippage After Neutralizing

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by evanmart20, Dec 7, 2021.

  1. evanmart20

    evanmart20 New Member

    I’ve scoured the archives and found lots of different threads about slippage but wanted to get some input on my process of home tanning. I’ve done about 50 deer heads the past few years with minimal issues and today had a mule deer hide slip worse than anything I’ve ever seen (see attached), I could’ve cleaned the hair off almost the entire hide if I wanted to.
    I’m using pro-1 chemicals and following their directions.
    For This cape:
    Rough flesh and salted hard/dry. Rehydrated for about 12-14 hours, pickle ph 1.5-2.0 for probably a week til I got to shave it, then back to pickle, another shave and return to pickle. Didn’t notice any slippage/excess hair in pickle. Today I pulled the cape out of the pickle, drained, and neutralized for about 30 mins (5 gal lukewarm water, 2 cups salt, 1/2 cup baking soda). Upon pulling the cape out of the neutralization and rinsing, I started to notice hair… dried out cape in preparation for applying oil and that’s when it all came out. I should note, I’ve been checking the ph of my neutralized skins and have consistently getting a ph of 4.5ish. Do y’all think this slippage happened at the neutralization stage or the stage simply revealed the slippage that was already occurring? I’m worried about this happening again.

    Attached Files:

  2. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Look up my post about not neutralizing, I use Pro 1 stuff also , I do 50 to 100 deer capes and small game L/S pcs a year and been home tanning for 25 years and stopped neutralizing 24 years ago because of slipedge after . I pickle for 3 days thin cape put back in pickle for 2 days , take out hang and drain , squeeze out excess , then brush on tanning cream and roll up . Then you have 2 choices 1 ,you put in bag and freeze or 2 , you let sit for no less then 6 hours then wash in cold water with tide ,dawn and a cheap shampoo and conditioner, rinse well , hang and drain, wrap in towel to dry as much as possible while you prep form to mount , then mount . If you go with 1 , when you ready to mount you can thaw in clear cold water then follow #2 and mount . Try to find my post as I ask why you need to neutralize . A lot of good conversation but for what we do there is no need to . Why pickle then take it back out by neutralizing. I can show you gorgeous mounts that are 20 plus years old with no cracks splits or thin spots .
    coroner2 and evanmart20 like this.

  3. jrandall71

    jrandall71 Member

    What was your pickle ph at day 3? I've seen ph change after skins have been submerged after initial readings. If the pH stayed the same then I would think it happened in the neutralization step or before the tanning process.
  4. evanmart20

    evanmart20 New Member

    Ph day 3 would have been right around 2.0, maybe high 1s
  5. Steve Rotramel

    Steve Rotramel We got some radical rebels in this county!

    12 to 14 hours rehydrating for a thoroughly dried skin is not enough in my opinion. The hide needs to be completely softened, plump, and soaked through before it goes in a pickle. Limp washcloth style. Don’t be afraid to do a quick once over on the shaver to open it up.

    The collapsed (and glued) fibers of a dried hide prevent the penetration of any following chemical processes. Pickle doesn’t soak into a hide as much as it is drawn in by the osmotic force of fresh water surrounding the fibers of a fully soaked hide. If there is no fresh water surrounding the fibers, and ungluing them, the pickle doesn’t get drawn in. So essentially you’re left with semi raw skin that never gets fully pickled even after extended time floating. About the time it gets fully soaked in the neutralization/wash, the hair lets loose.

    Comes off in sheets. Slides into the trash. I’ve had the nightmares.

    Also, I’m a big fan of clean, but not at all a fan of washing. Tumbling scrubs the hair fine and doesn’t jeopardize the hair set.

    Edit - Also, that week in the pickle before any shaving is a possibly contributing culprit as well. The semi-dry, semi-glued skin is already vulnerable. Leaving it a week in that condition before shaving only makes it worse. Shaving is key to getting the fibers fully opened up and accessible to the pickle.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2021
  6. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Could be many variables here. It could have already been a bad cape to begin with and you not knowing till it got tanned. Yes unfortunately most of us find out issues after the tan cause that’s when it really changes the cell structure. It’s not the tan that caused it but issues in the cape as your skin is probably tanned beautifully.
    Now if heard of skins slipping cause of over neutralizing and or having the baking soda added to fast that causes this.
    I have a different opinion on skins being neutralized prior to tanning . It’s going to depend on your tan as some tans will tan without neutralizing prior to the tan yet some tans it’s a must cause of the companies chemicals require it to be a higher pH for their tans to accept it. Those tans which we call acid tans get buffered at the end of the tan to set it. If we don’t buffer it then you end up with an acidic skin and in time can have acid rot.
    You might be better into looking into trying different tans that can be buffered later on.
    As for my neutralizing it’s 1 tablespoon or ounce per gallon of water and they soak for only 20 minutes. Your 1/2 cup seams a bit much as I know Paul likes to neutralize a bit longer like an hour but says to add in the baking soda slowly over time to raise the pH before using his tan. You may want to talk to the manufacturer to aid you more being it’s his chemicals. I don’t use that tan as I’m more into using ex-100 very easy tan plus it’s used a lot in the garment industry. Or try Lutan or switch to a rub on tan like Tru-bond 1000b, liqua tan that work great also.
  7. evanmart20

    evanmart20 New Member

    I know when it comes to slippage its very hard to pinpoint the issue as there's so many variables in play. However, I am trying to figure out my problems as I've had 3 more capes slip pretty bad on me this season. I have never had issues with slippage until this year. I historically used Mckenzie brush-on tan, and this year switched over to Pro-1 brush on-tan.

    I have been reviewing my process and think the problem is earlier than the neutralization bath, as I've noticed some slippage in the pickle. My only changes from previous years is I've been rehydrating after salting a little longer (commonly 8-12 hrs whereas previously would throw an overnight salted cape right into the pickle) and have been using Atesan LPW instead of Kemal-4 in the rehyrdation bath (5 gal water/no added salt/Atesan LPW). I've also been using a little degreaser (Pro-1) in the pickle that I historically didn't use. Do you think either the use of Atesan LPW or degreaser in the pickle could be contributing to my problems? Seems doubtful, but they are the only two elements that are "new" in my process.

    I have always been told the pickle is my "safe spot" and have often left skins in the pickle for a week or more as I've taken my time in fleshing/shaving them. Could this be the source of the problem? perhaps the pickle isn't penetrating quickly enough and my extended time in the pickle is actually hurting rather than helping.

    Just racking my brain trying to figure this out, anything jump out to anyone? makes me want to switch to a submersible tan.
  8. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Not sure exactly what you do but this is exactly what I do with no issues using pro 1 .
    I thaw cape slowly under a towel in mild temps , unfolding as it thaws without pulling it open .
    I turn and rough flesh , but get all meat tissues and fats off , to include thinning the chin and eye meat off .
    I salt heavy and tuck head in hair out in kinda a ball , set on a drain rack . I leave to drain for only 3-5 hours tops .
    I run a clear cold water bath of about 5-7 gals . As to not make a mess I put cape in my hand inside a big bag and shake the heck out of it to remove as much salt as possible. Then put in water bath , no longer then 10 mins, This is only really to get as much blood as possible out of cape . Cape will be a tad tuff/stiff but will relax in pickle.
    I take cape out of water , hang and squeeze out for just a few mins .
    Then into the pickle : pro 1 safety acid at a 1.5 ph , I make a 18 gal acid bath and will put up to 4 capes in it .
    I agitate it every time I go past it with a wooden stick I just leave in it . At night I have a plastic bread rack front the grocery store cut to fit my trash can tubs and I use them to submerge capes over night , pushing them down and using whatever to hold them down. Next day I agitate all day again . Keeping ph at 1.5 -1.8 ish . I do that for 3 days .
    Then I run on machine thinning as much as possible. Then back in pickle for 1 -2 days again agitating as much as possible and submerged over night . Note the agitating is a must as if something is bent or creased it will open it .
    After that I take out and hang above pickle bath to drain . I squeeze out , but leave hanging for hour or so .
    I then brush on pro 1 brush on tanning cream . I then ball up ,hair out for 6 hours , I then freeze or wash and mount . As you see I did not or do not neutralize .
    To your questions if pickle is correct it can stay in as long as needed, months . If you would like to call me feel free to do so , I’d be glad to help: 410 -977-1856 Glen
  9. evanmart20

    evanmart20 New Member

    Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it. 2 questions.
    1) without neutralizing, do you ever worry about acid rot or significant amounts of salt left in the skin? those are some of the arguments I've heard for why i should neutralize. any thoughts?

    2) I'm noticing my problems are appearing on some late-rut, thick, heavy coated animals. I usually use individual 5 gallon pickles for each hide. I haven't really had problems with pH spiking, but In my research I'm realizing the volume of my pickle is probably too low for large midwest whitetails. Perhaps my pickles aren't penetrating well enough/my skins are crowded. Any thoughts on that?
  10. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    I would say your problem is to small of a bath , it needs more room . I use 30 gal tuba ware trash cans with the wheel kit so I can move them around , I have 2 and I alternate as I put them in , like I said I make 18 gal baths . As far as salt , most is washed out in the rinse and there is not that much in the pickle , after the wash and shampoo and such it’s brought down some anyhow . I have mounts over 24 years old when I used Formic acid with no issues and never neutralized. Being mounted there is way less chance of acid rot compared to rugs and such . This is one way I think about it , if a acid bath can go week over time and it does , then with the dawn, tide and shampoo and conditioner washing , which some of those products have neutralizing values any how . So it’s enough to work without issues either way . Please just call , all this typing on my phone lol is killing me .
  11. Westcoast

    Westcoast Well-Known Member

    Anyone tried not neutralizing while using Trubond 1000? Curious as to what the end result would be.
  12. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    I haven’t and my thoughts would be this. Any hide that requires neutralizing prior to using a rub on tan can
    1 end up with acid rot
    2 tan may take
    3 tan may take if left on longer so that the tan penetrates.
    We know liqua tan was no pickle and just rub on but they changed to pickle neutralize then use it for better results.
    Even with static tanning most love acid but need to basified at the end of the tan to set it.
    Good question for ole shaver the maker of it.
    Westcoast likes this.
  13. ShawnCrose

    ShawnCrose Member

    I use Truebond 1000 and have no problems with slipping. Capes look great
  14. Westcoast

    Westcoast Well-Known Member

    Have you used it without neutralizing?