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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 .
    evanmart20 likes 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.