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Alum & Salt Tanning Questions?

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by 2Foxes, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. 2Foxes

    2Foxes New Member


    Yesterday my husband and I picked up a beautiful fox on the road and I would like to tan it. My dad picked up a fox the same way 10 years ago and I had my first (and only) try at this art.

    The first time: We kept it in the freezer in a paper bag for 3 months waiting to find a taxidermist (sp?) but gave up when I offered to try tanning. Thawed it, skinned it to make a flat pellet (did a terrible job on the tail and poor little face!) scraped off what I could and put it in 1lb Alum, 2lb Salt in 2.5 gallons of water for 2 weeks stirring once a day. Then I took it out, rubbed it with salt, stretched it on a board and let it completely dry. Pulled off my now stiff skin and rubbed olive oil on it before working it over my knee for a few days while watching a movie or talking with family. Never got really soft, just pliable. Had it laying on a dresser for years before getting married and putting it in a box. Pulled it out of storage yesterday and noticed parts of the skin are very fragile. Tried sewing a few spots and while most of it held, some times the needle would cause it to break more. Brittle. Rubbed on some leather lotion which seemed to help. The fur is still soft and beautiful. Maybe I will just make it into a purse :D

    Now, the second time. We were on our way to church when we came across it. Fresh, still warm. Must have just been knocked out as there was no blood or tire marks.
    We put it in a black plastic bag but didn't get it home until after church. Put it into a bucket with ice. We had to be some where last night so it's been kept on ice ever since (over night) I just moved it into the freezer after coming across this site. We plan on skinning it tonight when my husband comes home. We don't live in an area where tanning supplies are readily available other than Alum and salt. (I'm a country girl forced to live in the suburbs) I'm thinking now I might follow these steps, any suggestions?

    1. Case? skin hide and wash in mild soap and water.

    2. Put in Alum/Salt brine for 3 days

    3. Pull out and then scrape.

    4. Put back in brine for 1 1/2 weeks

    5. Pull out let semi dry before applying oil and working/stretching until dry.

    6. Smoke for 30 minutes.

    Am I missing anything?

    Thank you :)