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Acid Swell

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by Felpy, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. Felpy

    Felpy New Member

    Tanning a couple of Musk Ox and had an employee leave them in the solvent solution 20 min longer than reccomended then he put them in Dawn detergent solution and then decided to go to lunch. When I pulled them out of the vat the leather was rubbery, translucent and had swelled. All I could think of was acid swell. I put them in a strong saline solution (43%) and immediately they started to return to normal. I would like to tan them tomorrow and was wondering should I mix a full pickle or just leave in the saline solution overnight? Any problems I should look out for down the road?
  2. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Have these been pickled already? Sounds like osmotic swelling to me..

  3. Bruce_Rittel

    Bruce_Rittel Consultant Services

    Hi Jeff!

    Who was the lucky guy that got to shave that Muskox? LOL!

    I dont think the solvent solution will be a problem for you, although I'd still try to stick with 30 minutes on future baths. The part that has me a bit concerned is the soapy solution soak he left it in. A long exposure to soap (or any alkaline solution) like that not only will swell the skin, but if left for any length of time, it literally will pull the fibers in the flesh apart, and when its finished it will look OK, but the leather is very weak. Do this - when it is finished, cut a long sliver from the edge and try to tear it. If it tears like paper, you're dealing with a weak skin. If it has some heft to it - you're OK.

    The other thing that the soap may cause is that an alkaline has a tendency to weaken the epidermis. That usually shows up in the form of loose hair. It may not be slippage, but when you comb it out, you'll notice more hair than usual. Again, wait until you groom it for the customer and if it does happen, try to minimize it by spending some extra time, removing those loose hairs.

    You absolutely did the right thing using the saline bath to return that swelling to normal. Lets hope it wasnt of any length of time to do any damage. My best advice is to return it to the pickle at least overnight and then go to your tanning solution tomorrow as planned. For all those potential worst scenarios I painted, you may find yourself not having any problems at all. However, I wouldnt hesitate to discuss it with whoever it was that did it, and make sure it doesnt happen again.

    Let me know the final outcome! Say Hi to everyone in Sitka for me!

    Bruce Rittel

    PS - Was your wife able to do anything with those split sheepskins I sent?
  4. Felpy

    Felpy New Member

    Cyclone - these were pickled and shaved skins.


    Thanks for the reply. I panicked for a bit until I saw the skins returning to their normal appearance. I'll let you know next week how things turn out. If things turn bad I'd like to deduct replacement cost from the guys pay but he doesn't make enough. :D

    My wife hasn't had a chance to do much with her business or the splits you sent. Between her "real job", keeping up with our kids, and me taking on the high school football coach postion there's not enough time in the day.

    Take care.