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#175944 - 01/28/03 06:53 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
River Runner Offline
PM is my life

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 8930
Loc: Bloomington, WI
Actually if the hide is still wet you can oil it again, and that would help a lot.
But your answer about the fleshing machine, yes you can, but it would be a lot easier if the hide was at least damp when you did it.
I'm assuming that the hide is "completely" fleshed, so what you'll be doing by going back to the flesher is thinning the skin.
Now on your next hide you'll find it to be a good idea to spend a little more time around the neck area of your deer and you can shave er down after you fleshed and pickled it.

Another tip would be; as the hide drys if you tumble it for an hour a couple times a day, it will really soften up the hide.
If your wife doesn't find out, you can put it in your cloths dryer with the heat "turned off". It'll work the same as my tumbler does here

[EDIT] By the way...as long as you don't call me in the middle of the night and get me outta bed, your not botherin me
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#175945 - 01/28/03 08:19 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
Silver Fox Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 07/22/02
Posts: 297
Loc: North Branch Mi.
It's already tanned and dried. What can I do, if
anything, to wet it down now? Or what should I do to soften up a tanned and dried fur?

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#175946 - 01/28/03 11:49 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
River Runner Offline
PM is my life

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 8930
Loc: Bloomington, WI
There's not a lot you CAN do now that it's dried. Unless you sand it down but that's a pretty poor technique with shady results.
Breaking the hide needs to take place once it's tanned and before it's dry. During the drying stage.

What you'll have to do now if you want to go back and soften it is, lay the hide out flesh side up, cover the entire flesh side of the hide with some wet towels or rags, and cover the entire works up with some visqueen to hold the moisture in. Let it set like that for a day or so. You might have to go back and moisten the towels.
When the moisture has gotton back into the skin, and I don't just mean the surface, you'll know if it's INTO the skin, then you can go back and shave it on your wheel, or heat up some oil and oil it again.
Let the oil sweat into the hide as before, and you'll have to go through your breaking/drying process all over again or the rest of the hide will stiffen up too.
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#175947 - 01/28/03 02:57 PM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
coyote lance Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 12/07/02
Posts: 51
Loc: Amarillo, Texas
Back again. Have not had the chance to try tanning anything since my last post. What are some easy animal skins to try and tan? I do not have a lot of choices, rabbits seem to be a little out of the question due to their thin skin. Should a coyote be easier? Not sure if I mentioned this, but I am trying to use the Lutan F tanning kit. I have followed the directions very carefully, would pickling for a longer period of time make it easier to take the layer of fat off?

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#175948 - 01/29/03 12:15 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
River Runner Offline
PM is my life

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 8930
Loc: Bloomington, WI
Tanning them isn't hard Lance. The work is in preparing them, and finishing them.
Deer flesh the easiest, and require the least amount of finishing as far as cleaning the fur goes. Deer have hollow hair, kind of like straw. So it's easier to clean, unlike fur.

Pickling will make it easier to flesh a hide, yes...BUT, and I can't stress this enough guys, you have got to get the fat off these hides before you attempt to pickle them. Otherwise the hide does not get pickled, the grease in the fat will block it.
Exposed meat and tissue will firm up in the pickle bath making it easier to flesh as long as it's not covered in a layer of fat while being pickled.

The fat on just about any hide you work on, is going to be the easiest to remove. Deer especially, the fat is like a stiff wax or suet. It can be scraped off with the blunt edge of a knife.

Scrape the fat off your hides before you pickle them. And don't forget to return the hides back to the pickle for at least 24 hours once you have fleshed everything off. (meaning the meat and membrane)
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#175949 - 01/29/03 08:34 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
Silver Fox Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 07/22/02
Posts: 297
Loc: North Branch Mi.
RiverRunner, is there such a thing as pickling for to long? I've noticed alot of your posts have stated to flesh after the fur has been pickled. Is there a reason for this or just personal preferance?

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#175950 - 01/29/03 09:02 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
River Runner Offline
PM is my life

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 8930
Loc: Bloomington, WI
No you can't really pickle them too long as long as the solution maintains a safe PH level.

A couple of years ago I had half a dozen coyotes and a few beaver hides that were given to me by a trapper. I figured I'd get them done in the slow season and get them out of the way since they were my own. Those hides ended up setting in a pickling solution for over three months because I got busy a week later.

Fleshing after pickling? Actually I do it here before and during. Before; to get off the fat as I mentioned before and anything real big on the hide. And then a few days later I pull it out and give it the final work over removing the rest of the membrane and any thin layers of meat.
Why?... as I mentioned before the acid helps firm up the tissue. Fleshes easier.
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#175951 - 01/29/03 06:32 PM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
coyote lance Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 12/07/02
Posts: 51
Loc: Amarillo, Texas
that may be my problem, I was trying to pickle then take fat off, will try the other way around my next time. Thanks for all the help.

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#175952 - 01/31/03 03:42 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
Silver Fox Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 07/22/02
Posts: 297
Loc: North Branch Mi.
RR, in your opinion what is the bigger factor in
getting a fur to be supple: thinning it down on the wheel or tumbling after the oil sweats in.
Also, when you hang them to dry do you hang them over a bar or are they clamped up to hang in a single thickness?

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#175953 - 01/31/03 07:15 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
STTH Offline
New Member

Registered: 01/18/03
Posts: 18
Loc: Turd Crick, MO
River Runner, nowhere in your tanning process does it mention stretching the hides. Do you have much shrinkage? Also does the tanning process after the pickle make the hide waterproof? I "tan" a few hides but my process ends after the pickle. After the hide comes out of the neutralizer I stretch it until it starts to dry and then break it to be soft. I have had several hides done this way for several years and there is no sign of deterioration. I know that the hide is not actually tanned but I guess my question is what advantage is there in going further in the process if I don't gain anything. Also can you tell me anything about what you use as a tumbler, I am always looking for an easier means of breaking hides.

Thanks for any info, Ross.

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#175954 - 01/31/03 09:17 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
Silver Fox Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 07/22/02
Posts: 297
Loc: North Branch Mi.
RR, I just remembered the other question I had. How do you tell when a hide has been in the tanning solution long enough?

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#175955 - 01/31/03 09:22 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
River Runner Offline
PM is my life

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 8930
Loc: Bloomington, WI
Silver Fox, I think softness is achieved by many things and not any one in particular.

If the hide is not fleshed properly the tan nor the oil can penetrate the skin resulting in a stiff hide.

A good tanning oil helps a lot also. It replaces proteins that are removed from the skin during pickling.

Throw the breaking process in there, and the comination makes the hides soft and supple.

Any thin skin will be softer then a thick one, so yes thinning them on the wheel will make them softer.
Think of the chamois you use to wash your car with. You know how thin that is. And it's so soft you could blow your nose on it. Then take a look at that new belt your brother in law got you for Christmas. It's a lot thicker and much stiffer. Granted the belt didn't go through the breaking process as long as a chamois would and it's made with top grain, but you see what I'm saying.

Tube skinned hides I hang by the nose, flat hides I open up and hang.
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#175956 - 01/31/03 09:28 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
River Runner Offline
PM is my life

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 8930
Loc: Bloomington, WI
That's kind of hard to explain, Silver. If your using the #100 you never want to leave them in for a full 24 hours. They just go dead sorta speak and lose all their elasticity.

Coyotes, Fox, Bobcat, and other small varmint types I leave in for 14 to 16 hours.
Deer, Bear, and bigger game I leave in for 16 to 18. Never more them 20.
It's really not that critical as long as they aren't in too long. You'll have the same results pulling them out at 16 as you would 18.
Just don't go over 20 hours.
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#175957 - 01/31/03 09:42 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
River Runner Offline
PM is my life

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 8930
Loc: Bloomington, WI
STTH, welcome to the board my friend

I do stretch hides that I tan. It's part of the breaking process. I think your referring to stretcher type stretching an the answer is no I don't.
Shrinkage? There isn't a tan in the world that eliminates any shrinkage in it's entirety. But I can say that I do get very very little shrinkage. That's all in the tan though. Different tans have different effects when it come to shrinkage.

Pickling does not waterproof a hide, no. And neither does a lot of tans. Some prevent water from leaching the chimicals out of it better then others but that's the extent of it. You'd never throw your good leather coat into the washing machine, you know what I'm saying?

The hides your pickling, your right they aren't tanned. They will last quite a while because they are acidified, like temporarily preserved. But they are far from leather and won't last near as long. I can't imagine the breaking process involved with finishing your hides, wow.

My tumbler I made. It consists of a rectangular frame with four legs. Two half inch drive axles running the length of it supported on top of the frame by a pillow bearing every 10 inches, and a six inch wheel every foot between the bearings to support the tumbling cell.
Underneath is the motor pullied to one drive axle, and on the other end of the frame the two drive axles are pullied together so both drive.
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#175958 - 01/31/03 10:01 AM Re: new to tanning (please help me)
STTH Offline
New Member

Registered: 01/18/03
Posts: 18
Loc: Turd Crick, MO
RR, by tanning the hides is the breaking any easier? I did a deer hide a few years back and breaking it about did me in. Is the #100 you talk about mixed in with the acid or plain water?

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