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Old 10-19-2015, 10:58 PM
Lerrooy Lerrooy is offline
 
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Question Tanning Salt & Alum Help

So thanks to a few people on here Ive found most of the ingredients and tools to use for taking on the task of skinning/fleshing/tanning
Fingers crossed I get my elk next weekend, I want to tan the hide. Would be used as a throw on a couch or bed. Ive been watching videos and reading posts for the past 2 weeks and still cant figure out a procedure list for tackling this.

What Ive got so far is Ive shot my elk, hes field dressed. Load him up and back at the cabin hanging upside down and skinned. (Hopefully in the course of less than an hour; any more and you risk slippage)
-Immediately take the hide off and place fur side down and spread out to cool quickly. In the meantime, finish dressing elk and get all cleaned up, quartered and hung.
-Once cool lay hide on beam or flat table and proceed to flesh the hide.
-For an elk throw on 25 lbs of fine non iodized salt
-Fold him up flesh side in and place in a garbage bag so I can take him home
-Once home lay hide out on a sheet of plywood at a slight angle. Scrape off old salt and apply a new thick layer of 25 lbs of salt
Day 2
-Scrape off old salt and rinse hide in a solution of cold water and dish detergent. Rinse in cold water. Wring out as best as possible.
-Mix up a solution of 1 lb Alum, 1 lb Salt, and 1/2 lb Baking Soda in 5 gallons of water. Throw in hide for about a week, stirring and tossing 2x daily
Day 9
-Mix up a solution of 1/2 lb of Borax and 5 gallons of water. Toss in hide and wash, rinse hide in cold water afterwards until clean
-Wring out best as possible and lay hide flesh side up on plywood
-While still damp, mix up a solution of 3.5 oz neatsfeet oil, 3.5 oz warm water, and 1 oz household ammonia.
-Apply half the solution to the hide, wait 30 min and apply remaining to hide
-Cover with a plastic sheet overnight so it doesn't dry to quickly and doesn't absorb fully
Day 10
-Lay hide out over a rope in garage to dry out the hair side
-Once dry, lay hide back on table and nail and slightly stretch the hide every 6".
-Once moderately dry begin working the hide over table edge or pole until dry
-Extra step would be to place in dryer on no heat tumble to further soften the hide
-Use wire brush or low grit sand paper to soften flesh side
-Comb and brush fur side, use dry shampoo if needed

This is all Ive got figured out based on the massive amounts of mixed information out there. Not sure if my mix recipes are correct or list of steps either. Seems to differ from source to source.
Any help and input would be greatly appreciated
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  #2  
Old 10-20-2015, 01:02 AM
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HunterDave HunterDave is offline
 
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I've done a few hides with hair on with good results but I don't profess to be an expert. I used that tanning formula in the orange bottle from Halfords and it worked very well. The things that immediately come to mind to me is that I never used near 25 lbs of salt, not even near that much. I fleshed the hide and salted it, making sure that it was worked into every fold, Fold it in leather on leather and rolled it up. Let sit for 24 hours and do it a second time. After doing it twice, it went into a salt bath for about 8 hours and then washed with dish soap, rinsed spread and dried. I might have done that twice, not too sure.

After awhile when it wasn't wet but still damp, I applied the formula and folded and rolled it up. I don't recall exactly how long that I left it like that but I believe that it was only 24 hours. After that I spread it on plywood and secured the edges loosely to allow for it to shrink.

I think that you need to have another look at your research. Here is what stands out for me:

- 25 lbs of salt is way too much. You'd have a layer about 1" thick,
- check out the use of borax. I'm relatively certain that you only use it to tan hair off hides as all the hair will come out with it if you use it,
- the length of time seems way too,long to me. I don't recall it taking me more than 3 or 4 days from start to finish. Using the formula my be different though.

It's late, I'm tired and I'm depending on my memory so give me a chance to read what I wrote in the morning and I'll double check everything. The process may be completely different from what I used but what you described sounds a lot different from what I did.
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Old 10-20-2015, 05:42 AM
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shakeyleg02 shakeyleg02 is offline
 
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I suggest you buy a tanning kit being it lutan f or another brand which will come with directions and you will feel much better about the whole process ..and i might add if this is your first time and you get an elk freeze the hide for another time and start with a deer hide to try first if you wont have a deer hide i can probly save you one im 30 min west of you pm me if you need anymore info any formulas ive used dont call for borax and deer /elk should not need to be degreased
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Old 10-20-2015, 08:22 AM
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jmparker jmparker is offline
 
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x2 on the tanning kit! i've done about a dozen critters with ez-100 (got it out of the states) it works really well. and it is a washable tan where lutan f is not. lutan is still a great product.

one thing regardless of what tannage you choose is to shave down the skin as thin as possible without cutting into the roots. a regular thick elk hide will not soften near as much without shaving the skin. this can be done with a good sharp fleshing knife, although it does take time and patience! shave the skin from the tail to the head as this will be in the direction of the hair growth and you won't cut through as easily.

if you do use lutan or liqua tan or similar there are different procedures for tanning with these products so make sure you check them out if you use them.

hope it goes well!
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Old 10-20-2015, 01:27 PM
RolHammer RolHammer is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lerrooy View Post
...Wring out as best as possible...
I know nothing about this & am reading purely for interest. Are you certain you would wring it? Seems like you'd want to avoid wringing to as not to distort/stretch the hide. Maybe 'press the water out as best as possible' instead?
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Old 10-20-2015, 09:37 PM
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HunterDave HunterDave is offline
 
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I figured that you wanted to go old school but for sure, the tanning solution is one hell of a lot easier. I'm currently at step 4 of putting a beaver pelt in a salt bath over night, just letting the boiling water disolve the salt and get cool before putting the pelt in it. I'm not sure if you can read the instructions. I thinned my hides with a wire wheel on a drill but they are still a little stiff, great for wall hangers.

The stuff that I use is from Halfords and is called "Deer Hunter's and Trapper's - Hide Tanning Formula". I think it's around $15. One bottle will do 1 deer....3 to 6 bottles for elk and moose.

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Old 10-20-2015, 09:40 PM
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HunterDave HunterDave is offline
 
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Originally Posted by RolHammer View Post
I know nothing about this & am reading purely for interest. Are you certain you would wring it? Seems like you'd want to avoid wringing to as not to distort/stretch the hide. Maybe 'press the water out as best as possible' instead?
The hide will shrink when it dries so stretching isn't an issue. Pulling the hair out might be if you are too rough though.
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Old 10-21-2015, 07:11 PM
Lerrooy Lerrooy is offline
 
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Thanks for your help so far guys, I might try the bottle tanning kits soon. Seems halfords carries Lutan FN, Liquitan, and KT Tan

Would any of these be better than the other, and what sort of preparation one would need for the hide?
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Old 10-21-2015, 10:05 PM
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HunterDave HunterDave is offline
 
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The hide from a buck that I shot in the neck on the floor is one that I did with the tanning formula. I fleshed it with my hunting knife....lol. It's about 10 years old and no hair slipping at all. I had it on the back of a couch but my Daughter recently got her own place and we gave her the couch that it was on. I've done coyote, beaver and weasel with it so far and they all turned out good.

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Old 10-21-2015, 10:16 PM
Lerrooy Lerrooy is offline
 
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Thanks HunterDave
Might have to use that too. Have you tried any other types of tans?
How soft did your deer hide come out as and how much did you have to work it afterwards?
What kind of wire wheel? Just an attachment for the grinder I suppose would work fine?

And then curious as to the warm water. Is it better to use cold water instead and dry in a cooler environment to decrease bacteria growth?
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Old 10-21-2015, 10:30 PM
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HunterDave HunterDave is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lerrooy View Post
Thanks HunterDave
Might have to use that too. Have you tried any other types of tans?
How soft did your deer hide come out as and how much did you have to work it afterwards?
What kind of wire wheel? Just an attachment for the grinder I suppose would work fine?

And then curious as to the warm water. Is it better to use cold water instead and dry in a cooler environment to decrease bacteria growth?
I didn't know the first thing about tanning and I just went by the very easy to follow instructions on the side of the bottle. If you follow it step by step, it works. I've never had a reason to try anything else. Just an ordinary 4" wire wheel to soften the hide works. Mine is not supple because initially I had it as a wall hanger and a little stiff was ideal. The longer you go over it with the wire wheel, it's supposed to get more supple.

Not sure what you mean about warm water? Last night I put in 1 lb of salt and I gallon of boiling water to desolve the salt and before putting the beaver pelt in I let the water cool, as in cold water. It's pretty cool here at night in the shack so the water was very cold this morning. The weather here is ideal for tanning in a garage or shed, it stays cool all day.
Get yourself abdeerbhide or two from people that would normally throw them in the bush just to get the experience and a couple under your belt. I saw the bottles today at Halfords, $17 each.

The only warm water that I used for my beaver pelt was washing it twice in dish soap to get the grease off and then a cold water rinse twice. It's hanging to dry a bit right now and tomorrow the formula goes on.
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Old 10-21-2015, 10:35 PM
Camdec Camdec is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HunterDave View Post
The hide from a buck that I shot in the neck on the floor is one that I did with the tanning formula. I fleshed it with my hunting knife....lol. It's about 10 years old and no hair slipping at all. I had it on the back of a couch but my Daughter recently got her own place and we gave her the couch that it was on. I've done coyote, beaver and weasel with it so far and they all turned out good.

I've used the tanning formula on beaver squirrel and marten. Everything works well on the thin hides. Beaver is another story. You need to thin them in the thick spots. Thes best luck I've had is brain tanning them. I like the idea of an authentic, natural tan as well.
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Old 10-21-2015, 10:44 PM
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HunterDave HunterDave is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camdec View Post
I've used the tanning formula on beaver squirrel and marten. Everything works well on the thin hides. Beaver is another story. You need to thin them in the thick spots. Thes best luck I've had is brain tanning them. I like the idea of an authentic, natural tan as well.
That is so nice. I might try brain tanning one day but for now I'm just too busy to take that on. I've done a couple of beaver but the pelt is not supple, it's more stiff than the deer hide. No good for hats or mitts but great for wall hangers. My next experiment is taxidermy of a mink. I have a nice pelt and just have to find a form and eyes. Probably not until Spring as I'm getting the mink professionally tanned.

EDIT - wire wheel on beaver is easy when it's still nailed to the board.
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Old 10-21-2015, 10:59 PM
Camdec Camdec is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HunterDave View Post
That is so nice. I might try brain tanning one day but for now I'm just too busy to take that on. I've done a couple of beaver but the pelt is not supple, it's more stiff than the deer hide. No good for hats or mitts but great for wall hangers. My next experiment is taxidermy of a mink. I have a nice pelt and just have to find a form and eyes. Probably not until Spring as I'm getting the mink professionally tanned.

EDIT - wire wheel on beaver is easy when it's still nailed to the board.
The fur prices have helped me expand my horizons. I would have never tried to tan a beaver at $80, but for 20-40 why not. Thin hides like marten/coyote/etc no problem. I picked up pig brain from a local butcher and followed various instructions from brain tan.com. The work comes in the breaking/softening. Be ready for a workout.
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Old 10-22-2015, 08:25 AM
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jmparker jmparker is offline
 
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just to add to the discussion here. i've found that if you want a soft flexible hide, using a good tanning oil after you have tanned the hide will help it with softness quite a bit! some i have used after tanning with liqua tan and ez-100 are liqua-soft and Tanning oil #1, i picked them up at aaa supply house in calgary.

grab a bottle of the orange stuff or pick up a liqua tan kit and follow the instructions exactly. you shouldn't have too much trouble.

good luck!
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