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Newbie Tanning

Discussion of fur breeds, tanning pelts, using the furs, marketing.
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Newbie Tanning

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Schipperkesue » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:21 am


Now let me preface this by saying that if this topic has been done to death, please just provide some links for me!

I would like to try to tan some rabbit skins. I have NO idea where to start as there is such a wealth of information out there. I need some help to sift through it all and to devise a plan that best suits me. How do I start something so new and foreign to my set of skills?

Here are some salient points:

I do not want to use brains, but I am ok with any kind of chemical. (Sorry, I am not at the point where I am prepared to crack open a skull.)

Costs of materials are not a concern.

I would like the skins to be soft.

I hope to retain as much fur as possible.

I have plenty of time and I am detail oriented.

I learn best by viewing, so a video would be helpful as well.

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Re: Newbie Tanning

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Becky » Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:26 am


I will admit that I haven't done any tanning yet, but I found these instructions on the internet that seemed pretty easy http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a- ... tch/#step1

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Re: Newbie Tanning

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Schipperkesue » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:24 pm


Nice pictorial! Where does one buy battery acid?

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Re: Newbie Tanning

Post Number:#4  Unread postby alforddm » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:32 pm


Here's one that uses Rittle's EZ Tan. I think that was one of the tanning agent that Zass recommended? I ordered some of the EZ tan it was pretty cheap. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet though.

http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.ph ... 668.0.html

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Re: Newbie Tanning

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Ramjet » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:18 pm


Schipperkesue wrote:Nice pictorial! Where does one buy battery acid?


At the auto parts store , usually in a gallon size.



I used the Salt & Alum (Aluminum Sulfate) method and had great success , no fur slippage and ultra soft leather.

1 cup salt (Non Iodized)
1 cup alum
3 gallons water

Soak hides ~72 hours - retain solution.

Flesh

Add 1 cup salt & 1 cup alum to the original solution , add hides.

Soak for ~7 days.

Remove from solution , flesh if required , stretch and work leather , hang to dry stretching occasionally.

You can get Alum at most feed lots and some hardware stores & its fairly cheap. 25lbs cost me $11 and will process several dozen hides.

I recently made my son a rabbit fur hat & a couple pillows. Next project is a bit more ambitious in a double sided king sized blanket out of Rex hides. That's going to take a load of hides.
Hindsight is always 20/20 but looking back its still a bit fuzzy.

https://www.facebook.com/texrex.rabbits

TexRexRabbitry@Hotmail.com

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Re: Newbie Tanning

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Zass » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:41 pm


alforddm wrote:Here's one that uses Rittle's EZ Tan. I think that was one of the tanning agent that Zass recommended? I ordered some of the EZ tan it was pretty cheap. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet though.

http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.ph ... 668.0.html


That brush on syn-tan is nice because it has the oil already mixed with it, so that it tans and oils in one step. Pickling isn't necessary with it either, but I always pickle...that link will explain the reasons very well. People should read it, as there is SO much confusion about acid pickles, with most mistaking them for tanning agents.

It looks like that method was for the Ez-100 formula. It's possible the product name has been changed since it was written. She does a good job explaining the basics of tanning though. :) Ex-100 is good stuff. I use it for heavier hides that require more oiling, like deer. In that case, it's handy to have the oil in a separate step, as I might want to oil twice.

Here's one of me using acetic acid(vinegar) as my pickle.
tanning-easy-and-using-vinegar-as-a-pickle-experiment-t18829.html

The quality of skins you can produce is going to have more to do with your fleshing and breaking ability, than whichever chemicals you decide to use.
Last edited by Zass on Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Newbie Tanning

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Ramjet » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:51 pm


Zass wrote:
The quality of skins you can produce is going to have more to do with your fleshing and breaking ability, than whichever chemicals you decide to use.



I agree with this statement , fleshing & breaking is the time consuming and somewhat delicate part. Done right you get a nice soft leather.
Flesh it too deeply / rough & you get a hide with holes & tears.
Stretch it too roughly & it tears. Don't work it enough you don't get that soft leather.

Be firm yet gentle & thorough when working the hide after the "chemical process." Don't try to do it all in one pull , take your time.
Hindsight is always 20/20 but looking back its still a bit fuzzy.

https://www.facebook.com/texrex.rabbits

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Re: Newbie Tanning

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Schipperkesue » Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:34 pm


What tool do people use for fleshing?

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Re: Newbie Tanning

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Zass » Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:42 pm


For rabbits, I use dull old antique carpet knives (a common yard sale find here. )

You can see one in each pic
2971
2221

Fleshing is one of those "find a method that works for you" type of things.
As everyone seems to have a different way of going about it

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Re: Newbie Tanning

Post Number:#10  Unread postby cmfarm » Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:11 am


What exactly is involved in the stretching part?

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Re: Newbie Tanning

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Zass » Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:09 am


cmfarm wrote:What exactly is involved in the stretching part?


I think breaking is where most people have the hardest time.

Simply defined, it's the process of pulling the leather fibers apart as it dries, so that it doesn't dry stiff. Note: AS it dries...not AFTER

Use whatever tools you have on hand and feel comfortable with. I find that the dull, rounded backs of my carpet knives make handy breaking tools. Thankfully, rabbit hides do not require anywhere near the force that deer hides do. Fryer hides can easily be broken by just pulling and working with your hands alone. For heavier leather, a lot of people use chair backs...or whatever other handy edge or corner is available to pull it over.
Hair off skins are often twisted, but that isn't recommended with fur.

The suppleness of your finished hide is entirely dependent on how well broken it is. It's not uncommon for me to re-wet and re-work a hide several times to get it to the desired suppleness. It can be tricky, because each portion of a skin (back, belly, neck etc.) will require slightly different amounts of force and will probably all be at different level of dryness.
Too dry and it can crack or rip, too wet and it simply will not break...

Here is a youtube video I found :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63Qt8BlfMac

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Re: Newbie Tanning

Post Number:#12  Unread postby SEP board » Sun May 01, 2016 11:26 am


Tagged.

I was following some links about tanning and found this thread. Once I get to that part I would like to be able to do something with the pelt other than just throwing it away. This will be a new thing for me so I'll be looking for all the info, tips and tricks I can find. Thanks.

:)

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Re: Newbie Tanning

Post Number:#13  Unread postby GBov » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:36 pm


SEP board wrote:Tagged.

I was following some links about tanning and found this thread. Once I get to that part I would like to be able to do something with the pelt other than just throwing it away. This will be a new thing for me so I'll be looking for all the info, tips and tricks I can find. Thanks.

:)


Trust me, after you do all the work, you will NOT be throwing it away! :lol:

I have hundreds of hides frozen adn also dried. Have to do another batch of finished hides as I have sold the last of my finished hides.

There is always a reason why the hide you have produced is to be kept, even summer fryer hides have beauty.

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Re: Newbie Tanning

Post Number:#14  Unread postby bigfoot_158 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:37 pm


Alum is not tanning it is consider tawing. Technically, tawing is not tanning. Check out this link below.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanning
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Re: Newbie Tanning

Post Number:#15  Unread postby Zass » Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:52 pm


bigfoot_158 wrote:Alum is not tanning it is consider tawing. Technically, tawing is not tanning. Check out this link below.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanning



It's true. The confusion seems to stem from people substituting the word "tanning" for "preservation."

Just because something isn't a tan, it doesn't mean it's an unacceptable method of hide preservation.
It really depends on the intended use for the finished product, and the environment it will be kept in.

From what I've researched, right up until chrome tanning became the industry standard sometime in the 1800's, fur pelts were generally preserved by non-tanning methods, such as tawing.
Last edited by Zass on Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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