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Is there a natural tanning agent that is clear?

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Is there a natural tanning agent that is clear?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby GBov » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:43 pm


I am really happy with my super strong black tea tanning method for all the darker furs and it even works well on the lighter hides but I want to do a batch of white hides and there is sometimes some light staining to the white bits of broken colored hides which I dont want with the white hides.

And while I could just toss the finished hides into a wash and then give them one last rebreaking, being lazy I would rather miss out that extra step.

So I suddenly wondered, is there a clear, natural, tanning agent or are all natural tans, well, tea colored? :lol:

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Re: Is there a natural tanning agent that is clear?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby shazza » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:15 pm


i want to say egg and brain tanning doesn't involve tannins in that way, so it may work for you. i hear they can be tricky to get right, but if you have a bunch of white pelts to practice on it wouldn't be that big of a deal. i think they also will need to be smoked.
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Re: Is there a natural tanning agent that is clear?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby GBov » Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:29 pm


Yep, done the brain and the egg (lovely buttery hides and ultra soft fur) but that process gives what is called conditioned rawhide while the tannins in veg tanning gives an actual tanned hide.

As my hides tend to live in the bed with the kids until I get enough to do the blankets (30 hides done and more in the dryer tumbling as I type) it needs to be totally natural, instead of a chemical taw or tan.

I am happy with the tea method and if my 30-year-old mouse hides are anything to go by, it's a durable tanning method but I was wondering if there was another natural tanning method that didn't stain.

Will keep working on the darker hides and the broken hides and leave the white ones for later, still have over 150 to work with. Perhaps if I do the tea bit first and then give them a wash in the washer it will remove the surface tea while leaving the hide the way I want it? Hmmmmm that might just work!

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Re: Is there a natural tanning agent that is clear?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Ghost » Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:30 pm


Not to be an antaginist, but I might ask why are you restricting yourself to natural tanning agents? And how un-natural of a tanning agent are you willing to use. I can definataly understand not wanting to use toxic tanning agants. If you are going to touch and breath around the finished product, I would difinataly avoid mercury, arsenic and formaldehyde (all have witch been used in the past) as a tanning agent.

Are these objects going to be handled around food, or just used as clothing? Are these going to be used as dog toys? In these cases you want to limmit toixic chemicals. Are you looking for a procedure that you can perform in a post-apocalyptic world?
You have to do the most good for the most. You most remember that a few will won't make it. Don't be ashamed to shed a tear for the ones lost along the way, we will not hold it against you. Just remember "the herd goes on".

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Re: Is there a natural tanning agent that is clear?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby GBov » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:21 pm


"Are you looking for a procedure that you can perform in a post-apocalyptic world?"

:lol: I did have to laugh! :lol: No, just trying to rediscover cheap, easy and nice ways to tan hides WITHOUT having to purchase anything or use anything that is, to my way of thinking, unnatural or extra.

All my hides, once tanned, are almost in constant contact with human skin. Not only do the kids pack their beds with them, I have a few I tuck in under my own covers.

When I say the tea stains the white, it's just the very tips of the fur from tumbling in the dryer drum with the other hides, a bit like pee staining in a buck but not as bad. In fact, it's only me that has even noticed the slight darkening to the white on the broken hides I have done so perhaps its just my perfectionism showing. :oops:

Oh, its blankets I am working on right now but as all three kids are clamoring for one of their own, I am having to process enough hides to do three lap throws at once. :roll:

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Re: Is there a natural tanning agent that is clear?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby shazza » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:08 pm


synthetic tans shouldn't be an issue if you're touching it a lot, they use synth tans to tan fur and leather for coats and other clothes. unless you're planning on eating the pelts afterwards, or someone is allergic to the tannins, i can't see how it'd be a problem. i've also not had issues with synth tan staining fur. the one i use at least, which is a soak tan, can be tossed down the drain or outside once neutralized - it's not harsh at all. but i guess if you are trying to avoid buying chemicals, that wouldn't work.

you may try painting the tan onto the skin of the pelt, if possible? there are brush-on synth tans, i imagine you could come up with a formula for a brush-on natural tan. it may be way more high-maintenance than a soak though, you'd likely need to reapply it several times a day to make sure it penetrates enough.
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Re: Is there a natural tanning agent that is clear?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby GBov » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:51 pm


Shazza, I do paint on the veg tan, onto dried hides so it penetrates nicely. Thinking on it now, it must just be a residue on the hide that is rubbing off onto the fur side in the tumbling part of the process.

So if I just sponge the hides clean after they have soaked up all the tea they can, before conditioning them, then the problem should be solved.

Well, fingers crossed anyway.

I love brainstorming. :D

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