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Using Pickling Crystals

Citric Acid - Environmentally Friendly

Substitute Oxalic Sulfate or Formic Acid for Citric when tanning with Tannium (Chromium Sulfate).

Pickling Crystals Directions:

Prior to pickling, it is highly advisable to flesh and salt flesh side of hair-on skins for 12 to 24 hours. Salting removes skin moisture and sets the hair. Wash skins thoroughly after salting period prior to placing in pickling solution.

Pickle Bath:

Dissolve 3 ounces pickling crystal volume and 1 pound salt for every gallon of hot water. Always remember to let the pickle solution cool to room temperature before placing skin into it! Use a minimum of 5 gallons of pickle solution to pickle an average full shoulder deer cape. Use a minimum of 2 gallons pickle solution for a fox skin. Minimum pickle time for a deer cape is 24 hours, however pickling for 24 hours and then re-fleshing the skin and returning it to the pickle for an additional 24 to 48 hours will assure a thoroughly pickled cape. Deer back hides may require 6 to 8 gallons of pickle solution depending upon the size. A good test to assure your skin is pickled is as follows: squeeze the hide between your thumbnail and forefinger. The indentation you make should remain in the skin. Continue pickling the skin if the indentation disappears. Do the indentation test on several areas of the skin to assure the entire skin area is pickled.

Neutralizing Pickled Skins:

Low pH of acid pickle in most cases assures the killing of bacteria that causes hair slippage. However, if the pH is too low prior to tanning, most tanning chemicals will rapidly fix to the skin's surface with little or no penetration. The interior of the skin will become stiff on drying as a result of grain collapse. Neutralize pickled skin prior to tanning by using 1 oz. of Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda) per gallon of water. Use a minimum of 1 gallon of water for a fox skin, 2 to 4 gallons for a deer cape and back hides. The crucial part of neutralizing is the amount of time the skin is in the neutralizing solution. A good starting point would be to neutralize a fox skin for 5 minutes, remove and rinse; a deer cape for 10 to 15 minutes, remove and rinse. Over neutralizing pickled skins can result in slow and unfixing penetration of tannins. Neutralizing time can and will vary depending upon the amount of time pickling, the kind of acid used and the thickness of the skin. It is always best to neutralize for a short interval. After neutralizing, rinse the skin thoroughly and place in the tanning solution. Neutralize used pickling solution by putting dissolved Sodium Bicarbonate into warm water and adding to the pickle solution, test with litmus paper. Solution should be neutral at a pH of 7. Start by using 1 oz. of Sodium Bicarbonate per 5 gallon of used pickle. After neutralizing to 7 you may discard the solution. Use litmus paper for testing pickles and tanning solutions.

Note: Van Dyke's Taxidermy Supply Co. offers these instructions in an advisory capacity and assumes no liability. Such information is the same as used in our own successful experiments, and since we have no control over the environment or the materials upon which our products or instructions will be used, no success is guaranteed. Trial must be performed to account for individual circumstances. In all suggestions, we recommend reading the formulas that have been provided for your evaluation. These are proven formulas that you may find beneficial, from the experience of other tanners.

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