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Old 03-25-2009, 02:45 PM   #1
Big Brass
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Default DIY hide tanning

I was given a bobcat recently that the hunter decided not to do anything with. I am going to tan the skin so I thought I would post up the process I go through. This is the method I have figured out and it has worked well for me so far. It's not professional quality but it is a fun DIY proect for me.

I start out with a rubbermaid tub filled with water.


And I add 2 pounds of canning salt from Wally world. This is a 4 lb box. We'll use the rest later.


Next I put in 2 capfuls of Lysol Concentrate and mix well. This is my thawing solution. I add the salt and Lysol to kill any bacteria during the thawing process. Bacteria are what cause hair slippage.


After that is mixed up I add 1 frozen whole bobcat.
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Old 03-25-2009, 02:49 PM   #2
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Looking forward to the rest of your progress. Keep them coming and thanks for posting
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Old 03-25-2009, 02:50 PM   #3
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Interesting. Keep it coming.
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Old 03-25-2009, 02:54 PM   #4
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Nice. Thanks for posting. What's next?
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Old 03-25-2009, 02:59 PM   #5
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I let the cat marinate in the thawing solution until it is flexible enough to skin.


I start the skinning process. I did not get many good pics of the skinning process. My wife was less than thrilled at the idea of taking pics of a half skinned cat in our garage.


And end up with one bobcat pelt and skull. The skull is going to a friend in the DFW area who has been looking for a bobcat skull to get Euroed for his office. You can see the size of the hole where he was shot.


I try to remove as much of the meat and flesh from the hide as possible and then I lay it out on a flat area with some salt. I'm using a large rubbermaid tub lid here.


I lay the hide out and start thoroughly covering it with salt.


And here is the hide completely covered with salt. I may have overdone it a bit. I used 8 lbs of salt for this one hide.


I'll leave him in the salt for 24 hours. Tomorrow afternoon I'll shake the salt off and start the pickling process. I will be using the Lutan F tanning kit from Van Dykes. Before then I need to go buy some more salt.
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Old 03-25-2009, 03:11 PM   #6
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Rock on! Can't wait to see the rest
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Old 03-25-2009, 04:30 PM   #7
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How many critters have you skinned using this "thawing" solution?
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Old 03-25-2009, 04:31 PM   #8
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hurry!
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Old 03-25-2009, 04:51 PM   #9
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good post
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Old 03-25-2009, 05:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texastaxi View Post
How many critters have you skinned using this "thawing" solution?
This is the first I've skinned after thawing in this brine. But I have used the same brew to thaw 3 other hides that were just skinned and frozen. In this case I just needed to thaw the cat to make it flexible enough for me to skin. The other frozen hides I just wanted to get them thawed out to salt them. I don't know if I am really getting any benefit from the Lysol and salt but it doesn't seem to hurt. It's just a simple 'peace of mind step'. I realize this whole thread may seem pretty comical to a taxidermist but I'm just having some fun with hides that otherwise would end up in the trash. I know my process and results are far from professional.
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:30 PM   #11
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Keep it coming!! Cant wait to see the finished product!
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:34 PM   #12
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Toby,

I am glad you are posting this. I have a bobcat in the freezer that my wife killed. I have not done anything with it yet. When you are finished with it I will show my wife, and then hopefully get to do it to HER bobcat.

Tommy
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Old 03-25-2009, 11:31 PM   #13
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Keep us posted
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Old 03-25-2009, 11:38 PM   #14
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I've never seen anyone thaw an animal (or un-tanned hide) in any kind of solution.
It's new to me and I was just wondering if you've done enough like that to encounter any problems.

I rehydrate, measure, then freeze all my dry tanned capes and of course, freeze the wet tanned capes. I do put them in a sink full of water to thaw them, when I'm ready to mount, but I've never done it with an un-tanned skin.

Not saying it's wrong ... just never seen it done.
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Old 03-26-2009, 12:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texastaxi View Post
I've never seen anyone thaw an animal (or un-tanned hide) in any kind of solution.
It's new to me and I was just wondering if you've done enough like that to encounter any problems.

I rehydrate, measure, then freeze all my dry tanned capes and of course, freeze the wet tanned capes. I do put them in a sink full of water to thaw them, when I'm ready to mount, but I've never done it with an un-tanned skin.

Not saying it's wrong ... just never seen it done.

It's interesting to see the difference in the professional process to me. Again, I am not looking for anything suitable to mount but am just making tanned hides that are suitable for throwing over a couch or ottoman. I came up with that brine recipe after reading every written description of processes on the net that I could find. The science involved in disinfecting and salting makes sense to me (I have a degree in zoology and studied microbiology in grad school). I don't need the precision or care in my process that a taxidermist making a mount requires. I just need something that does not shed hair and will look presentable on a chair back long term. I have a blackbuck doe hide I got from Wil Taylor (delriowil) a few years ago that I tanned using the same process and it turned out to be a very nice ottoman rug with NO slippage of hair using this same process.

I'd like to see from a taxidermist the process they use to split lips, ears, tails, nose, etc... This is still a mystery to me. I, and I am sure many others posting on this thread, would love to have the input of a pro on how to do this.
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Old 03-26-2009, 12:31 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Brass View Post
I
I'd like to see from a taxidermist the process they use to split lips, ears, tails, nose, etc... This is still a mystery to me. I, and I am sure many others posting on this thread, would love to have the input of a pro on how to do this.
me too
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Old 03-26-2009, 09:11 AM   #17
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awesome thread, I've had a kitty in my freezer for almost a year now, can't wait to see how this works out, looking forward to trying your method....keep the post coming
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Old 03-26-2009, 09:18 AM   #18
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awesome info
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Old 03-26-2009, 09:22 AM   #19
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Great Info. Thanks, look forward to the rest of the process.
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Old 03-26-2009, 04:02 PM   #20
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Here is today's progress. Like I said earlier I am using Van Dykes Lutan F Tanning Kit.


The hide has been salted for 24 hours. It is time to put it into the pickling solution where it will stary for the next 72 hours. I started by putting about 4 gallons of water into a bucket. It is easier for me to guesstimate 4 gallons in the bucket vs the rubbermaid tub.


The instructions with the Lutan kit call for 1 lb of salt and 0.5 ounces of Saftee Acid per gallon of water.


So I added 4 lbs of salt and 2 ounces of Saftee Acid to the water and mixed it up well. Be careful with the acid and use goggles to keep it out of your eyes.

Last edited by Big Brass; 03-26-2009 at 04:12 PM..
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Old 03-26-2009, 04:10 PM   #21
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The instructions say the pH of the pickling solution should be about 1.5-2. I dipped a strip.


And verified my pH was good and acidic.


Now that the pickle is mixed, I add one salted bunny hide,


And one salted bobcat hide.


Interesting observation - bunny hides float and bobcat hides sink.


The hides need to pickle for 72 hours. I will take them out Saturday afternoon and scrape them to thin the hides some and remove a little more of the membrane from the skin. Then they will go back into the pickle until this time Sunday afternoon. I will go out a few times between now and then and give the pickle a stir. I'll update Saturday with some pics of thinning the hides.

Last edited by Big Brass; 03-26-2009 at 04:14 PM..
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:01 PM   #22
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hurry!!! i want to see the rest
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:02 PM   #23
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cant wait to see how it turns out
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:41 AM   #24
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I will defiantly be keeping up with this as I too have a few hides that need to be tanned.
cool thread keep up the good work!
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:27 PM   #25
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Sweet...I have always wanted to do this this will help!!
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:37 PM   #26
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AAHHHH!!!! The suspense is killing me....
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Old 03-27-2009, 01:10 PM   #27
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Good thread!
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Old 03-27-2009, 01:41 PM   #28
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Bravo! Great work.
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Old 03-27-2009, 03:55 PM   #29
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marked so I dont forget it
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Old 03-27-2009, 05:44 PM   #30
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Thanks for documenting this process. I have heard about the Lutan-F but never seen it in action. Great thread!
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:12 PM   #31
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Pretty cool!
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Old 03-28-2009, 11:08 PM   #32
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Cant wait, ready for more info. I thought it was coming out of the solution today. I guess I will have to wait till tomorrow. Great thread.
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Old 03-29-2009, 02:05 PM   #33
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Sorry for the delay. Yesterday was community garage sale day so I was busy watching my boys and trying to keep the wife from selling all of my hunting stuff. Not a whole lot of progress as the hide has just been sitting in the pickle the last few days.

I took the skin out of the pickle this morning.


And gave it a thorough rinse with the hose. The pickle is very acidic so I rinse the hide so I can handle it while thinning.


Then I spread the hide out. There is still a lot of membrane and subcutaneous muscle that need to be removed before it goes in the tan.


It takes a while because the muscle is really tight to the skin. I gradually work it and the bulk of the membrane off. In some areas I can just pull it off. Other spots take the knife. The area along the center of the back is where the muscle seems more tightly attached to the skin.


You can see the difference in before and after thinning the hide. I've removed most of the muscle and membrane. There are still some spots left but I am not worried about those. They will come off when I sand after the hide goes through the tan.


I put the hide back in the pickle after I got done thinning. This evening I will rinse and neutralize the hide and prepare the tanning solution. The lutan f kit calls for hides to remain in the tan for a specific period of time. I will time this evenings activities so that when I put the hide in the tanning solution tonight, it will be ready to come out when I get home from work tomorrow.
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Old 03-29-2009, 02:24 PM   #34
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Where can you get that solution? Is there a web site or do you get it from somewhere like Cabelas, BPS, etc?
Great Thread.....
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Old 03-29-2009, 02:28 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowanta View Post
Where can you get that solution? Is there a web site or do you get it from somewhere like Cabelas, BPS, etc?
Great Thread.....
It comes in a kit. There is a pic of the kit on post #20. It has all of the ingredients you need except the salt. You just mix it up in water following their directions. I think you can get it at Cabela's. Not sure about Bass Pro, or Gander Mountain. You can also order it from Van Dyke's Taxidermy supply online.
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Old 03-29-2009, 02:30 PM   #36
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Very cool! Thanks!!
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Old 03-29-2009, 08:30 PM   #37
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Minor setback. I need 2 lbs of non iodized salt for the tanning solution and forgot to go buy some more salt. I'll leave the hide in the pickle and get more salt on the way home from work tomorrow. Tomorrow evening I will neutralize the hide and prepare the tanning solution. An extra day in the pickling solution will not hurt.
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Old 03-29-2009, 10:26 PM   #38
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good thread always wanted to know how to tan a hide.
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Old 03-29-2009, 11:01 PM   #39
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Keep it coming, very interrsting read
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Old 03-30-2009, 11:28 AM   #40
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so far so good, keep up the good work
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Old 03-30-2009, 11:31 AM   #41
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interrsting, keep the post coming
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:11 PM   #42
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This is something that i really would like to try myself, keep the info coming.
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Old 03-30-2009, 07:43 PM   #43
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Van Dykes has a website. And they are now owned by Cabela's. vandyketaxidermy.com
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Old 03-30-2009, 08:26 PM   #44
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Very kewl, can't wait for the finish.
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:15 PM   #45
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Great thread!
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:43 PM   #46
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Good stuff right here. Glad to see you posting up sir.
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:30 PM   #47
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Im sitting on the edge of my crapper awaiting the next read!!!
This is great stuff!
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:54 AM   #48
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Great Job of showing your steps. I might have to give this a try.
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:08 PM   #49
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still loving this thread keep it coming, and thanks for sharing
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:18 PM   #50
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Great read! Keep it coming!
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