tanning suggestions from van dykes

hide tanning

in this newsletter we will be discussing the art of tanning your trophy fur or hide. there are many different options out there that seem to work for the people using them; therefore we will be giving you four different options that you can try, to see what works best for you. for the first three options, you must salt and pickle, using either pickling crystals or safetee acid.

1. lutan
2. syn-oil tan
3. curatan
4. tannium

let�s first look at a product from van dyke�s called lutan-f. mix the lutan f accordingly:

1. for every gallon of water:

  • add 2 ounce of lutan-f
  • add � lb of non-iodized salt
  • (optional) a bactericide, basacryl, ps-650, or lysol: 1 tbls @ gallon

2. use enough water to allow the hide to float freely in the lutan-f solution

          raccoon 3 gallons water, 6 oz. lutan-f, 1 � lb salt
          fox 3 gallons water, 6 oz. lutan-f, 1 � lb salt
          coyote 4 gallons water, 8 oz. lutan-f, 2 lb salt
          deer cape small 5 gallons water, 10 oz. lutan-f, 2 � lb salt
          deer cape large 7 gallons water, 14 oz. lutan-f, 3 � lb salt
          complete deer 12 gallons water, 24 oz. lutan-f, 6 lb salt

3. (caution: do not leave skins in the tan longer than the recommended time) submerge the hide or cape in the lutan-f for 12-22 hours depending on the hide

  • 12 to 14 hours for mink to raccoon and fox sized animals
  • 13 to 15 hours for coyote sized animals
  • 16 to 18 hours for deer
  • 20-22 hours for an elk or moose

4. remove from the lutan-f, rinse in cold water and drain for 30 minutes.

5. mix the pro-plus oil 1 part oil to 2 parts hot water. rub the oil/water mixture thoroughly into the hide.

6. for rug work or furs the hide should be stretched and broken as it dries. the combination tool 7tl14 works very well for breaking the hide.

7. if one has access to a tumbler, the hide may be tumbled for extra softness. a household dryer may be used provided if it is set on no heat and your wife/husband does not find out what you did.

your second option is to try syn-oil tan, which is another product from van dyke�s.with latex gloves, rub the syn-oil tan thoroughly into the cape. allow the syn-oil to absorb into the skin for a minimum of 6 hours. after 6 hours the cape may be mounted immediately, frozen (to be mounted at a later date), or staked and broken for rug.
(syn-oil is applied after fleshing, salting, pickling, degreasing, and neutralizing.)

your third option is to try curatan, another product of van dyke�s. first, lay the skin out flesh side up on a flat surface. wire mesh would be an excellent choice because it would allow air to get to the hair on the underside. as an option you may warm the curatan in a microwave or place container of curatan in hot water. apply curatan to flesh side with a brush or gloved hand. two ounces of curatan will do a red fox, and three ounces for a coyote. a large deer hide will take 6 to 8 ounces of curatan. leave skin flesh side up after applying curatan. make sure the room is 70 degrees to 80 degrees fahrenheit. a good room temperature assures fast penetration of the curatan. check light skins 8 to 10 hours after applying curatan. pull on the edge of the skin. if it is leatherizing it will turn a faint creamish yellow color. tease all the edges of the skin, working your way to the middle of the skin. if the whole skin doesn�t leatherize, simply leave skin lay for an additional 4 to 8 hours. when all the skin has leatherized you can begin flexing it by rubbing the skin across the edge of a table or half a disc blade. lay it on a flat surface for additional drying and work next day for several minutes. when the skin is completely dry, it may be sanded with a block and sandpaper. sixty to eighty grit sandpaper for deerskins. one hundred grit for light skins. sanding removes any membrane remaining on the skin and also makes the leather softer. remember to work the skins several minutes each day while drying. if a skin gets too dry before you can get it broke soft, simply take a dampen sponge and get the leather side damp. place the skin in a plastic bag to sweat. place the bag in a cool place for 4 to 8 hours depending upon the thickness of the skin. never leave the skin in the bag for more than 8 hours. remove from the bag, lay skin out flat and check periodically for the right time to tease and break. if you get any of the curatan oil on the hair, use van clean, 409, or any water soluble degreaser on a damp rag to remove it.

your final option to try is van dyke�s tannium. a oxalic acid pickle is used for tannium-for every 10 lbs. of skin. pre-dissolve 1 lb. of tannium directly to the pickle solution. optional: if you are planning on using fur brighteners or silver toners you should add them to the tanning solution at this time. stir well and return skin to what is now the tanning solution. agitate skin a couple times a day in the tanning solution. light skins will be tanned in 18 to 24 hours, and 48 to 72 hours for heavy skins. you still; however, should cut a cross-section on the edge of the thickest part of the skin. the skin is tanned if it is a light blue all the way through the entire thickness of the skin. continue tanning until the penetration test is positive.

we hope that you try one of these great tanning methods from van dyke�s taxidermy. they will be sure to leave you satisfied with a beautiful cape or mount. good luck! (click on underlined words to link to product.)

(keep in mind, before tanning you need to flesh, salt, pickle, degrease, and neutralize.)


contact information:
please call toll free 1-800-787-3355 if you require further assistance

van dykes taxidermy
po box 278
39771 s.d. hwy. 34.
woonsocket, sd 57385
phone: (605) 796-4425
email: taxidermy@cabelas.com


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