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BassMouth87

Dying Thin Skinned Fur's

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It happens so far on a pelt of red fox that I got off e-bay, appears to be a professionally tanned pelt that was meant as a wall hanging. It does appear really old, so that could explain it being fragile and giving me issues, but the other pelt is an arctic fox pelt from a hunter/trapper in Northern Ontario who does this for a living, I have dyed his coyote and opossum no problems, but the arctic fox is very fragile with the skin although it seems tanned the same way as the other furs.

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Is it really tanned or just dried (raw hide) if tanned it should be soft pliable leather. If just dried it would be stiff and crunchy.

 

Steve

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The ebay red fox is 100% professionally tanned....the stuff I get from the hunter trapper its soft pliable leather, no smell, no signs of fat, and I can see pockets of sawdust in the corners of some folds inside the pelt itself, so its not a proper tan but I assume the sawdust takes out moisture along with something like borax.

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Its the way the hides are done. most hides from trapping are just salted and scraped to get the fat off. tanning changes the skin and makes it more pliable. Look for furs from the garment industry. It's not your dye or vinegar. there's a chart for Kool-Aid and other soft drink mixes for making other colors. Black is the combination of black, blue, red and green dyes. Black is the hardest color to get right. make sure you are not getting your dye bath to hot too. Have never heard of using sawdust on a pelt, if they put them on a stretcher and scrape the fat, then salt its fine once they dry.

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If it's stretched and dried that's not a true tan. Being thin skinned like a fox can be part of the problem there. Basically the hide is like raw hide strips. We used to soak them in water to repair split rail fence. If you forgot and left a piece overnight it would be goop by morning. Thin skins deteriorate much faster and heat only speeds up the process. With Fox my way of dying raw hide as opposed to tanned (stretched and dried is not tanned soft and pliable like suede is tanned) pelts is to get the bath just below a boil. Drop a dry but clean piece into the bath and immediately remove from heat. It should have never reached a boil. I then allow it to set where it will cool very quickly so that it gets to room temp fast. As soon as I get to room temp I dump it and allow it to dry. Cold water rinse after it has dried.

 

Steve

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On a side not... hides from trapping that are intended to be sold to a garment industry will (or should be) NOT salted. The simple act of removing all of the membrane and fat by fleshing the hide then stretching it to dry is enough. Salting a hide is highly frowned upon by the industry as it reacts poorly to the tanning solutions. The saw dust on the other hand is rather common... Not for drying the fur but for tumbling the fur. When dried I tumble my coyotes, Bobcats, and foxes in a large drum with borax, sawdust, and corn cob media to clean, shine, and fluff the fur.

 

Steve

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Maybe ill try skipping the soak and going right to the dye...might help a bit, and the fur is pretty clean so the soak may not be doing a whole lot to begin with.

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While I've not tried dying any furs for many years, I do remember reading that in order to obtain a true black, many folks would have to dye their skins twice and even then a true black can be hard to obtain...

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On my last run through with fur I skipped the pre wash and just went straight to the dye batch and things seemed to hold together better...might be a solution to the problem on cleaner furs and skins. Have also been messing around a lot with dying feathers and have been having good luck, the same dye that wont do well on fur does GREAT on feathers, got a nice dark black out of it.

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