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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Leather Shop (Moderators: Marshal Will Wingam, Ten Wolves Fiveshooter)  |  Topic: How to Tan Snakeskin 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: How to Tan Snakeskin  (Read 6990 times)
GunClick Rick
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Scudders all of yas~

« on: August 10, 2012, 01:46:36 pm »

See Rittles snake tanning~You have to pickle the skins first,that's what makes the scales hold.Then it is tanning after that.

(Catalog #SSK-10)

RITTEL'S SNAKESKIN TANNING KIT contains all the necessary ingredients to
produce a real leather. Salt and White Vinegar are the only two ingredients
not included. These items are easily bought at a local store. Do not use
Kosher or Rock Salt - Non-Iodized Salt is best. Unlike other methods that
use Alum, Alcohol or Glycerine - RITTEL'S SNAKESKIN KIT produces a leather
suitable for crafts and leatherwork. The leather retains the distinctive
markings, plumps, has excellent durability, and strength.

* * * * * * * * * *
Fresh or frozen snakeskins tan the best. If you prefer to dry your
snakeskins, and tan them later - always avoid heat, and Salt them liberally.
After skinning - tack them out flat - flesh side up, flesh, and liberally
rub Salt into the flesh. Leave this layer of Salt on the skin for 2-3 days,
then brush it away, and allow the skin to dry thoroughly. Do not expose the
skin to heat, or direct sunlight while it dries - heat can render snakeskins
stiff and untannable. Heat causes the fibers to gelatinize to a glue-like
hardness - such skins are difficult and sometimes impossible to relax and
tan. To freeze fresh snakeskins - place them in a plastic garbage bag, and
use a twist tie to seal it - then freeze it solid. Snakes normally shed
their outer layer of skin to grow. This may occur during the tanning
process. If it does, remove the outer layer, and it should not affect your

Skinning - For Taxidermy purposes, usually an incision
Is made on the belly midway between the head and the tail, and after
loosening the skin from the flesh the skin is pulled off each end, similar
to removing a sock. For crafts or simply to display the skin - the snake is
skinned by making a belly incision its whole length, and the skin is
stripped from the flesh.

Fleshing - Snakeskins normally flesh easily. You can even use a Tablespoon
with 1 edge sharpened to scrape the meat from the inside of the skin. Some
tanners give it a serrated edge. Always - scrape the meat away working from
the tail towards the head to avoid tearing the skin. This is especially
important when handling small snakes.

Relaxing - Freshly fleshed snakeskins can be placed directly into the
Vinegar and Salt Pickling solution. Dried and frozen skins however, require
relaxing or thawing before they are pickled. For relaxing dried skins - Use
2 Lb. of Salt to every 1 Gallon of Water. Allow the skins to soak in this
Salt Brine until they become soft and flexible, then rinse and place them in
the Pickling solution. Frozen and fleshed skins can simply be placed
directly into the Pickle.

Pickling - To mix a Vinegar Pickling solution - mix 2 Quarts of White
Vinegar to 2 Quarts of Water, and add 1 Lb. of Salt. Mix enough solution to
completely submerge the skins without crowding! The Ph level should read
2.0-2.5 - it can be checked using Ph papers. Allow the skins to soak in the
Pickle for 2-3 days.

After your skins are thoroughly pickled - they can safely be left in the
pickling solution for several weeks, until you are ready to tan them. Stir
the Pickle at least once each day and do not expose it to temperatures below
50 degrees Fahrenhiet. When you are ready to tan the skins - remove them
briefly from the Pickle and rinse them. Squeeze out the excess water and
weigh them. Record this weight, it will be used to measure the amount of
KWIK-TAN tanning agent to use. For reliable results - always check the ph
level of your solutions. Ph levels are critical - and if not correct, your
chemicals will not be effective.

Tanning - When you are ready to tan - and after you have removed the skins
from the Pickle - add to the pickling solution: 6.5 Ozs. (by weight), or 5.0
fl. ozs. (by volume), or 2/3 a cup of RITTELS KWIK-TAN (KT-10), per 1 Lb. of
skin weight. Stir the solution, and then place the skins back into it. The
Ph level of the solution should read between 4.0 - if not, adjust it.

Leave the skins in the tanning solution for 12-20 hours. Snakeskins will
fully tan within this time. When tanned, remove the skins from the tan,
rinse and drain for 20-30 minutes - then oil.

Descaling - If you are going to use the snakeskin for making craft material,
then the scales should be removed. For Taxidermy or Display purposes, the
scales are usually left on the skin. To Descale - after the tan, rinse the
skins in Cold Water, then crumple the skins in your hands and you will
notice that the scales begin to fall away. Use a Brass bristled brush to
loosen the more persistent scales. Continue this process until the skins are
completely descaled.

Oiling - After tanning - all skins require Oiling. Prepare your Oiling
mixture by mixing 1 Part ProPlus Oil (PP-301) to 2 Parts Hot Water. Instead
of heating this mixture - simply use Hot tap water. Rub or brush the Oil and
Water mixture onto the flesh side of the snakeskin.

Finishing - If you will use the skin for Display or Crafts - after oiling,
tack it out flat and allow the Oil to soak into the flesh and dry - later
these tack holes along the edge can be trimmed away. For Taxidermy
purposes - After Oiling, its best to let the skin lay flat soaking up the
oil for 3-4 hours, and then it can be mounted - Or, if you prefer to freeze
it and mount it later, use a Roll of Paper Towels and put a layer on the
flesh, and then roll the skin up and freeze. For crafts - When the skin is
almost dry, begin to gently work the skin with your hands to soften it. When
softened and dry, lightly sand the flesh side to a smooth suede finish. If
the skin is to be for display - After drying, turn the skin over to display
the markings, tack it down using decorative tacks, and give it a coating of
clear lacquer or a clear Sealer to keep the scales from eventually curling.

* * * * * * * * * *
All rights reserved. No part of these instructions may be reproduced in any
form, or by any means without permission.
* * * * * * * * * *
RITTEL'S instructions are based upon our personal experiences using a
particular product and technique. RITTELS offers these instructions as a
guideline, and does not imply that they will guarantee success. RITTELS does
not accept any liabilty for such claims, or for the misuse of our
instructions or products; since we have no control over the use, apllication
and conditions of the environment or materials upon which they will be used.
RITTELS has made every attempt to provide instructions based on our own


Bunch a ole scudders!
Marshal Will Wingam
Garden Variety
Deputy Marshal
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Smile. It makes people wonder what you're up to.

« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2012, 02:07:41 pm »

This is interesting enough to have its own thread. Thanks for the post, Rick.

      SCORRS     SASS     BHR
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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2012, 06:44:15 pm »

Thanks for puttin' that up......great info.
GunClick Rick
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Scudders all of yas~

« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2012, 08:34:07 pm »

It works real well,you can keep the skins in the pickle for quite some time.When you take them out just run cold water over them and rub like a wet rag and the loose scales will come off and the good ones stay on..I had about 6 skins in a pickle once,but somehow the big old pickle jar got cracked and i didn'y know it,went out to check them and they were spoiled,the was the last ones i had.I used to go to my buddies ranch and get them,but since i got my new baby sittin job i ain't been nowhere Undecided Skins been real hard to get for awhile unless ya get them online,and sometimes you can't get them shipped here~

Bunch a ole scudders!
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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2012, 06:40:51 am »

Thanks Rick...answers a lot of questions.......

A Pilgrim in the Unholy Land of Kydex
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I,m to small to turn the other cheek.

« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2012, 08:28:09 am »

Clicker great info. KT

Cheer up things could be worse, sure enough I cheered up and they got worse.
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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2012, 10:01:03 am »

Great information Rick - thanks for posting!

You're a much braver soul than I . . . I much prefer to look at them from a distance!   Grin
GunClick Rick
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Scudders all of yas~

« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2012, 10:19:38 am »

 Floyd bit me once,he was sick fer two weeks! Grin


Bunch a ole scudders!
Ten Wolves Fiveshooter
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Live To Fight Another Day

« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2012, 03:16:52 pm »

   Good information Rick, thanks for sharing with us. Also the best picture of you I've seen yet, you're just a handsome SON-OF-A-GUN. Roll Eyes Shocked Cool Huh Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin

         tEN wOLVES Grin Grin Grin

NRA, SASS# 69595, NCOWS#3123 Leather Shop, RATTS# 369, SCORRS, BROW, ROWSS #40   Shoot Straight, Have Fun, That's What It's All About
Drayton Calhoun
American Plainsmen Society
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2012, 07:47:13 pm »

Thanks, Rick, been wondering how to do it, now all I gotta do it go after them rascals in that brush I gotta clear!

The first step of becoming a good shooter is knowing which end the bullet comes out of and being on the other end.
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Leather Shop (Moderators: Marshal Will Wingam, Ten Wolves Fiveshooter)  |  Topic: How to Tan Snakeskin « previous next »
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