Tanning furs will bring a great look to your fur and will preserve them since you have likely spent a great deal of time and effort in procuring the fur and certainly don't want to see it neglected or ruined. However, it can be difficult and you risk damaging your fur if you don't follow the proper steps. Fortunately, fox fur is known to be one of the easiest furs to tan.
Flesh the fur to remove bugs. Spray the fur with a bug killer and store inside a plastic bag for a couple days. After the two days remove as much flesh and fat from the skin as you can without damaging the skin. Remove the flesh and fat with a firm-toothed comb by going over the skin thoroughly and repeatedly.
Salt cure the fur. This will make the hair stand better for tanning. Rub fine grain salt liberally and all over into the skin. Store the skin at an incline overnight to drain and cure.
Wash the fur. The hide must be washed and completely rehydrated prior to tanning. Plunge the fur in cold water for several minutes. Wash in warm water, no more then 95 degrees. Use a degreaser and detergent. You may add a little dish soap as well. Rinse off until clean and check for remaining degreaser or blood stains. A small amount of degreaser and detergent will suffice, no more than few tablespoons of each.
Dehair the fur. After washing the fur, mix garden lime in about five gallons of warm water in a large tub until no more will dissolve. Use enough water to submerge the hide. Achieve a pH level between 12 and 14. You can determine pH levels with Litmus strips that change color to indicate pH levels when in contact with water. Submerge and agitate the hide until thoroughly soaked. Leave the hide in for about three days. When the fur comes out, scrape it to rid it of flesh or membranes and then rinse it in cool water.
Tan the fur. Create a bath with warm water and 1 pound of Chromium Sulfate. Place the skin in the solution and let sit for 2 to 3 days. Agitate the fur frequently and remember that too long is probably better than not long enough. To test to see if tanning is working, cut a thick corner and see if it is blue all the way through. A white streak means it needs more time.
Add enough water to the solution to neutralize it. Test with Litmus strips to achieve a level of 14, meaning it is neutralized. Remove the fur from the solution and drape it overnight to let it dry. Make a solution of four gallons cool water and six tablespoons baking soda. Plunge and agitate in this solution between ten and 20 minutes.
Remove from solution and let dry overnight. Oil the fur. Only oil if the fur is completely dry. Spread the fur out skin side up and heat the oil in a microwave to near boiling. With rubber gloves on, rub the oil thoroughly onto the skin. After it soaks in, repeat the process. Let it dry and fluff up the fur before displaying.
Items you will need
- Fox fur
- Bug killer
- Garden lime
- Rubber gloves
- Chromium sulfate
- Dish detergent
- Dish soap
- Red Fox image by Steve Mutch from Fotolia.com