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Dressing / Dyeing

DRESSING (TANNING) AND DYEING

Dressing and Dyeing play an important role in the fur production cycle.  During the dressing and dyeing process, chemicals used are carefully monitored and controlled while altering the raw pelts into ready-to-use fur skins.

Today’s fur dressing comprises the following steps:

  1. Soaking or Re-Hydration – Helps to soften the raw fur skins and prepare them for further treatment.
  2. Fleshing – Removal of the flesh layer. This can be done manually or by the so-called fleshing machine.
  3. Washing – Wash off the natural fats from the dirty fur skins.
  4. Pickling – Prepare the fur skins for the tanning process with a solution of common salt, sodium chloride, and acids.
  5. Tanning – Transform the pickled fur skins into durable fur leather. Tanning agents will be used during the process to provide the best quality leather.
  6. Oiling – Application of suitable fatting agents to provide permanent elasticity to the tanned leather.
  7. Drying – Removal of excess water from the fur skins.
  8. Drumming – Tumble the fur skins with a special sawdust drum to remove excess fat from the hair and to reach an optimum degree of moisture for the leather.
  9. Stretching – Stretch the fur skins back to their original shape.

Dressing and Dyeing Methods

There are about 6 different dressing and dyeing methods.  The most popular methods used by the fur industry are “Salt-acid tan or pickle” and “Mineral tan”.  Each dressing and dyeing method has its own characteristics and pros/cons.

1. Salt-acid tan or pickle
a) extensively used method
b) cheap in cost
c) easily applied
d) provide soft fur skin

2. Mineral tan
a) good stretching and flexibility
b) less in shrinking
c) Chrome tan – chrome alum is durable. Chrome is a toxic chemical.

3. Chamois tan (oldest method)
a) oldest method
b) oil tanning
c) prevent adhesion
d) good for dyeing
e) not good to fine hair fur

4. Formaldehyde tan
a) proven to have a great value in fur tanning
b) proven to be harmful to human and should be controlled by content limitation
c) less in shrinking

5. Combination tan
a) it is combined above tanning methods with the advantage and disadvantage of those tanning characters.

6. Vegetable tan
a) mostly employed by genuine leather as it is sensitive to water especially water with temperature and caused leather shrinking. However, many of these tannings also have dyeing properties, and are used in dyeing on fur.

Restricted and Controlled Chemical Substances:

Chemical substances are used throughout the dressing and dyeing process.  Please refer to the below chart which identifies a list of chemical substances that are prohibited or should only be used within the safety level based on each country’s requirements and standards. .

Major restricted and controlled chemical substances:
a) AZO dyes
b) Carcinogenic dyes
c) Formaldehyde
d) Chlorinated Phenols (PCP, TeCP, TriCP),
e) Total Lead
f) Total Cadmium
g) Chromium VI
h) Organotin Compounds
i) NP, OP, NPEO, OPEO
j) PH Value

Regulations:
a) REACH / Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction on chemicals (1907/2006/EC)
b) SVHC / Substance of Very High Concern

** Information source from: www.wearefur.com/our-trade/about-the-trade/how-it-works *** Principles and Practices of fur dressing and fur dyeing by William E. Austin / www.gutenberg.org/files/41938/41938-h/41938-h.htm)

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