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I have an alligator skin that is approx 7' long, stiff as a board (brittle), and likely is a few years old. I found it in the basement of a house I own.

I put a little fabric softner in the bathtub, filled it with warm water and soaked the skin overnight and it got really soft. Left it laying out on the carpet in the living room over night and it curled up and got stiff again.

My wife does not think all this is very funny and has given me a couple of days to come up with some practical use for it. I immediately thought of Marc.

How do I keep it soft? Right now it looks and feels like it has been salt cured or dryed like buckskin. Maybe smoked? There is no salty taste and the cat hates it, so must be there is no food value left on it! It is not leather, just dried skin. Feels like a chamois when wet.

This is all I got from a tenant that owed me two months rent, so this has become a very important issue for me.

Ideas?

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Maybe spray with some kind of oil treatment.

Reminds me of that story about the rabbi who took a sack of foreskins to a leather shop and asked them to make him something useful. When they finished all they had was a billfold. He told them he thought there should have been something larger. They said all you do is stroke it some and it turns into a suitcase.

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Les,

I'm sure you probably already did this, but I googled alligator hide care, or something like that, and read there are some conditioners made specifically for exotic leathers. You might want to dig into that a little further before you screw it up with stuff like fabric softeners?

Why not call a taxidermist? They,ll know. They might even turn it into $$$ for you.

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Or a leather shop.

An old friend used to work at The Scarlet Leather in Greenwich Village back in the '70s. He got requests to make all manner of strange things out of all manner of strange hides. My guess is that the leather world hasn't changed much since then.

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Talked to one taxidermist and he said he would have to research it. The problem is the hide is not leather, per se. I suspect that it can't be made into leather at this point. Everything I find deals with hides and making them into leather.

Maybe soak it in soy sauce, cut into strips and make some Roman sandals?

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Continue the soak and dry cycles until it curls into a pleasing shape and auction it of as art.

'The Scream' is estimated to go for $80 million later this week, and has 50/50 odds of reaching $150 million. Your gator sculpture should easily net you a few months rent.

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You can't put a price on keeping the wife happy so, unless you happen to be in love with a large piece of dead skin off a reptile, my advice is to get it just soft enough to line the inside of your garbage can.

My other thought was that you could hang it prominently in your office to constantly remind you about being screwed out of a couple of months rent...but then I didn't think you were that masochistic.

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Maybe soak it in soy sauce, cut into strips and make some Roman sandals?

Come on now...everybody knows that Roman sandals require olive oil and properly aged balsamic vinegar.

The use of soy sauce only makes for really bad gator jerky.

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Les, now you know why your tenant left it behind. [:)]

I tried to tan a beaver skin once. Hey, I'm Canadian. You nail it to a plank and scrape it. Put it out in the sun. Scrape it some more. It will get soft when it is good and rotten. [:)]

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Tandy Leather #139 - DETROIT-139

Manager: Rance Pope

Detroit139@tandyleather.com

32524 Warren Rd

Westland, MI 48185

USA

Phone: 734-422-9102

Fax: 734-422-9105

Toll Free: 866-422-9102

Store Hours:

Monday-Friday: 9am - 6pm

Saturday: 9am - 4pm

Sunday: Closed

Tandy Leather #18 - GRAND RAPIDS-18

Manager: Chris Howard

GrandRapids018@tandyleather.com

3134 Division Ave S

Grand Rapids, MI 49548-1147

USA

Phone: 616-452-8621

Fax: 616-452-9928

Toll Free: 800-632-9620

Store Hours:

Monday-Friday: 9am - 6pm

Saturday: 9am - 4pm

Sunday: Closed

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Bruce,

Thanks. I had called them and they knew even less than me! Our office mgr, Paula, used to work in the leather biz but it was all retail. I have learned that most leather is made in India and Pakistan.

PS: my wife is now claiming my little friends on tij are not so smart after all. What does she know? - she sells real estate!

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  • 3 weeks later...

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update. still stiff.

OK, it's been more than 4 hours. I've heard that you are now supposed to seek immediate medical help. I'm not clear how that will help.

He must of found a secret potion in that hide, now he needs the antidote.

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Courtesy of Tony Howard, President of the Louisiana Trappers and Alligator Hunters Asociation:

Do you know if it is tanned or not? If not it is just dried out nature like a snake hide with no tanning process. That is not good if it is not tanned, it is only going to be board stiff. If it was tanned however, he should be able to use some type of leather soften oil such Neat's Foot Oil or baseball glove leather conditioning oil. Hope this helps.

Marc

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  • 2 weeks later...

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