There are many ways to preserve a hide before it is tanned. The two oldest methods are to allow the skin to completely dehydrate or to cover the hide in a heavy layer of salt to pull out excess moisture and prevent bacterial growth. Any animal skin that will be turned into leather may be cured by wet salting.
Wet salting is the process of curing a hide by coating the flesh side of the hide with a thick layer of salt. Hides are removed from the animals and are laid out to cool and be salted. They’re then folded and stacked on top of each other to make storage easier. The process of wet salting usually about thirty days because the salt needs time to completely permeate the skins. In that time, the moisture pulled from the skin will combine with the salt to make a brine solution that will be reabsorbed into the skins.
Wet salting is an easy process to begin and is ideal for producers that handle large quantities of skins at the same time. If there is enough salt to cover the hides and room to store them, there is no limit to the number of hides that can be cured this way. Other methods of curing rely on containers that can only hold a finite number of skins. These are better suited to smaller producers because the tanks may be overwhelmed if too many skins are being processed at one time. If a skin is left untreated it quickly begins to rot and become unusable.
A properly wet salted hide will still be very supple and maintain many of the qualities of a fresh hide, making it easy to work, without the worry of decay or putrefaction. A dehydrated hide may lose some of the wonderful texture from the skin as it rehydrates.
IC Markets International Ltd sells a wide range of wet salted hides, as well as brine cured and even wet blue hides. For projects that need all the strength and beauty of leather consider cow skins. We also offer calf skins to give your products a softer feel without losing any of the natural beauty of leather. For products that will keep you warm for years to come lamb skins make comfortable slippers and rugs.