The main curing method used for dressing skins is Wet Salting by drum agitation.
Conveyor Salting is uncommon, but may be used where wool recovery is required, and salt contamination of the fleece is a major concern.
Salting begins within 30 mins to 2 hours after slaughter after the skins have cooled, and before the onset of putrefaction . Specially prepared kiln dried salt containing concentrations of bactericides and special fungicides is used exclusively in all processing to further enhance preservation of the skin, inhibit microbial activity, and prevent insect attack. Raw skins are checked for seed damage before salting with fresh kiln-dried salt, and any damaged skins are removed for separate processing.
Skins for fellmongering purposes are generally air dried to prevent contamination of the wool by salt however this practice is becoming less common.
Drum Salting - The skins are loaded into a rotating drum and slowly tumbled for one and a half to two hours to ensure positive penetration of the salt and chemicals into the pelt. After tumbling, the skins are stacked in flat piles for approximately 3 to 5 days while excess body fluids drain from the skins.
If stored correctly, Drum Salted Skins will keep for at least two years.
Conveyor Salting - The skins are laid flat and are showered with salt as they pass on a moving conveyor. The skins are folded and stacked to ensure even and deep penetration of salt into the pelt. The wool remains relatively free of salt contamination.