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Can any one explain the process of tanning an animal skin if so please comment.

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  • Can any one explain the process of tanning an animal skin if so please comment.

    Can any one explain the process of tanning an animal skin if so please comment.

  • #2
    I have done several deer hides, a fox, a bobcat and a couple of coons. One coon I did I used to make my nephew a coonskin cap and he loved it! I suggest ordering a "Curatan" kit from Cabela's or VanDyke's. From what I can gather they are one and the same. I have used it on all of the ones I have done, and it comes with very detailed instructions and is fairly simple. You can get it in a "hair-on" or "hair-off" version. I have yet to do one "hair-off" but I think that will be the next thing I try. One tip for you - fleshing the hide is the key! Take your time, go slow and be careful when fleshing. Be very thorough and your whole process will be much easier and you will get a very nice result. Good Luck!

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    • #3
      I don't know much about tanning hides but I have heard a trick. Indians used the brains of the animal to tan them. I don't know how this is done but it seemed pretty cool to me.

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      • #4
        I agree with Dan, the kit from Cabela's works well. I have used it several times with no problems.

        I would add, it is best to start with a small, thin hide for practice. A rabbit would by my first choice. I did a mature buck for my first time, and was disappointed with the results. Everything came out fine, no slippage, etc. It just ended up stiffer than I would have liked. I seriously underestimated the amount of time necessary for stretching/breaking the hide. I think it would be best to learn the technique on something smaller and then tackle something larger once you understand the procedure.

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        • #5
          Greenhead - Good idea about the smaller hide. I also did a mature buck for my first and was also disappointed. I then did a mature buck for my second AND third, with the second being a little better and the third being BEAUTIFUL! On stretching/breaking - In my most successful effort I used a thick, rough nylon rope. Just dropped a loop in either end, took it around a tree and through itself then put the other loop on the trailer ball of my Bronco. I eased it up VERY tight and by throwing the hide across it I could work it back and forth with most of my body weight from the bottom. Hard work but gave me great results.

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          • #6
            Also BamaCreekBum is right. Brain tanning is one way that the Native Americans did it. You can also tan with different sorts of oak barks and other things. If you want to do it the "traditional" way that is the way to go. I would suggest the library and some research. The CuraTan Kit is just one of the modern conviences available. Kinda like using an inline muzzleloader with telescopic sights instead of a flintlock. To each his own.

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            • #7
              I did a mature buck for my first hide and it came out great. I didn't use any kits; I just did lots of reading. If you don't want to buy a kit:
              1. Try obtaining a strong acid from a friend that works at a chemical plant, or a laboratory. I used H2SO4, not sure of the concentration, but I’m sure it was greater than 1.0 M. The strong acid will help stop any decaying and pull the mucous membrane out of the skin.
              2. Next you will need a large barrel; I used a 50 gallon drum, and about 10 lbs. of salt. First fill the barrel about 3/4 with rain water, as rain water is slightly acidic. Next pour about 1/3 of a cup of the strong acid into the water and add the salt. Mix thoroughly.
              3. Try to remove as much of the fat and flesh from the skin as you can before putting it in the solution. If you have salted it and the skin is stiff, this is not a problem, just drop it in and pull it out after about a week to flesh the hide. I recommend wearing an apron and gloves. The skin should start to feel slightly leathery at this point and should be placed over a solid surface and scraped with a strong sharp knife. Try to remove all fleshy material from the skin, including the thin membrane on the very closest surface. If you see the backs of hair follicles, try not to go too much deeper, but this is also usually not a problem.
              4. Return the hide to solution and let it sit for up to another two weeks, stirring occasionally. The skin should start looking white and feel leathery when you remove it. Now comes the stretching which is the most critical part. Many good hides are lost during this time. Rinse the hide with water to remove any acid and salt, and ring it out as best as possible.
              5. If you don’t mind putting holes in the hide, you can do this and tie it to a rack where you can stretch it. If not, lay it on a flat surface an allow it to dry. Stretch it at least a few times per day and don’t be gentle if it’s a larger animal. As the hide begins to dry you will see it change color and you need to pull it hard from all angles to prevent it from stiffening. You should be able to see the fibers breaking as you pull, the skin is now becoming leather, but can still stiffen up so don’t stop stretching until all moisture is gone.
              6. To soften the hide try using a large beam of wood and violently rub the skin over beam until it begins to feel like velvet and gains flexibility. At this point massaging Neatsfoot oil or leather conditioner into the skin will ensure it stays leathery and you should have a nice hide. The fur can now be brushed to remove any excess salt as well.
              I hope this has helped

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              • #8
                My grandmothers used the brains of the deer or elk to tan hides. They used to stretch the hides after fleshing them out, and then nailed them to the side of a shed or loghouse (back in the day).

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the comments

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                  • #10
                    Sorry, the amount of acid was actually 20 oz. and the Concentration is 5.65 M, my mistake.

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                    • #11
                      Agreed with jfose140 answer above and A + 1 for you sir!!!

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