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Old 09-29-2010, 10:38 PM
Johnny Walker Johnny Walker is offline
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Default Tanning skins at home



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iv benn looking for the best method (and cheapest) way of tanning various animal skins my self but cant seem to find the best one.

anyone have any ideas?

thanks
Old 09-29-2010, 11:46 PM
mmwb mmwb is offline
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I've used a chrome tan from Minnesota Trapline Products. It looks like they no longer carry it. There are other effective, easy to use tans. I'm sure that someone will chime in.
Old 09-30-2010, 10:40 PM
rtivy rtivy is offline
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the cheapest and easiest way to tan skins at home is to get a bucket and put some oak leaves in it (maybe a 4th of the way full) and then fill it with water and let it sit for a few weeks. Stir it occasionally to keep it mixed up. Then take your animal skin (after you have salt dried it or how ever you want to do it) and use a rag to rub some of the tan in on the skin side (or just dip it in if it has no hair) and once it dries it should be soft and pliable, if not just repeat till it is.

But if for some reason you can't get that to work order a tanning kit from vandykes or wasco taxidermy supply. I haven't used any of their tans yet but it should give you good results.
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:00 PM
Johnny Walker Johnny Walker is offline
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oak leaves eh? cool thanks
Old 10-02-2010, 06:48 PM
Ruffian Ruffian is offline
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I've tanned several hair-on hides using a mixture of eggs and mayonnaise. I know many serious home tanners consider this a sacrilege, but I've used it on rabbit, raccoon, and goat, with wonderful results. I've only had the hides for a couple of years, so I don't know how they will stand the test of time, but so far I've always ended up with a soft, attractive pelt.
Old 10-02-2010, 06:56 PM
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wicked idea guys. maybe i'll try that if I ever get some skins.
Old 10-02-2010, 10:46 PM
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Do a google search on brain tanning as well.
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Old 10-04-2010, 07:20 AM
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Yes, brain tanning is a very popular natural tanning method, and it's cheap and convenient (if you have the entire animal available). I've only tried it once, though, and had very bad luck with it (my hide turned utterly rank within a few days). I must have just done something wrong, because usually I hear only positive things regarding brain tanning results.
Old 10-05-2010, 01:22 AM
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Brain-tanning is cheap and good...you end up with very soft, washable hides/pelts.
It isn't fast or particularly easy though. I LOVE this site for walkthroughs and information on both brain-tanning and tanning with bark: http://www.braintan.com/tanown/index.htm
Don't forget to smoke the hide at the end if brain-tanning! Otherwise the fats used to coat the skin's fibers can go rancid.
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Old 10-08-2010, 12:34 PM
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I am NOT an expert. But I'm too cheap to pay for anyone else to do the job (local shop wanted $200 to tan my coyote hide). I've used this recipe for rabbit hides, deer hides, a moose skin, and a coyote pelt.

http://www.3pointhunting.com/Articles/tanning.htm

Home Tanning Process Preserves Pelts

Here is a method of tanning hides that is low cost and low labor compared to other methods of "custom tanning."

After hunting or processing livestock for the table, it's a shame to have to toss out a nice pelt. Here is a method of tanning hides that is low cost and low labor compared to other methods of "custom tanning." I've personally used this system to tan sheepskins, deerskins, groundhog pelts, rabbit hides and goat skins. The procedure can be used for all kinds of mammal pelts when you want the fur to remain on the skin. It results in a soft, workable hide, which can be used as is or cut up for sewing projects.

SALTING FRESH SKINS

Fresh hides right off the animal should be cooled immediately. Trim off any flesh and scrape visible fat from the hide. Place the skin in the shade, laying it completely flat with the fur side down, preferably on a cold concrete or rock surface. When the skin feels cool to the touch, immediately cover the fleshy side completely with plain, uniodized salt.

Use three to five pounds for a sheep or deer skin. Don't skimp.

If skins aren't salted within a few hours of removal of the flesh, you might as well forget it. They will have begun to decompose and will probably lose their hair during processing.

Transport the skin flat. We've had problems with predators gnawing the edges of skins, so put the hide somewhere out of reach. You don't need to stretch the skin; just make sure it is perfectly flat, with no curled edges. If you've lost a lot of salt while moving the pelt, add more. The salt will draw moisture from the skin and liquid may pool in low spots. Just add more salt. Let the skin dry until it is crispy. This may take a few days to a couple of weeks. When completely dry, the skin is very stable and won't change or deteriorate appreciably.

TANNING INGREDIENTS

When you're ready to tan the skins, assemble the following:

7 gallons water
2 pounds (16 cups) bran flakes
16 cups plain or pickling salt (not iodized)
2 large plastic trash cans (30 gallon) and one lid
4 foot wooden stirring stick
3 1/2 cups battery acid (from auto parts store)
2 boxes baking soda wood rack or stretcher
neat's-foot oil
nails
wire bristle brush

This recipe makes enough tanning solution to tan four large animal skins; or ten rabbit skins; or about six medium-sized pelts such as groundhog. (Cut the recipe in half for fewer skins).

MIXING THE SOLUTION

A couple of hours before you plan to tan, soak the dried skins in clear, fresh water until flexible. Boil three gallons of water and pour over the bran flakes. Let this sit for an hour, then strain the bran flakes out, saving the brownish water solution. Next, bring the remaining four gallons of water to a boil. Put the 16 cups of salt in a plastic trash can. Pour the water over the salt and use the stirring stick to mix until the salt dissolves. Add the brown bran liquid. Stir.

When this solution is lukewarm, you are ready to add the battery acid. Read the warning label and first aid advice on the battery acid container. While wearing gloves and an old, long-sleeved shirt, very carefully pour the battery acid down the inside of the trash can into the solution - don't let it splash. Stir the battery acid in thoroughly.

At this point, you can peel off the hide's dried inner skin. If you have fresh skins, use as is. Add the skins to the solution and stir, pressing the skins down carefully under the liquid until fully saturated. Leave them to soak for 40 minutes, stirring from time to time to make sure all parts of the hides are exposed to the solution. During the soak, fill your other trash can with clear, lukewarm water. After 40 minutes, soaking is complete. Use the stirring stick and carefully move the skins one by one into the other trash can. This is the rinsing process, which removes the excess salt from the skins. Stir and slosh the skins for about five minutes, changing the water when it looks dirty.

At this point, some people add a box of baking soda to the rinse water. Adding baking soda will neutralize some of the acid in the skin - this is good because there will be less possibility of residual acid in the fur to affect sensitive people. However, this also may cause the preserving effects of the acid to be neutralized. You need to make the choice to use baking soda based on your own end use of the skin. If skin or fur will spend a lot of time in contact with human skin, I'd use the baking soda. If the pelt will be used as a rug or wall hanging, I probably wouldn't.

Remove the hides from rinse water; they will be very heavy. Let them hang over a board or the back of a chair or other firm surface to drain. Now, using a sponge, rag or paint brush, swab the still-damp skin side of the hide with an ounce of neat's-foot oil. It should be absorbed quickly, leaving only a slight oily residue. Tack the hide to your "stretcher." We use salvaged wood pallets. Gently pull the hide as you tack it so there's some tension in the skin. No need to exert excess pressure or overstretch. Set the hide in a shady place to dry.

Your acidic tanning solution can be neutralized for disposal by adding a couple boxes of baking soda. It will froth and bubble vigorously and release a potentially toxic gas, so give it plenty of ventilation and get away from the bucket while this is happening. We have a small farm and generally pour the used solution on dirt driveways to keep them clear of weeds. Do not pour it down your drain.

Check the hide every day. When the skin side feels dry to the touch in the center, but still flexible and somewhat soft, take it down from the rack. Lay the fur side down and go over the skin with a wire bristle brush. This softens the skin and lightens the color. Don't brush heavily or excessively in one spot, just enough to give a suede-like appearance. After this, set the skin where it can fully dry for a day or so longer.

A FINAL. THOUGHT

Once your friends know you can tan hides, be prepared for them to bring around their hunting trophies and livestock skins for treatment. If you decide to do this, take my advice: Don't do it for free. Commercial tanners get $25 to $45 to tan a hide, and you should price your work accordingly, even if your return is just a case of beer. Otherwise you'll find yourself swamped with every little skin in your region and left with no time for anything else. In exchange, your friends can expect to get a professional, quality job, with an upfront understanding about what might go wrong and what compensation you will get. People get very sensitive about their skins and this precaution will prevent potential misunderstandings and help you keep your friends.



deer hide on top of moose hide.
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Old 11-20-2010, 11:21 PM
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hair off you can mix warm water deer brains and mix into paste then work into hide. Some indians substituted egg yokes with water.
Old 11-21-2010, 11:27 PM
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What can you do with skins besides use them as a throw over a couch, or as a wall hanging? Are they durable enough to be rugs? I am trying to think of clothing besides maybe a coon skin or fox skin hat (maybe a loin cloth!), looking forideas in case of coyote/rabbit/fox hunting this winter.
Old 11-22-2010, 01:29 AM
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YouTube channel "wildernessoutfitters" -- search for "utilizing resources" and there should be a video where Dave Canterbury takes a fox hide and brain tans it in the field.
Old 11-26-2010, 10:40 PM
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I need to do more research on the brain tanning myself. After skinning drawing tight and scraping hair and fat off you are supposed to let it dry for 2 days. Rendering the pelt raw hide. My question is what have you been doing with the brains for 2 days if this hide has been drying. Wouldnt the brain start to rot long before you get to use it? Id be interested in knowing if the indians used the brains from the original animal or did they go out and kill another animal and use the fresh brain on the 2 day old raw hide?
Old 11-28-2010, 10:58 PM
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The brain will be okay for a couple of days if kept cool. Some who don't want to mess with the animal's own brain will run to the butcher and get pig or cow brains.

"local shop wanted $200 to tan my coyote hide"

Your local shop has a whale of a mark up! For those who want to send something off to tan, try Moyle mink and tannery: http://moytown.com/

They list the price on a coyote as $22.00. Plus shipping of course!
Old 11-29-2010, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmwb View Post
The brain will be okay for a couple of days if kept cool. Some who don't want to mess with the animal's own brain will run to the butcher and get pig or cow brains.

"local shop wanted $200 to tan my coyote hide"

Your local shop has a whale of a mark up! For those who want to send something off to tan, try Moyle mink and tannery: http://moytown.com/

They list the price on a coyote as $22.00. Plus shipping of course!
I was gonna say. For the hassle of brain tanning and the work involved...I'd just send it out for commercial tanning. Because it's reasonably priced.
Old 11-29-2010, 11:00 AM
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I understand chemical tanning is not as good as Brain tanning. I would assume 22 is a chemical tan process.
Old 11-29-2010, 10:39 PM
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I wouldn't assume that brain tanning or chemical are necessarily superior one over the other. There are any number of different chemical tans, depending on what characteristics you want in the leather. I am lead to believe that the frontiersmen and indigenous peoples often smoked the hides after tanning so that they remain pliable if they got wet. Most tanned leathers/furs will stiffen up if they get soaked through. Chrome tanning is one type of garment tan that prevents this. Apparently smoking the leather had a similar effect.
Old 11-30-2010, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmwb View Post
The brain will be okay for a couple of days if kept cool. Some who don't want to mess with the animal's own brain will run to the butcher and get pig or cow brains.

"local shop wanted $200 to tan my coyote hide"

Your local shop has a whale of a mark up! For those who want to send something off to tan, try Moyle mink and tannery: http://moytown.com/

They list the price on a coyote as $22.00. Plus shipping of course!

Thanks for the link. I don't see any price for deer hide. Did I miss it?
Old 12-05-2010, 09:02 AM
Justsaymo Justsaymo is offline
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Great thread. Got a Bear hide in the freezer I'm going to try to tan myself. I'm probably going to use the kit from Cabelas but after reading this thread I might try another method.
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