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Post by msbraintan on 30th January 2012, 1:09 pm

I could probably write a book about 'my method' of tanning hides and skins. So.. don't want to go there! Wink

Better to begin where I most recently left off! I will say that if I knew then what I know now, I'd have used the shears I bought for removing the wool from our fiber flock on the deerskins a lot sooner. I prefer freezing skins as the best possible means of storage. They can then be taken out of the freezer and done singly in a relatively simple manner. I "cheat" and use modern tools to prevent having to labor dearly whenever possible. The power washer has a con. and it is possibly making a skin less stretchy, maybe more 'dense'.. I don't know.. but I don't REALLY care as it is just so much easier for me tanning alone. I will soon be in my mid 50's so as a lone elder I will definitely run the power washer and it's turbo nozzle attachment when it comes time for fleshing and this in my book is ASAP. I left my skins to hang in the freezing weather. Perhaps almost half I had salted when it finally 'came to me' that I'd be much better off to get another set of sheep shears! Next year I will be in a much better frame to store these skins in a much more proficient manner.. which also is ASAP. Anyway I managed to get a handle on the skins before anything became TOO ugly, lol. Hopefully the skins haven't gotten bit by frost.. well, they probably HAVE.. AND the salt? well those skins in our climate will ALWAYS attract humidity even after having been fully tanned with the SMOKE. I am in to brain or oil or soap tanning, mostly.. however none of those do the tanning itself.. that is accomplished only with the SMOKE.. or the aldehydes in the smoke. It is all a painstaking laborious task. BUT.. when finished it's just a great material.. SO.. hopefully I will get much more prolific and have LOTS more things to display SOMETIME.. or ONE of these days! headbang I think I accomplished more when I had LESS hides, lol. Tanning hides and furs in the backyard with nothing much more than brains, oils, soap, and smoke, IS a rather slippery slope! After ten years I feel that I am 'getting there', Razz I really don't ever want to work on any more coyote furs! vom I can say however that I have met the challenge of brain tanning them. The thrill of tanning coyotes has got up and LEFT! I don't think the mountain men wore coyote skins and even the American Indians stayed the heck away from the tricksters.. so I think it's really best if I avoid those from now on!
These are some very recent pictures!
Tanning hides and skins.  IMG_4221
Tanning hides and skins.  IMG_4370
Tanning hides and skins.  IMG_4369
Tanning hides and skins.  IMG_4371
Tanning hides and skins.  IMG_4374
There are only about half of the skins I collected free from local hunters in this freezer.. the other half are taking up most of a smaller chest freezer in our house. Next year I plan to power wash flesh.. hang over the rail.. possibly overnight to drain and next day perhaps shear, trim and wrap hair side in and then freeze. Once upon a time before it dawned on me to use the shears I would, scrape both sides of the skins.. Including that 'grain' or epidural layer that the hair is in, then rinse BUT.. it's really making things much more difficult to freeze them. They are then soaking wet and really need to be wrung out to freeze better! Skins really need to soak and relax to 'grain' much better but this is best done before scraping.. and possibly AFTER freezing. My tribe prefers not to mess with any animal skins BUT.. after they're all nice and tanned and soft.. well then they're happy to have anything I then make!
Here is a sample of the products that can be fairly easily made. These could have been smoked a bit more heavily, btw..
Tanning hides and skins.  Photo-2260
It's been a little while since I made anything from my leather! Hopefully get back to doing that again soon!
msbraintan
msbraintan

Posts : 11
Join date : 2012-01-30

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