Tanning Hides

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posted on Jan, 9 2007 @ 04:55 PM
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While I personally think this is a nifty skill/trade to have, tanning hides *may* come in handy in a survival situation. Guess it depends on the situation itself -- on the run verses holed up someplace for an extended amount of time.

Since hides have such a wide variety of uses, I thought a thread for such knowledge would be handy.


A quick google search yielded two websites with *lots* of good step-by-step information:

Deer Hide Tanning

The Pre-Smoking Method


I, personally, am trying to stay away from methods that require chemicals since in a survival situation, you don't have the opportunity to run to the store. Besides that, I know that it's been done for hundreds of years without chems -- so there is a way to do it! (I suppose you could store up the chems, if you have the space and money to do so. However, the only thing necessary(?) for tanning that I really see as being worthy of storage is salt -- which is good for curing meat in general, and is thus handy to have in quantity.)

If anyone's got personal experience/tips -- please share! All I have right now is what I've found online... (hafta get out of the city before I can truly get into this...)


Edited to add: I seem to remember my father telling me something about using urine along with the brains -- that the acid in the urine helps to soften the hide and loosen the flesh for scraping. Has anyone heard the same?

[edit on 9-1-2007 by Diseria]

[edit on 9-1-2007 by Diseria]




posted on Jan, 12 2007 @ 06:22 AM
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I tried two methods about 20 years ago with horrible results.

The first method was the sun and salt method. It failed because I could not keep it stretched taught enough, and I lacked an implement sharp enough to scrape off the flesh properly. Another problem with this the hide becoming stiff and rigid.

The other method I tried was the "wet" method. I prepared the hide with alum powder, rolled it, and placed it in a Borax solution, shaking the bucket as directed on the instructions. All I got was a mouldy hide.

My brothers-in-law and their friends use, I think, kerosene and battery acid with better results, and the hides are more pliable, but smell of kerosene. In any event, this still didn't give them professional quality tanned hides like you might find at some trade show.

Good thread, I think I'll Google for some tanning techniques.



posted on Jan, 12 2007 @ 11:53 AM
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Originally posted by Zhenyghi
I tried two methods about 20 years ago with horrible results.

The first method was the sun and salt method. It failed because I could not keep it stretched taught enough, and I lacked an implement sharp enough to scrape off the flesh properly. Another problem with this the hide becoming stiff and rigid.


From what I've been reading, you *do not* want a sharp implement... too sharp, and you'll slice right through the hide!

Salt with cure the meat/flesh (dry it out), rather than loosen it. Better off using salt if you need to freeze the hide before scraping so that the flesh doesn't rot the hide.

And as far as it being taut... that varies. Some instructions say taut as you can get it without tearing the hide, others say loose and saggy. Some say wait with stretching until most of the flesh is off, and scrap on a log (sans bark) or a pvc pipe.


Whitewave sent me these instructions:

Skin the animal, remove all excess flesh and stretch the hide on a frame. Tannic acid can be obtained by stripping the inner bark from oak trees and soaking it in water. The stronger (darker) the solution, the more effective it will be. The hide should be alternately soaked in this solution then suspended in a shady place to dry. The greater the number of applications, the better the hide will be cured. Tannic acid is also found in chestnut, mimosa, hemlock trees and in tea and acorns.



If you find any good tutorials/instructions Zhenyghi, please let me know!



posted on Jan, 12 2007 @ 10:36 PM
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Having skinned hides as a young man for a local fur dealer I do know this much. Freezing the animal or at least the hide will in the long run make the job of scraping the fat and flesh alot easier after there thawed. It causes all the fat deposits to solidify and the flesh to harden making every thing easier to scrape off. What we had was a board that looked like a ironing board only smaller. We would stretched the skins inside out over the board and scrape the hide clean with two different tools. First we would scrape them with a blunt edge thin board about an 1/2 in thick. this was to scrape off the fat deposits. we always had paper towls handy to soak up what little liquid fat remained. Plus they burned great in the wood stove. Then we would grap our second tool. Same type of board only it was sanded to a blunt point to scrape at any remaining flesh. Dirty smelly job but ide get $0.50 for each hide fleshed as we called it and $1.00 for each animal skinned. I spent many summers that way. I cant tell you how the hides were tanned because he sold them to others who tanned them. hope ive helped a little atleast.


[edit on 12-1-2007 by angryamerican]



posted on Jan, 13 2007 @ 02:51 AM
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i do not mean to be a wet blanket , but IMHO tanning hides is a long term skill for sustrainable community existance , not a survival skill

i do not imply that tanning should not be discussed here ,

but perhaps such threads should have a tag " lo tech living " or such

PS - on the subject of tanning chemicals urine , and dog excrement is an historic staple chemical for two of the stages .

in my youth i had a part time job as a kennel hand at a hunt kennels [ fox hounds ] i got free membership AND about £4 per week

but one downside was that one of my tasks was to collect the excrement and shovel it into 200l poly drums , put the lids on then wash the outsides off

i once got to have a tour of the tannery where my labours were used - and the smell i had to endure in the kennels and runs was nothing compared to the stench in the tanning sheds



posted on Jan, 13 2007 @ 03:15 AM
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Hi-

Well, true "survival skill" or no, remember this rule of thumb--all animals have enough brains to tan their own hide. Though this phrase has been used in political circles to describe the pitfalls of getting in over one's head by over intelectualizing something, it bears great merit in the subject being discussed here.

Though labor intensive in the sense that once you start, you can't just quit, Brain tanning is one of the best methods there is, and the hide comes with it's own chems. It produces very fine, durable, and soft leather which, when smoked with green Willow leaves, becomes waterproof without loosing its texture and suppleness.



posted on Jan, 13 2007 @ 09:20 AM
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Originally posted by ignorant_ape
i do not mean to be a wet blanket , but IMHO tanning hides is a long term skill for sustrainable community existance , not a survival skill


I will politily disagree with you. on that statement. Tanning hides is IMHO a nessary near and far survival skill. Modern cloths wont last forever and death from exposure happens quicker then you would think possible. Dont know if your a reader or not but if you are a good book to read that talks about this information in a survival manner is "The last of the breed" by loius lamore. and no its not a wastern.



posted on Jan, 13 2007 @ 11:28 AM
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Do you guys have a copy of "Camping and Woodcraft" by Kephart?

Lots of 1920's era materials survival techniques, and I think they go into several hide tanning methods.



posted on Jan, 15 2007 @ 02:03 PM
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Found this link on tanning rabbit pelts, seems helpful.


Link

I think rabbits are just great, for so many reasons. Besides the fact that they're adorable and delicious, they have incredibly soft leather and fur. Back in the depression, there was a stalled program to gift poor, starving Americans with a breeding pair of domesticated rabbits, to help them weather the financial hardship.

Maybe it's time to ressurect such a program?

They breed quickly, produce more meat per pound of feed than any other form of livestock (chickens included) and they are generally quite hardy and low-maintenance.

Just thought I'd point all that out since, IMO, no farmstead is complete without a rabbit hutch.





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