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Keepable? Yeah. The only problem is the back is going to be white if the salt solidifies to much. If your going to be using this for decorations, just make sure to cover the back. If your using this for clothes or things where you wont see the actual hide, just the fur, your fine.

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Funny I just noticed this post today.  The ironic thing is I've got 3 buck skins out back waiting to be tanned, and 5 more on the way.  I've done a few in the past with the salt/alum kits that they put out, but I can't seem to find them here. 

I'll give you a quick step by step, just to get you by, but research can't hurt.

 

Here's the hides I picked up.  You can leave them outside to keep them fresh, for a couple of weeks, till you get your materials together. Just cover them with a tarp.

 

DSCF6211.jpg

 

For starters you'll need a bag of this stuff. It's just salt, but it's finer than rock salt and bit grainier than table salt. Farmers use it to suppliment the salt intake in cattle so any feed shop should carry it.

 

DSCF6213.jpg

 

Steps:

 

1 - Lay your hide on a flat board, hair side down.

2 - Rub salt all over the meat side of the hide working it into the pores. Don't worry about cleaning off the extra meat yet.

3 - pour a 1 to 2 inch layer on the hide, covering it completely, especially in any crevices and around the rough edges.

4 - wait 5 days

5 - Scrape off the salt and discard it.

6 - pour another layer on.

7 - Wait 5 more days

8 - scrape off the salt

 

At this point your hide should be pretty dry and stiff. If not repeat steps 7 and 8. You have the option of storing it now, or working it right away. I like to wait till the spring, where I don't have to worry about temperatures and warm places to work. That way I can set them up in my fish shack and not have to worry about the bugs getting at them.  That should buy you some time with your hides until you get a bit more educated on the tanning process.  It should be a good 6 months before you 'have' to finish tanning them.

 

Before I forget, the salting process should be done in an area that doesn't freeze, but is cooler than room temp. The reason being is that freezing will slow the wicking action of the salt, and too much warmth will increase the smell the hides produce. I found that using my  cold storage works great. It stays just above freezing which adds a few extra days to the process, but keeps the smell down nicely.

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Theres a place in Wisconsin we used to take our deer hides. Ill see if I can find it. Its not cheap though.

 

Great post Ant.

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Then it's breaking down the grain of the hide and opening up the pores to accept the tanning solution.  It means a bath in a briney solution with a mild acid.  Alum is the favorite, but I've used vinnegar as well. Some folks even go so far as to use surphuric acid, though I'd stay away from that.    After it's bath it's time to scrape off the extra meat, string up your hide and treat it with tanning oils to make it supple.  It's not hard at all, and takes around 4-6 weeks if you do it right.

 

Stick with drying your hide first, with the salt, though.  That'll buy you the time to educate yourself on the rest.  Research 'brain tanning'. It's the traditional way of doing it, and involves...well you'll see.  8|

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I just saw a vid where somebody fleshed an entire deer hide with a power washer!!! It took about 2 mins..... awesome!!!!

 

Rick

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I got into the whole tanning thing about 5-6 years ago. i tanned 13 deer hides one winter. ruined 4 of them(learning prosses doh.gif, did some with the hair on and some with the hair off. i did some acid tannning(sulfuric deluted) some i did with bark mulch and some i did with both. never got to do a braintan but really want to try it sometime. the acid tanning is the easyest and least time consuming, the bark tanning was time consuming but yeilded a really tough usable leather. tanning is easy, the hard part is softening the hide after its tanned. that was a lot of work.

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Just an aside, I think I read it in Bob Gilsvik's Guide To Good Cheap Hunting many years ago - anyway, he noted that it takes most of two deer brains to tan a single deer hide, and that is the case with other small and medium game animals as well.  However, he noted that a man actually has a large enough brain to tan his own hide :)

 

Well, I thought it was funny, anyway.  I will be reading your posts here and possibly asking some questions - I do a little light leather work making pouches, etc, but would like to eventually transfer that skill set to naturally obtained skins.

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I just saw a vid where somebody fleshed an entire deer hide with a power washer!!! It took about 2 mins..... awesome!!!!

 

Rick

 

~ I hope the "power washer person" was clad in Bio-protective gear, because power washers generate MILLIONS of tiny, microscopic aerosol particles.

 

I know... I know...  but I just Have to interject:

Infectious diseases, many of which are zoonotic (transmitted from animals to people), remain a major cause of illness and death throughout the world. New infectious pathogens and disease are being detected, and some diseases seemingly under control have reemerged in recent years. Accounting for more than 60 percent of infectious diseases and 75 percent of emerging diseases, zoonotic diseases pose a public health threat with the potential to cause large-scale outbreaks. With today's shrinkng world, zoonotic diseases pose a great threat to our species.

 

As wild places shrink...  the more contact we have with wild animals AND their viruses (for example, to a certain species of monkey, the highly contageous virus that causes a fever blister on humans, will wipe out their whole population. Our viruses defend we, humans, from environmental invasion... just as other species viruses defend  them. Think back to the War Of the Worlds... WHAT killed the alien invadors?  A virus. Viruses are symbiotic. And they are on earth for a reason... to define a niche, for all creatures. The more crowded we become, the more aggressive viruses get. Hence the NEW emerging age of infectious disease.

 

The CDC recommends wearing protective gloves and eye goggles when doing simple skinning and field dressing. You bring a power washer into the mix, however, and you need to gown up for warfare... literally.

 

Google Hunters and zoonotic disease...  and educate yourselves. Don't take my word for it.

 

 

 

 

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When I was in High School we had a sow that went rouge into the timber and had a litter of five pigs. She defied capture for months till the young pigs were about one third grown. Consequently they were pretty wild being isolated from humans. My dad told me I could have the five pigs if I could get them and the sow back in the lot.

 

So I went looking for her and found her. When I tried to chase her in the gate she would charge me and try to run through me. I had a .12 ga. shotgun and I would fire it in front of her nose as she was passing me. The blast would turn her and after a few more attempts she gave up and went through the gate but her pigs ran off.

 

A few days later I set of to find them and did just before dark. Pigs dont see well at night so I managed to get them out to a road and drove them home and put them in the lot with the rest of the pigs. They lasted about a month till eventually they all died from sickness. They went in healthy as could be but their immune system was not prepared for the diseases the others grew up with.

 

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If you want to tan any kind of hide, it is not particularly difficult.  Here is a simple procedure.  First, you do the salting to remove the liquids in the skin.  After that:

 

Brain Tanning

Materials:

• Pig or horse brain (pig brain may be available at

local butcher or meat market)

• Chlorine-free water

• Large board or stretching frame

• Smooth wooden tool such as a canoe paddle or

axe handle

1. Prepare the tanning solution by combining 1

pound of pig or horse brain with 2 gallons of

warm water. For best results, use untreated water

such as rainwater. If you do not have access to

rainwater, purchase bottled spring water at your

local grocery store. Water treated with chlorine

may reduce the effectiveness of tanning solution.

2. While the hide is still damp and pliable from

preparation and cleaning procedures, immerse it

in the brain tanning solution. Soak the hide

overnight.

3. Remove the hide from the solution. Remove a

majority of the solution from the hide by

squeezing it thoroughly or running carefully

through a clothes wringer.

4. Nail the hide to a board or stretch with a frame.

A smooth tool such a canoe paddle can be used

to work the hide. The hide should be worked by

pushing and stretching it in a stroking motion

until it dries.

For thick hides, some prefer to reapply the

warmed solution to the flesh side, cover with

cloth overnight and repeat step 4 to ensure that

the solution has been adequately worked deep

into the hide.

5. The final step for brain tanning is smoking the

hide. Brain tanned hides are most durable if they

are smoked for several hours in a smokehouse.

However, be careful not to heat the hide too

much. Use dry, semi-rotten wood to produce

lots of smoke and low heat.

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I had heard of the "smoking" of hides before. Does it really make the hide waterproof? Is brain tanning the method most used by people that have no access to large quantities of salt? Thanks.

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As you guys may recall, about a year and a half ago, I had a couple deer hides I was tanning that got chewed up by a rotten little colony of field mice. Anyway, before the critters got to them turning my hides into swiss cheese, they were about 90% done.

 

What I had done with them was a 'traditional' method of tanning. I kept them frozen for a couple of weeks until I was ready to work, then I soaked them for 24 hours in a briny soup to loosen the flesh. After 24 hours, I pulled them out, laid them hair side down over a log size pole, and scraped the flesh off. I tried a few different tools, including a sharp knife, but it just 'cut' the flesh. The best tool was a half moon pizza cutter, like an ulu knife, that had an edge that wasn't sharp enough to cut, but was thin enough to get between the flesh and the hide.  After that, I laid them out and rubbed some deer brain into them that the hunter I got the hides from had saved for me, and let them sit for 48 hours.

 

The next step was to stretch them on a frame, and lean them over the fire pit for 6-8 hours, however when I returned to the fishing shack where I was storing them, I found dozens of field mice running over them chewing away. Suffice it to say, they were ruined but the process was working well. After the smoking, they would have been finished and ready for use.

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