[Northkeep] HELP!!!!

Marc Carlson marccarlson20 at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 11 10:40:26 PDT 2003

>From: roger walker <draegan88 at yahoo.com>
>This is very interesting and informative but it
>doesn't exactly help with my problem at hand. I should
>have been more specific. What I'm looking for I guess
>is specific instructions on what to do next. BTW I now
>have a small coating of salt on the hide, but I'm not
>sure if it will be enough.  Thanks anyway and your're
>right, I should have known better than to ask an
>opened ended question like that.     OTAR

Basically, your choices are pretty simple.  Unless you want to stake it out
and dry it into rawhide (which is a perfectly good way to store it); stake
it up in a smoking shed some place and dry it in smoke; spend lots of time
rubbing various oils into it; or really hurry and try to set up a tanning
pit, go with the tawing description you were given yesterday.

If you do want to go for the tanning pit, get a large heavyweight, locking
plastic tub, oak bark and oak galls - many of them.  Grind them into powder,
and slowly leach hot water through them (like a drip coffee maker) and fill
the tub.  Then throw the grounds in with them.

While this is doing its thing, scrape the skin of all flesh and fat.  You
might want to de-hair the skin at this point (or not).  To do that, resoak
the skin (strong lime water is suggested) for several days, then stretching
it out over a rounded board, take a blunt curved "knife" and gradually (as
though you were shaving it) remove the hair, and the upper levels of the
epidermis.  You want a blunt knife because you aren't shaking it - you are
forcing all the hair out by the roots.  Fortunately, the lime (and a little
decomposition) will help loosen the epidermis for this.

BTW, there is NO part of this process that does not stink like a - well
there are no words I can politely use on this list.  This is why I don't tan
my own hides - Herself has prohibited hide tanning in our apartment.

By this point, the tannin liquor will have started getting strong enough to
begin.  Stick the skin in there and leave it.  Go back to it every week or
so and turn it, checking on it.  This can take up to year for a properly
tanned hide.  Too fast a tanning (which you can do by keeping the hide and
fluid aggitated and VERY strong) and you can "case harden" the hide, leaving
the inside weak and succeptable to rot.  Too little a time, and the
potential for incomplete tannage remains (although experiments with tanning
whole baby pigs in bogs, suggest that the basic tanning proccess may be
completed in 3-6 weeks, under perfect conditions.

In any case, do not throw out your tannin liquor since if you ever do this
again, you will want to use it to change out the tanning leather into older,
more mellow, liquors over the time it's tanning.


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