Brain tanning

Discussion in 'Other Skills' started by DarkXstar, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. DarkXstar

    DarkXstar Guide

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    I have brain tanned a few hides over the years. I am by no means a expert by any stretch of the imagination. Last year i found this site with a slightly different method it seems to be a little easier to me. It worked out well dor me so i thought you guys might like it.
    The bigest difference is the pre-smoke before braining and that the brains are mixed in water so it soaks in well without trying to rub in a even coat. Let me know what you think.
    http://www.tuckahoedanceteam.freehomepage.com/custom4.html
     
  2. MarauderMan

    MarauderMan Scout

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    Just thinking on starting leatherwork...so in a couple of years, I may use this to start tanning my own hides! :)
     
  3. Survival Jeff

    Survival Jeff Tracker

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    Great post! Alot of time saving info there.
     
  4. driggs5454

    driggs5454 Tracker

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    Thanks. Very useful since I'm attempting to brain tan a deer hide I got a few weeks back
     
  5. Axe

    Axe Tracker

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    Thanks! Great info. Something i will try very soon. I have used other tanning methods but never brain tanning.
     
  6. Dakota Jim

    Dakota Jim Scout Bushclass I

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    I read a saying once a while back. "Every animal has enough brains, to tan it's own hide." Tried it once on a badger. I don't think I fleshed it enough because it rotted. Talk about stink!
     
  7. DarkXstar

    DarkXstar Guide

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    yea you have to get all the meat off and the membrane thats beyond it it will start to look kinda fuzzy when its ready to to finish. personally i like to use a wire brush to finish getting the rest of the membrane off
     
  8. kaywoodie

    kaywoodie Scout

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    I too, have used this method in the past with very good results. Instead of brains I substituted egg whites. To me, it worked as well as brains....

    Kaywoodie
     
  9. buckmaster

    buckmaster Tracker

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    i really need to try this.
     
  10. VaughnT

    VaughnT Banned Member Banned

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    Thoughts on Tanning

    The Beam: A fleshing beam is a quick and easy way of taking the meat, fat and hair off of a skin. If you do a lye soak, you can easily remove the grain, too. It's a great tool if you set it up right.

    Unfortunately, I see a lot of them set up poorly. The reason for this, I think, is that folks see examples in old photos and simply mimic that.

    In an article I wrote for the Bulletin of Primitive Technology many years ago, I spoke of small muscles in the lower back and how weak they were compared to the muscles in the upper back, shoulders and arms. Look at any pro body builder

    [​IMG]

    and you see just how small they are in the waist compared to the upper torso. The Latisimuss dorsi, Deltoids, Trapezius, Triceps and Biceps all play a part in pushing a drawknife through the gunk on a hide and they are all significantly larger than the Spinal Flexors found in the waist.

    So, when you step up to a steeply-angled beam and simply use your body weight to push through the meat and fat, you're using gravity more than anything else. Then you have to stand up straight, fighting gravity with a very small group of very small muscles. This is why a lot of tanners complain about back pain!

    What I do, and strongly recommend, is that you use the body more efficiently.

    By raising the beam up so that it hits you just below the sternum, and leveling it out so there's only a slight angle, there's no bending over. You push with the strength of your arms and shoulders, and you return to the start position with the strength of the arms and shoulders. Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy!

    Do you go slower because of this? Absolutely not. Not only is my control of the blade better, but I don't get sore and tired towards the end. This is especially important if you are working several hides!

    And one KEY trick is that I place a foot-long long piece of 1"x8" lumber between me and the board.

    Not only does this keep me a bit back from the sloppy wet hide, but it provides a comfortable place to lean into. Think about the set up like it was a vise. The beam provides one jaw of the vise, and you are the other. The problem is that you're flabby self makes for a lousy vise jaw! Trust me, I'm very flabby.....

    By placing the 1" lumber between me and the skin, I have a nice comfortable place to lean into and the skin is pinched snugly between two hard vise jaws.

    It's more comfortable, cleaner, and more efficient. And, my back doesn't hurt even after a few hides are cleaned and ready for the freezer!
     
  11. DarkXstar

    DarkXstar Guide

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    thanks for the tip about the "vice jaw" i never thought of that I agree with the beam height my 4" pvc hits about sternum level the 6 inch pipe hits a little higher. the most i have done is 4 hides in a day but didnt have any back pain or really any disconfort other than my arms and sholders being tired.
     
  12. VaughnT

    VaughnT Banned Member Banned

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    Glad I could help. With the beam raised up and leveled off, I can have four or five hides well-fleshed before lunch and not have a single twinge in the back. The older I get, the more I appreciate that!!
     
  13. DarkXstar

    DarkXstar Guide

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    Fleshing goes pretty quick its the dehairing that seems to take me forever. I have 4 in rawhide state now i need finish up but my work schedule kinda slowed me down a bit. I'm off today but I need some woods time so its not getting done today lol
     
  14. VaughnT

    VaughnT Banned Member Banned

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    Are you presoaking the hides in a lye solution to swell the grain?
     
  15. DarkXstar

    DarkXstar Guide

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    yes I do. I have soaked in just water and the same thing seems to happen eventualy after a week or two the hair starts to slip pretty good but you have to change the water every day if its above freezing or the hides will rot.
     
  16. lwmiller

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    Along these lines...today I started again on working my hides:
    During the winter I fleshed them real good over a 8" PVC pipe (5ft) that I lean into. I wet salted them (2 lbs per hide), rolled them and hung them over a beam over a bucket to catch the water.....Next day I spread them back out, resalted them (another 2 lbs), then folded them up and put each in a 5 gallon bucket and sealed them. This was so i can get back to them sometime this summer.
    Well, so (following instructions on DeerSkins into Buckskins book by Matt Rickards) on Wednesday I pulled my first hide out of it's bucket, and put it in 10gallons of water in a trashcan that had 4oz lye mixed in (bucking). Today (Sunday) I got it out (after a long weekend of travel) and started graining it. My word am I ever exhausted. I've gotten everything grained but the neck...then ran outta steam.

    So here's my question:

    Is it ok that I put the hide that's left to do back into the bucking solution so I can finish it tomorrow?
     
  17. actichy

    actichy Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    From what I understand, it depends on the temp where you're doing the bucking. The warmer the temp, the sooner the hide will rot.

    You might want to rinse, then dry, or freeze the hide, then put it back in the lye solution when you are ready to finish removing the grain layer.
     
  18. PutridPile

    PutridPile Banned Member Banned

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    Freezer. You can stop and start pretty much whenever and for however long you want, as long as it goes in the freezer.
     
  19. lwmiller

    lwmiller Tracker

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    Thanks guys....so when i get back to it tomorrow, I just lay it out to thaw and continue graining as-is? Or should I toss it back into the same trashcan of lye-water?
     

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