Cow (Steer) Hide Question

Discussion in 'Other Skills' started by LastFrontier, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. LastFrontier

    LastFrontier Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Alaska
    Hello. Friends butchered their steer a couple of days ago and have given me the hide, fat and bones. Hooray! I don't know what to do with the hide. It's too much for me to handle whole, so I think I should cut in in half. Should I cut it down the middle (cutting up the back from tail to head), or cut in half side to side so that I end up with the front half and the back half? Not sure what I ultimately want to do with it, yet, but I'm sure I'll try making hide glue later, and I have lots of small projects in mind. I'm excited about this! I know I need to scrape it. I've worked bear and moose hides before, but any suggestions for making this steer hide go easier would be greatly appreciated. Would the next step be to salt it good? It'll be awhile before I get to tanning it. Raw hide often comes in handy, so I'd like to keep some of it for that. Should I simply scrape the parts I want to use for rawhide, or does that also need to be salted? My son is 12, and of course he wants to make a drum. :)

    Sorry for so many questions. Any suggestions are appreciated! :)
     
  2. beacon

    beacon Simul justus et peccator Supporter Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Messages:
    2,620
    Likes Received:
    1,199
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Hides are often sold as "sides", so if it were me, I would cut it into two sides.
     
    LastFrontier and Mikewood like this.
  3. peregrine2000

    peregrine2000 Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Westchester, NY
    With any hide I've worked with, there are parts of the hide that are thciker than others. This makes some area harder to tan but much more sturdy for things like shoe soles and armor. If you're not sure what to do with it now, coat the whole thing down with lots of kosher salt, bags of it, and put it away in a clean plastic barrel or garbage can until you know what to do with it.
     
    LastFrontier likes this.
  4. Mikewood

    Mikewood Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,640
    Likes Received:
    588
    You can get hides cut all ways. Sides, shoulders, double shoulders etc. the trick for you is going to be tanning it but you have done moose and bear so you know about tanning. I would get a good kit. I would also cut it into quarters. They are much easier to work than either a whole or half. Then freeze 3 of the four sides and only work scraping on what is fresh. Make a frame from 2x4 and stretch it with 550 paracord. It should go easy if you have a big table or in the garage on the concrete floor.

    Please keep us posted. Pics!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
  5. mjh

    mjh Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,667
    Likes Received:
    1,029
    Location:
    confluence of Mississippi and Rum Rivers
    If you have the time now you could de hair, grain and flesh, stretch and dry on a rack and you have raw hide...roll it up and put it away in the rafters where mice won't get to it.....if you have the space you could freeze it.....and if not salt it.......

    Cut it if you want to....I've done some half deer hides, they were back to bottom half..hunters took the head and front cape for mounts thus about 2/3 of a hide....either way if it makes it more manageable I'd do it....
     
    LastFrontier likes this.
  6. Longhunter1761

    Longhunter1761 Flatlander Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2016
    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    550
    Location:
    North central Kansas
    If it's going to be awhile before you can use it, scrape as much meat and fat off as you can. I would then split it length ways down the middle of the back; it will be easier to handle that way. Lay it on plywood and salt the heck out of it. A lot. Every nook and cranny. Put the plywood at a bit of an angle to allow the moisture and fat to run off. You may have to repeat after a couple days. Let it dry completely then hang in dry place to store or critters will get to it. You can rehydrate and tan later.
     
    LastFrontier likes this.
  7. 1066vik

    1066vik Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    2,963
    Likes Received:
    328
    Location:
    NE Ks
    I would leave it in as large of chunks as you feel you can work.
    my preference from a project view would be to cut off the 2 bellies for lightweight projects or curing into rawhide.
    then cut off the top third (double shoulder) - this is the thickest leather on the hide
    then split the remaining chunk of the hide up the middle (along the spine) to leave you with a pair of "bends" which are relatively even thickness.
    all the rest of the hide scraps can be boiled down into glue.
    [​IMG]
     
    HardBall, Zaveral and LastFrontier like this.
  8. Hoof

    Hoof Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2015
    Messages:
    1,408
    Likes Received:
    2,710
    Location:
    South Louisiana
    ^^^ This is an excellent method.

    Personally I like them halved down the spine so I can cut a few long 2" straps from length of each side, the leather is thinner along the spine and makes great straps.

    That's a fun project
     
    LastFrontier likes this.
  9. LastFrontier

    LastFrontier Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Alaska
    Great information! Thank you very much. This hide isn't very big, and even the part behind the neck is still pretty thin. You have all provided wonderful suggestions. I like that picture! If this hide goes well, or even if it doesn't go so well, I think I'll be able to get another hide soon. So, for this one I think I'm going to just quarter it to try different things with each. My son suggested we tan one portion with the hair on and use it to make a footstool. I like that idea. We're starting to learn a little about woodworking, so that will be a fun project later. The hide still has lots of fat and meat, so we'll flesh it tomorrow, and salt the quarter we'll tan with the hair on. I have lots of bones to make into bone broth, and fat to render, so time is short. A friend suggested that we soak it in ash water for a few days (or as long as necessary) to loosen the hair help with removing the rest of the fat and meat. That will give me time to make and can up the bone broth and render the fat. How does that sound? Oh, and on the portion that I plan to salt to tan it with the hair on, I'll have room in the freezer for it, if that would help. Would I brush the salt off before freezing. This is the first time I've had electricity in many years, so that was never an option before. Might as well make the most of it.
     
    Hoof likes this.
  10. Longhunter1761

    Longhunter1761 Flatlander Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2016
    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    550
    Location:
    North central Kansas
    After a good fleshing, I would just roll up the piece you intend to tan with hair on, and put it in the freezer without salting first. That will save time later because you won't have to soak the salt out of the hide prior to tanning. Salting is good for dry storage, but if it's going in the freezer you can skip the salt. Ash water will loosen hair for sure. Another way is to get the hide wet and coat hair side with ash slurry/thin paste (ash and water mixture) roll up hair on hair, put in plastic bag and put in cool spot, not freezing. Check daily.
     
    LastFrontier likes this.
  11. LastFrontier

    LastFrontier Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Alaska
    Thank you, Longhunter1761! I'll try that.
     
  12. Bitterroot Native

    Bitterroot Native Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2016
    Messages:
    428
    Likes Received:
    1,049
    Location:
    Oregon
    Ton of good advice given! If you have worked on bear and moose before then you basically already know the drill. Being such a large piece I would cut in half as to end up with a front half and a back half rather than down the spine to create two mirrored sides. Seems to me it would be easier to work with wider pieces rather than very long ones.
     
    LastFrontier likes this.
  13. LastFrontier

    LastFrontier Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Alaska
    I used to help my husband with hides when he was alive, but this will be a first doing it start to finish by myself. Today we cut a quarter that we'll tan with the hair on. My son fleshed it and we salted it. Not as much room in the freezer as I thought. We were given most of a roadkill black bear, so after getting it skinned and cut up, I worked on the fat and meat while my son worked on cleaning up that cow hide. When it rains it pours. Glad to have it, but would have preferred the blessings be spread out a bit. :)
     
    Hoof likes this.

Share This Page