Tanning hides / furs

Discussion in 'Self-made Gear' started by greyhawk, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. greyhawk

    greyhawk Tracker

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    It is common knowledge that an animals brain is sufficiant to tan its own hide but few folks know about the use of acorns for the same purpose...No mess or bad smells... You prepair a hide as usual (I leave the fur on cause I use it for fly tying) and put it on the board fur side against the board... Gather the acorns and shell them... Grind up the acorn meats untill it is about like peanutbutter... Now that the acorns are prepaired,,,,,,,,,,,,

    (1) spread a layer of the acorn butter on the skin side of the hide...
    (2) when the acorn butter starts to crack and you see hide through the cracks go ahead and peel the acorn butter off the hide...
    (3) take the hide off the board and work it a little and put it back on the board...
    (4) you will have to do steps 1-3 2 or 3 times then your done...

    It works great and leaves the hide soft & pliable and no bad smell... Acorns has tannic acid in them and the darker colour yellow the acorns are, the stronger the tannic acid content is and thats why acorns are bitter tasting...
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
  2. jimmyt

    jimmyt Supporter Supporter

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    Good info. How long does it take for the "butter" to dry enough to crack?
     
  3. Long Hunter

    Long Hunter Scout

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    You can also use a potash alum method or, believe it or not, a turpentine/wood alcohol method. Neither of these methods is better than another, but brain tanning is still my preference.
    *Note, brain tanned hides are more durable when smoked after tanning and before oiling.
     
  4. redneckdan

    redneckdan Tracker

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    I have a raccoon in the freezer I will pull out and give it a try. I'll let yall know how it turns out.
     
  5. Mad Russian

    Mad Russian Scout

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    I've used regular table salt on rabbit furs. Works great but leaves the skin a little stiff. I then rub Neat's Foot Oil on them to soften them up and wash the oil off with warm water mixed with diswashing liquid.
     
  6. wisconsinwalter

    wisconsinwalter Supporter Supporter

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    Great post!

    Thanks! I have been looking for a post like this

    Does it matter how old the acorns are in relation to falling from the tree?
     
  7. greyhawk

    greyhawk Tracker

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    It takes around 2 days for the cracks to start forming in warm sunny weather... As for the age of the acorns, the newer fallen they are the better... Once they dry out they loose the natural oils and wont work properly...
     
  8. OddTheViking

    OddTheViking Guide

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    How do you keep it from eating all your food??? :D
     
  9. wisconsinwalter

    wisconsinwalter Supporter Supporter

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    I guess I will have to wait until next year
     
  10. amcardon

    amcardon Scout

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    I've got a bear hide (skinned him last night) and have never tanned a hide before but want to practice on him. I was going to use salt and alum but this sounds interesting, just not sure if I can get enough acorns to grind up for 3 applications to an entire bear hide! Thanks for posting this, maybe I'll be able to give it a try on something smaller scale first.
     
  11. BackwoodsUncleBub

    BackwoodsUncleBub Scout

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    Raw eggs and vegetable oil mix works too. Leaves the hide as if it was brain tanned after its been smoked. Allows the leather to "breath" like the brain tanning proccess.
     
  12. leaf and lightning

    leaf and lightning Guide

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    what is the ratio??
     
  13. BackwoodsUncleBub

    BackwoodsUncleBub Scout

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    I use 4 to 5 eggs per cup of oil. Depending on the size of the eggs...

    Beat the eggs in the oil till it thickens up ( your basicly making unseasoned mayonnaise ). Work it into the hide as best you can. Place the hide in a plastic bag or bin to allow it to soak in for a day or so, massaging the mixture in each day while you check it. After a day or so, rinse the hide in cold water. Strech and work it dry, then smoke it.
     

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