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Horseman
Sunday, March 14th, 2010, 11:24 PM
Does anyone else here tan their own hides and furs?

I've been tanning hides since learning from my grandfather after my very first successful hunting trip, everything to deer hides to squirrel pelts. Some of my very first were bark tanned using boiled white oak bark solution, and in my teens I started braintanning. I like the philosophy of using the entire animal and the idea of throwing away good leather is disgusting to me. Its alot of hard work, but to my mind a home tanned hide or pelt is something to be proud of:thumbup

Valbiorn
Monday, March 15th, 2010, 12:41 AM
That's something I wish I knew more about. I love working with bone, antler, and leather, haven't had much luck with fur ( squirrel tails disintegrate after a year...)

Zimobog
Monday, March 15th, 2010, 01:14 AM
I have some dried pelts I would like to tan. We don't have oak trees here but I was going to try out some of that stuff in the blaze orange bottle. What do you think of it?

SpearBrave
Monday, March 15th, 2010, 01:36 AM
Don't use the stuff called tanit in a white box I have tried that and it did not work well on deer hides. It did however work pretty good on a beef hide.

You don't have to use oak to get tannic acid from to tan with I don't know what kind of trees you have up there but maybe some others are high in tannic acid.

Zimobog
Monday, March 15th, 2010, 01:57 AM
I will just have to fiddle around with the squirrel hides (I have a pile of them) before I risk screwing up a nice fox hide. :)

I also pluck all the quills out of porcupines I zap (livers are like beef livers... mmmm) and save the tail-fans of the grouse I take. I pin them to cardboard and dry them fanned out.

SpearBrave
Monday, March 15th, 2010, 02:06 AM
are those ruf grouse? and if so are they the brown color phase or the grey color phase?

When I get grouse around here they are the brown phase but in Michigan I get the grey color phase.

Horseman
Monday, March 15th, 2010, 02:07 AM
Don't use the stuff called tanit in a white box I have tried that and it did not work well on deer hides. It did however work pretty good on a beef hide.

You don't have to use oak to get tannic acid from to tan with I don't know what kind of trees you have up there but maybe some others are high in tannic acid.

Thats exactly right:thumbup I've used spruce, sumac and walnut bark, however tannin also colors the leather and I like the more mellow color I get from oak, sumac and spruce. Be sure to mix the solution weak and stengthen it gradually, your generally looking at about 3 months or longer for a deer hide, depending on the thickness. Also the hide will need to be stirred occasionally and checked to make sure its completely immersed.

Braintanning is more work but I prefer it because its still quicker than waiting on the tannins to soak through. Also if something else comes up you can freeze the hide until a better time to work, thaw it and go back to work. :thumbup

Zimobog, I've never used a ready-mix solution so I dont know:)

Zimobog
Monday, March 15th, 2010, 03:08 AM
We have ruffed (brown with black tail stripe), spruce (grey with brown tail tips), and sooty (grey with black), G. All of them taste good.

Sorry about the off-topic, Horseman!

Spruce and birch predominate here, but we have poplar (cottonwood and aspen) and shrubs like alder, elderberry, willow and mountain ash. Do you use the leaves/needles or bark?

Horseman
Monday, March 15th, 2010, 03:22 AM
We have ruffed (brown with black tail stripe), spruce (grey with brown tail tips), and sooty (grey with black), G. All of them taste good.

Sorry about the off-topic, Horseman!

Spruce and birch predominate here, but we have poplar (cottonwood and aspen) and shrubs like alder, elderberry, willow and mountain ash. Do you use the leaves/needles or bark?

No worries, Zimobog:D I love grouse hunting:thumbup To answer your question you can use all three, basically what you do is simply boil a tea out of it, use a pot you dont care to lose, because the tannins will discolor/ corrode the metal. :)

Zimobog
Monday, March 15th, 2010, 03:42 AM
Have you tried it with the hair still on?

Horseman
Monday, March 15th, 2010, 04:20 AM
Have you tried it with the hair still on?

No, immersion would cause the hair to slip. I've done hair-on braintanning though:)

jacktheknife
Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, 12:31 PM
Gentlemen,

I have furs on my den wall that I tanned 20 years ago.
The hardest part of tanning fur is 'fleshing'.
It is easy to 'get fur', by trapping or hunting with hounds,
even picking up road kills.
Skinning is easy.
Tanning consists of soaking the fur in several different liquids
and is easy too.
But if a fur or hide isn't 'fleshed' it will never 'tan' or be usable.

Fleshing consists of scraping the fat, meat and grease from the skin and if not done 'as soon as possible' after skinning
is an almost impossible problem.

I have used 'Rittles' tanning formula for 20 years
and recommend it highly.
In fact it is the only tanning formula I have ever used.

{Advertisement:}

"Rittel's E-Z 100 Tanning Kit"
Includes everything you need for tanning all furs and hair-on hides such as fox, raccoon, mink, deer, etc. Produces a soft, stretchy, washable white leather with an indefinite shelf life. Each kit will tan two average size deer skins or 10 fox skins. This is a real modern tanning process that will give professional quality results. Includes safe pickling acid, tanning oil, tanning agent, and complete instructions.$27.95

I never knew how to flesh fur till last year.
It was J.C. on 'the Swamp Talk Forum'
who 'taught me how'
and that was confirmed by the old retired fur buyer
down in Maypearl Texas.

It is so simple.
Hides are best fleshed when skinned.
{Or as soooon as possible after!}
I never knew that.
In fact, the guy who got me into trapping in 1959,
old Randy Gibson, still maintains fur has to be dried before being fleshed.
Even though Randy never fleshed a coon in his life.

In school we would hang furs unfleshed on our bedroom walls
till the hair all fell out,
and that was the best we could do.
We never knew where to sell fur.

Then when my hounds were all alive
and before I got disabled I would sell to the country fur buyer.
It felt good to be able to sell the fur to someone who could make it useful,
ie. flesh it and send it to the Hudson Bay co.
and see to it that it wasn't wasted as fur is beautiful.
I could spend my yearly profits at the beer store on the way home
but at least the fur wasn't wasted.

I have fur I tanned 25 years ago and it is beautiful.
But the work involved was monumental.
I am talking fleshing Coyotes after the season is over
and hopefully before it gets too hot.
Talk about a lot of work.

Then I get murdered and everything changed.
I wake up in the hospital after a coma of 5 weeks
and realize what is important in life
and that is being out on the trail with my hounds
and on the trap line alone again.

I had a vision from God and I ain't kidding.
I heard God say "Jack, you are pretty bad,
yes, you are pretty bad...
but you are not quite dead, so you are going back to the world."
"But first there is somebody here you might want to see.
They want to see you real bad and their right here..."
{It was my old hound Cotton Joe who had been poisoned
by the same white trash who killed me.}
Joe said telepathically:
I can't believe you are still grieving for us after all these years.
{12 years}
When we died we really suffered, me most of all
but we're alright now, I've been 3-4 dogs since then.
You are the only one still suffering and it hurts me.
You are missing your life!
We would all be there with you if we could but we can't!
Get you some hounds and go hunting!
And I woke up in Baylor hospital.

The fur buyer retired and all of a sudden
I have all this time on my hands,
like the garden, the poultry, the knife shop,
the former pantry brewery...
I will learn to handle my own fur!

Putting up my own fur is another thing I can do which ...
its not the profit...
I can find another fur buyer...
Its not spending everything on overhead, gas and taxes.
It's efficiency in life style.
Another part of living on my land
and making the best use of what I have.
To be able to make something out of nothing.
It's about not wasting anything.
About being ones own boss.

I remember seeing 500 coon on wire stretchers
each hide side as white as snow,
down at the fur buyers 25 years ago.
I just stood there and looked at them.
It was a beautiful and an inspiring sight.
I guess it was inspiring as I would rather put up my own fur
for less money than 'sack groceries at the grocery store' for more.
I consider sacking groceries to be 'low paying humiliating work'.
Whereas fleshing coon is not.

That's what it is about.
Doing a good job and finishing my own fur.
People don't do that anymore.
People have 'jobs',
which, after being self employed for 33 years,
any 'job' working for somebody else,
seems low paying and humiliating.
I always worked for myself and I'll work for myself now,
hell with a job.
I used to drive 30,000 miles a year and now drive 2,000.
That makes fleshing coon look good.
Stay home and flesh coon
or sit in traffic all day?

I don't make much off the coon or do I?
I sat in my truck all day and thought I was making money
but gas, restaurant food, truck repairs and advertising got most of the money.
After working all year and paying off all my costs...
I was breaking even,
nothing left.
I can break even now very well
at home here on my land
doing what I love to do.
In fact I am doing it now.

Fleshing and putting up my own fur is important to me.
An important and 'missing part' of my life.
Last year I tanned 3 coon but I waited just a few weeks before fleshing and I understand now!
The fur buyer said when I asked him when to flesh coon and he looked right at me and said:
As sooooon as possible!


J. Winters von Knife
Sandymay & Dukedog
http://jacksknifeshop.tripod.com/