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Old 06-26-2012, 12:31 AM   #1
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Default How do you tan your pelts?

I have never tanned my own pelts before and thought this year I'd save some money and do them myself. (Coon and coyote). So far I've heard the brain method is best for DIY. What method do you use?

Also what do you use your pelts for? Rugs, wall mounts, mitts, etc?

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Old 06-26-2012, 12:37 AM   #2
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My hide usually gets tanned by the sun.

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Old 06-26-2012, 12:38 AM   #3
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If I'm just mounting it on the wall I just give it a good scrape and rub borax into it. Let it sit for a day scrape off excess and repeat a few times. It's more like a hide that was just smoked. It dries out and gets stiff. Brain tanning works well with good results and I like the color. If you're not concerned about color it can be done with ivory soap. The hide comes out very white. If you have nothing else a ton of oak leaves and bark will work. Usually you get a dark drown.

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Old 06-26-2012, 12:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainman13
If I'm just mounting it on the wall I just give it a good scrape and rub borax into it. Let it sit for a day scrape off excess and repeat a few times. It's more like a hide that was just smoked. It dries out and gets stiff. Brain tanning works well with good results and I like the color. If you're not concerned about color it can be done with ivory soap. The hide comes out very white. If you have nothing else a ton of oak leaves and bark will work. Usually you get a dark drown.
Ivory soap also makes a good catfish bait ;-)

But i've been trying to figure out how to keep the pelt soft? I'd like to try making a quilt with a few but i assume they will all end up pretty stiff.
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Old 06-26-2012, 01:02 AM   #5
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You just have to break them. After you soak it in the ivory mixture for a few days you have to set aside a day for drying. Take the hide out and drape it over a tree branch and twist the excess out of it and then basically beat the piss out of it until it is completely dry. It's a long drawn out process but that's what it takes to keep it supple.

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Old 06-26-2012, 01:36 AM   #6
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I friend of mine made something that looked like a cement mixer but he used a wood drum. Put the hide in there with a few 1" ball bearings and turn on the electric motor. Softened them up great (I don't remember how long it took).

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Old 06-26-2012, 02:16 AM   #7
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I used to stretch, salt, scrape - repeat, n repeat, n repeat...and got something as hard as a board and smelled like the dog on a bad day... What is the ratio of Ivory soap to water ? That's a new one to me.

I had an old scout master who said just piss on it. Not sure if he was just deep in his cups or was serious. Tanning hides was a specialty trade in the Middle Ages. Even had their own union.

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Old 06-26-2012, 02:22 AM   #8
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Piss does work. But whenever it gets wet guess what it smells like. If you're using like a 5 gallon bucket like 3 bars ground up really good should do it. You want to use relatively hot water and mix it in real good. The water should get saturated with it and be really milky.

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Old 06-26-2012, 04:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainman13
You just have to break them. After you soak it in the ivory mixture for a few days you have to set aside a day for drying.
soak? you wouldn't soak the whole thing if ur keeping the fur on would u? i'd rread that you would just hang it on a door or something and use a rag to wipe the brain/soap on the skin side. sorry about the questions, as I said, I'm new to the DIY pelts.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:59 PM   #10
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Yeah you would just have to work it in. I usually just assume people want hair off. The truth is the hair should stay on even if you soak it. Generally you want to include lye if you are removing the hair. (Lye will remove your hair and burn your skin if you use it wear gloves)

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