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Thread: tanning deer hides at home

  1. #1
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    For those of you that tan your own hides, what process or product do you use? I have a few that I want to tan this spring. They have been fleshed and salted last fall. I understand that I will neeed to soak them a few times to remove the salt before I tan.
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  3. #2
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    https://www.cabelas.ca/product/61349...anning-formula




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    Did one 20 years ago with chemicals from van Dykes-- a big taxidermy retailer.

    Lots of work and end result had the look and feel of old fashioned snowshoe webbing--- in other words, raw hide.
    Too much work to try and fail a second time.

    Not sure what I did wrong because I used professional chemicals and followed very step as described.

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by johny View Post
    Did one 20 years ago with chemicals from van Dykes-- a big taxidermy retailer.

    Lots of work and end result had the look and feel of old fashioned snowshoe webbing--- in other words, raw hide.
    Too much work to try and fail a second time.

    Not sure what I did wrong because I used professional chemicals and followed very step as described.
    You did not break the hide, they all get hard but you have to stretch and break the hide to loosen it up.

    If you still have it then it may not be lost, just use youtube, you essentially cured the hide but did not make it supple.

  6. #5
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    If you do not have access to or do not wish to use the trappers formula. You can mix eggs, mayo and butter in a bowl and apply it with your hands. Rub it in good. Fold the hide up and store for a few days. Skin on skin. I would then rack it and stretch and dry it with a baseball bat. You can even use flour at this point to make it whiter. Utube the Cree method of tanning, it takes you through the entire process. Donít forget to smoke it or all your efforts will be wasted.


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  7. #6
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    https://www.fieldandstream.com/how-to-tan-a-deer-hide

    This method only costs a couple of bucks and produces a decent hide if you work it well as it dries. I did one this way this year and the hide is supple where it is thinnest, but mine is still stiff in the neck where the hide is thick. I could probably get it better if I soaked it again and worked more oil in as it dries but the result is good enough for me.

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    It doesn't matter what tanning/preserving solution you use, unless your break the fibers that hold the hide together it will not come out soft. It's like a brand new baseball glove, you must work that leather in in-order for it to become soft.....
    You must break the hide/fibers as it dries and that is a lot of work.......Simplest way I have found is to place a 2x2 or 2x4 in a vice, and as part of the hide dries, run the hide back and forth (flesh side) rapidly over that 2" edge until the hide feels soft and is completely dry. A lot of times it feels soft and dry so you decide to leave it only to find it hardened up the next day.......that is because it was not completely dry when you left it..... It must be completely dry and soft or it will harden back up.....Did I mention, this is a lot of work......
    If you do a lot of these, you don't need a gym membership as this takes a lot of energy out of you ...
    The more you break the hide, the softer it becomes.... Once you are satisfied with the softness of the hide, you can run a palm sander over it..... The good thing about this is, if it does get hard on you, you can always wet it again and start breaking it all over again, no gym membership required...
    "Everything is easy when you know how"
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    The TV show Mountain Men , Tom Oar is shown many times breaking down the fibers of hides, deer etc. using a cable strung high between two trees, the hide is thrown over the cable and he runs it back and forth in all directions , stretching and pulling the hides. This looks like a lot of work but he winds up with soft supple hides, on deer hides [ no hair] he then smokes them to help preserve the hides.

  10. #9
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    I have done deer, bear, yotes, fox, muskrat, coon, beaver and mink using the sulfuric acid method. As said when the hide is done soaking you have to work it soft. There are many solutions, relaxing formulas for dried skins, dehairing, deliming, tanning (acid, alum, chrome, vegetable, neutralizing, degreasing and more. I used neat's foot oil to preserve hide after it is dried. A lot of work but worth it.
    Experience is what you gain when you didn't get what you wanted.

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    I donít use neats foot oil. My hides turn out soft and supple because of the amount of stretching and softening I do. Its a lot of work. The best results yet though is truly a brain tanned buck skin double smoked. Amazing leather.


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