Chatterbox: Firearms, Shooting, and Hunting

Discussion in 'Free Thoughts' started by Write4U, Sep 15, 2014.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    As promised, below is a description of the basic process of brain tanning. I hope moderator will allow, I'm not sure .....but I believe it may be of interest.

    Hand tanning process.

    a) preserving freshness, trim hide and remove any bumpy left-over meat and fat from skinning from inside and sprinkle generously with rock salt.
    b) if several hides, roll up (hair out) and store hide(s) in a cold place.
    b1) if one hide, roll out hide and stuff into drum. Fill drum with enough water to cover hide, swish around until water is brine and let stand overnight. This will kill any ticks and unwanted microbes. Always soak skin before working on it.

    Once started, skin must remain wet until final drying.

    c) place pole diagonally against a sturdy wall, making sure it cannot slip away.
    d) stretch wet hide (hair out and down) over pole making sure hide lies flat and is not bumpy.

    Keeping hide stretched tightly against the pole is all important.

    c) with kitchen knife start shaving the skin from bottom up (against the grain). Hold bottom steady when starting to shave the hide.
    d) lay kitchen knife flat at a slight diagonal angle at bottom starting point, and shave hair as close as possible straight up in a the narrow strip of hide on top. Make sure knife lays flat at all times and does not cut the skin. a little practice makes perfect. Repeat the procedure one strip at the time, until you have to shift the position of the hide to remain in contact with the pole.
    e) when all hair is removed, the epidermis must be removed. a straight scraper (of any kind0 will do, but a curved two handled draw knife is ideal for control and power on large Elk hides.

    This is a critical part, as any uneven "slip" will leave a mark on the processed hide.

    f) when epidermis removed, turn skin over and scrape the inner membrane until gone. (if you miss a spot, any left over membrane will not allow the drying skin to be stretced and leaves a little wrinkle in the cloth.
    g) thoroughly rinse skin from brine with fresh water and wring out firmly (small strong sticks come in handy).

    When all done, the skin should look and feel like a slimey, ugly gray wet chamois. it will also appear to have shrunk.

    Brain tanning.
    h) simmer crisco or brains in a pan of warm water (do not cook!) and mash until dispersed into the water, stir vigorously to dissolve.
    i) rinse and partially fill drum with warm water and add brain/crisco broth, stir hide for good dispersion, cover and let stand overnight.
    j) wring skin out as much as possible (an old hand wringer would be great) and hang to dry. do not allow skin to dry completely (when a few damp spots are still visible time is right).

    At this point you need a partner who wants to share in the magic about to happen.

    k) holding fast at each end, start stretching the hide, slowly rotating grips so that stretching is in all directions and what was an ugly grey slimey skin, begins to transform into a cloth, so soft it will feel like suede. The more it is stretched the larger it gets and the color changes from gray to creamy white as it continues to be stretched while continuing to dry until the fabric becomes elastic and is completely dry.

    As a skeptic, I shall never forget the experience of seeing this transformation take place, the first time I partook in this required ritual.

    l) this is now virgin handprocesssed deer hide and is why white braintanned hides are used by indians for weddings and official ceremonies. I must admit I do not know how they insulate it from water as unsmoked cloth will turn back into a wet shammy if it gets wet. Perhaps the type of wood used for smoking may still allow for a cream white leather. Extended smoking continues to darken the cream to a light golden brown. The creosote oils from the smoke will provide the final moisture resistance for a golden brown cloth, which can even be washed with light soapy warm water for rinsing.

    Smoking the hide is best done in a small closed area. ( I used 4 (3+1) each 4x8 ply to construct an 8' tall cover with a heavy blanket as door for easy access.
    I am sure there are several types of smoke pots, but I used a hole in the ground filled with smoldering rotted Larch chunks, they provide a wonderful aroma to the leather cloth as well as a beautiful hue.

    m) suspend hides from ceiling lines with an even spacing far enough to avoid contact. make sure the firepit has no flames, just glowing smoking embers. close the door, and after allowing the hides to steep in the confined smoke for 24 hours, you should have high quality, beadable leather of pleasing appearance.
    I don't like to see any unused parts of the animals we kill, it is a matter of respect.
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  3. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    I've no issue with this being posted, especially as I myself am interested in the topic. Perhaps this discussion should/could be moved to a different sub-forum? General Science of perhaps Free Thoughts?

    Ya'll have any feelings either way on that?
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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I have no objections to change category. The intent was to provide conscientious hunters a useful and ultimately rewarding activity which saves valuable hides from being destroyed or dumped.
    btw. butchers in hunting areas will usually have a few hides for sale, or they also dump hides which they cannot sell to commercial tanners. But even a small hide may yield a 2x2' piece of cloth which can be used to cover one side of a pillow.
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  7. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    In thinking about it, it does seem rather tied-in with the idea of guns (hunting, et al)... and to be frank, I fear moving it about may just cause more confusion as I attempt to split posts in two to fit them ehetyewn the tjread s

    ... uh... wow, that was supposed to read "between the threads"... this, folks, is what happens when a touch-typist mislays his hands and starts typing without being on home row XD
  8. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    great stuff!
    Thanks for the tanning info
    It would seem that I was basically-----clueless
  9. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    3 does in the yard yestereve.
    Ain't seen the buck for a while.
    Muzzle loading season opens next week.
    I can almost taste the venison steaks cooked over a woodfire.
    We dropped a russian olive tree yesterday, wonder if that'll give it a different flavor.
    Or maybe stick with the cherry wood.
    The decisions don't stop with the weapons.
    A friend who is a chef and has his own resteurant recomended hanging the deer for up to a week to let it season.
    Temperature control seems to be needed---I'm thinking 50 degrees F---?
    By hanging the deer for a few days, then he'll help me butcher it of a sunday.
    Maybe a good chance for me to learn something new--working alongside of a pro.
  10. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

    I hope there are enough good sections of olive wood for working into beautiful things, rather than just making nice smoke. What diameter?
  11. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    12 inches at the base
  12. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    dropped a 250(?) pound buck
    through the cloud of smoke
    I worried that I may have lost him
    He made a run for it and got 30 yards
    into the ravine
    darned heavy
    really lots of fat on him
    needed the tractor to haul him up to the shop
    (feeling old)
    then all day butchering
    I'm tired and my back aches
    really excellent eating lies ahead.
    steaks in the morning tomorrow
  13. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

    I hope I'm invited. Even though I wasn't there to help with carrying and all the nasty work.

    Deerskin mocs, maybe?
  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    btw: the principals probably know this, but a "Russian olive" in the US is not an olive tree, and its wood will not replace olive wood. It's a willow - use the wood as you would willow wood.
  15. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

    I didn't know that, thanks!
  16. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Admittedly though... he is right. That little P22 has upwards of a 2 to 3 inch spread at fifteen feet... and really, that small a bullet you would need to be very accurate and need multiple shots to incapacitate an aggressor *shrug*
  17. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    true as that may be i seriously doubt in this case the answer to violence is more violence.
  18. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

    Yep. A .22 isn't really a decent hideout for the same reasons. I like a small .45 ACP like the Taurus PT145 that fits in my hand..

    Rick Perry carries a .380, 'cause he has little-bitty hands.

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