Tanning Game & Domestic Hides

HomesteaderWife

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Just bumping this thread in case anyone needs it. I try to check in when I can for those who want to ask any questions or share their own experiences.

Going to try and use a raccoon hide sometime soon and make either a bag or a cap out of it, not sure which, and do a little video on it. I need to make one about the buckskin bag too. Someone asked for a little video on tanning but I’ll have to wait until season opens again for that. Any other ideas on what someone would like to see?
 

HomesteaderWife

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LPR, great thought! I might take some of the base tips I tell people normally in forums and make something out of it including tips on that and what causes it
 

Larsen Poultry Ranch

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Are there any extra steps needed if I am going to take a pelt out of the freezer and try to tan it? Rabbit pelts, straight off the rabbit and placed in a Ziploc bag and then frozen, some are a month ish old, some are over a year. There might be some close to 2 years frozen. Do they get freezer burnt? Did I ruin them by waiting so long?

Do I thaw, then soak, then deflesh, then tan? Is the thawing part of the soaking? If I want to dye it do I try to dye as it's soaking after defleshing before tanning? Or tan then dye then rework the pelt if it got stiff? Have been planning to use the egg yolk tan method.
 

HomesteaderWife

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Larsen, when I get home I will give more detail on that for you! I’m mobile and I want to make sure I get my book out for thawing details as I often skin and tan fresh. When you froze them, it depends on how you folded them also, as to how salvageable they could be
 

Larsen Poultry Ranch

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Larsen, when I get home I will give more detail on that for you! I’m mobile and I want to make sure I get my book out for thawing details as I often skin and tan fresh. When you froze them, it depends on how you folded them also, as to how salvageable they could be
Thanks! I think we are going to cull bunnies this weekend, so I'll have some fresh to try with too. I have a bunch of pretty chinchilla rabbit pelts in the freezer I'd like to try to tan, I'm hoping I didn't screw them all up. Guess I'll just have to raise more bunnies for more pelts, lol.
 

HomesteaderWife

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@Larsen Poultry Ranch - Here's a big question on your hides - how did you put them in the freezer, as in, how did you fold them? Did you fold flesh to flesh, or is the meat side touching any of the fur sides? Did you salt them prior?

I am going to dig up both my books as far as freezing and thawwing. I'll put some info here in a bit.
 

Larsen Poultry Ranch

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No salt on any of them. We did put the meat sides together, most of the pelts we kept tube shaped and didn't open them up all the way.

Maybe one of your videos could be on the best way to prep pelts for freezing until processing them later? That's one YouTube video I haven't been able to find yet.
 

HomesteaderWife

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@Larsen Poultry Ranch - great idea on video topic. Here's some info on freezing/thaw of hides:

Do not salt the hides before freezing. Salt draws moisture. When storing to freeze, make sure flesh side touches flesh and never let the flesh touch hair. Alot of blood in your fur side causes hair slip, and with something like deer you'll notice hair slip around a wound hole usually. This is not something you want to do in the heat and with lots of bugs, so hopefully you have an enclosed area to work with.

Monte's book says: start preservation process immediately after skinning (aka for you, freezer storage)- some hides can freezer burn if left in too long (says fat/membrane layers can stick to the hide and freezer burn to skin making it almost impossibel to remove, you'll have to evaluate your older hides as you go...mentions wrapping tightly in a plastic bag to help prevent, but label it so you don't grab the wrong thing or maybe date and work on oldest ones first). Fleshing the hide out before freezing would help with space and make for less work later. He also mentions something I've learned - if you wait to flesh it until after thaw, there is a risk of hair loss (the "meat/blood juices" I would call them will cause that). Do not allow skin to sit for a long period of time after thaw or it can deteriorate and hair will fall out. He mentions belly skin on rabbit being thinnest, and says easiest skinning is done while carcass is still warm. Be careful when fleshing to not get the hair roots, use careful movements. Tube ("case skinning") shaped hides should enable you to make a wooden or pvc fleshing beam for easier work.

Try different tanning methods and see how each one turns out. Try a salt-alum paste, a brain tan, an egg tan, a bottle formula tan. You'll learn about "breaking" the hide once almost dried to stretch it out and get it smoothed and flexible.
 

HomesteaderWife

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Fun news! Great ideas for videos so far, alot of which will most likely be pre-trapping/hunting season, so for now I'm going to focus on some projects with finished hides that can be done the rest of the year. I only took one raccoon last year and I plan to make a little bag with it, and I'm going to go step by step on how I do it. I was very debated on whether to make a cap with it or a bag, but lots of people have how tos on that. This one needed to be something different! So here's a very poor spoiler drawing of what I am hoping to make:
IMG_2590.jpg
 
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