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Has anyone vegetable/bark tanned a hide?

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Has anyone vegetable/bark tanned a hide?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby GBov » Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:52 pm


While its actually a pig hide I will be trying, any advice for bark tanning would be great. Everything I find online calls for bark but I want to use leaves and twiggs of oak as I REALLY dont have enough oak trees to kill one just for the bark, same goes for the sumac, its just too useful alive to use the bark.

Main questions:

Can I use leaves and twigs to brew my tanning solution

can one do it without so called batting?

Roughly how long to soak a small pig hide for?

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Re: Has anyone vegetable/bark tanned a hide?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Zass » Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:17 pm


My understanding is that bark tanning is a much more flexible and forgiving process then pelt tanning.

I'm really only in the "dabbling" stage with bark tanning though.
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I suppose I could call this deer hide tanned, since there are "tannins" in the leather. I wouldn't call it a thorough bark tan though.

I just soaked it in a black walnut hull solution for a few weeks, and then a slightly stronger one for another week..
Then broke it soft with olive oil. It worked for what I had in mind. ;)
It's stretchy, and supple, but I'm not sure what the lifespan will be.


I have seen more proper instructions with better materials that didn't include bating a hide.

You can theoretically achieve a bark tan with just about any plant that contains tannins... Weaker solutions would just need to soak longer, and some care needs to be taken to prevent the pelt from rotting during the process.

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Re: Has anyone vegetable/bark tanned a hide?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby GBov » Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:26 pm


As I want to use the pig hide for shoe soles, from my reading after soaking until dark all the way through I just work in lard/tallow and dont break the hide at all.

True?

Its funny, the first ever hide I ever did was a mouse skin (for a hearth side rug in a dolls house) I soaked in strong tea for a day or two and worked supple with gardenia hand cream.

Its still in very good condition over 25 years later! :lol:

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Re: Has anyone vegetable/bark tanned a hide?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Zass » Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:34 pm


Sounds right to me. I dunno, I've never made pigskin soles. :?
I have heard that pig hide can be incredibly think and hard to break anyway.
:lol:

Soaking usually starts with a weaker solution and then the pelt is moved to stronger ones after a certain amount of tanning has been achieved.


If it is a particularly thick hide...Batting might be a good idea, just to ensure solid penetration... (eww)
You do have chicken, or quail poo that could be used, right?

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Re: Has anyone vegetable/bark tanned a hide?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby alforddm » Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:41 pm


Lol I was just looking at this this morning. I was wondering what our local custom butcher shop does with their hides....
And as mentioned before, buying shredded bark (sold as garden mulch) is an easy and cheap way to go.

Maybe try that if you don't have much bark?
http://www.braintan.com/barktan/1basics.htm

In the process of trying to find that page again, I came across this little snippet.

The lard and flour method is a method I have not seen described anywhere else before. For tanning a hide with lard, the hide was rubbed with a thick coat of lard and then the lard was coated with flour. The hide was rolled up until “the blood was drawn out”. The hide would be oiled and worked to keep it soft.

from here http://www.backcountrychronicles.com/how-to-tan-a-hide/

Has anyone ever heard of using lard and flour to tan a hide? I'm assuming this would be a hair off tan?

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Re: Has anyone vegetable/bark tanned a hide?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Zass » Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:47 pm


By the looks of it, lard and flour sounds like it was intended as way to achieve a hair-off rawhide, possibly one with some water resistant properties?

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Re: Has anyone vegetable/bark tanned a hide?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby alforddm » Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:55 pm


Zass wrote:By the looks of it, lard and flour sounds like it was intended as way to achieve a hair-off rawhide, possibly one with some water resistant properties?


*shrug* I don't have a clue. I was really surprised when I read it and it is so different from everything else I've ever read about. My father-in-law has a few of the foxfire books. I should run down there and see if has volume 3.

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Re: Has anyone vegetable/bark tanned a hide?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Zass » Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:28 pm


alforddm wrote:
Zass wrote:By the looks of it, lard and flour sounds like it was intended as way to achieve a hair-off rawhide, possibly one with some water resistant properties?


*shrug* I don't have a clue. I was really surprised when I read it and it is so different from everything else I've ever read about. My father-in-law has a few of the foxfire books. I should run down there and see if has volume 3.


There are so many types of hide preservation, often with specific (if unmentioned) uses for the finished products.
It's a lot to sort out "how exactly,""why," and "what-for" for each method devised and recorded, but it's always fascinating.

Please let us know if you find out any more info. :)

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Re: Has anyone vegetable/bark tanned a hide?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby alforddm » Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:45 pm


Please let us know if you find out any more info. :)


He only has volume one :( I ran down there and looked through his bookshelf. :oops: :roll:

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Re: Has anyone vegetable/bark tanned a hide?

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Zass » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:51 am


alforddm wrote:
Please let us know if you find out any more info. :)


He only has volume one :( I ran down there and looked through his bookshelf. :oops: :roll:


I found the book as a pdf online. The mention of lard and flour is in the hair-off leather section, and amounts to just this short account.

WITH LARD AND FLOUR
Mary Green remembers that one of the best methods was to rub the inside of the haired hide with lard and coat that with a thick layer of flour.
The hide would then be rolled up with the lard and flour to the inside and
set away until the blood was drawn out and it "looked like it was done."
Then it would be worked and oiled to keep it soft.


I'll go ahead and guess the hair fell out while the green hide was sitting rolled up and oiled? Seems like ashes would be cheaper...and less likely to attract rodents.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q= ... 4660,d.dmo


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Re: Has anyone vegetable/bark tanned a hide?

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Barnes19 » Fri Jan 29, 2016 1:52 am


Yes I have. It is another version of "mild, can you call it tanned" vegetable tan, but I've done sheep and rabbit skins and it is very satisfactory for indoor use, or car use, etc. I have one on a saddle that is doing well too. Lasts well, 5 years so far. However for you project I would definitely soak it in a more traditional way.

Your Sumac has useable leaves. Better than any other thing you have in fact. They are 21-32% tannin by dry weight, depending on what type you have. That is better than the bark, and significantly better than oak bark. To calculate the % of your finished solution, work it out by that, but allow an extra 50% because not all the tannin will leach out.

I use a "paste tannage", I think I'm the only one who does with a vege tan, I don't want colour or tan on the fur and could think of no good reason why not to try it.

For a pig skin you'll definitely want to submerge it though. It is so thick. I would suggest soaking it in a 1% tannin solution for the first couple of weeks, followed by a 2% for another couple, then a 3% until it is finished. If you start too strong with a thick skin the tannin seals the surface and it will hardly penetrate.

Add 50g salt to every litre of tanning liquid.

Check if it is done by making a small cut near the neck or other thick part, the colour should go right through.

If you mean Outer soles for shoes, then I would agree not to work (break) it. If you have a hard leather it might be nice to finish it with a oil and beeswax polish over that too. If you plan on carving grip patterns in the leather, I would use the polish after that. Apart from a nice appearance this will protect your leather. If they are to be outdoor shoes, make sure they are cleaned and dried properly when they get wet, and at regular intervals, or after serious wettings or muddings, re-oil and polish.
Hopefully treated this way they will last for a long time, even if your tan isn't up to ancient standards (which would try anyone's patience, I like to finish projects within 2 years)

Good luck with your hide!

My recipe for a rabbit skin is as follows:
500gm dry wattle bark, ground
1 3/4 litre hot (not boiling) water

Chop up the wattle bark, and then put it through an old food processor until a sort of coarse crumble.
Add hot water, and steep for at least 4 days. If it will be stored for longer, add a dash of chlorine bleach to the liquid to stop it fermenting.
This theoretically makes a 3% tannin solution.

The skin needs fleshing, all the membrane and tissue removing thoroughly. If not done properly, vegetable tan just won't penetrate.

Then I laid the skin out flat in a tray, flesh side up, and made a "tawing paste" out of some of my tannin liquor. add enough flour to make a thin batter, a little bleach, and a fistful of salt. The bleach is to stop it going 'yeasty' on the skin. It doesn't reduce the colour though, in fact it makes it darker!

After the first 2 days you can stop adding the salt, or it will attract too much moisture.

Spread enough of this on the skin to cover it, not too thin but don't pile it on either. Only apply to the skin side, and try to avoid getting too much on the fur at the edges. Avoid getting the fur wet under any circumstances. Wool, cow hair, etc is fine but if you want fluffy rabbit, don't get it wet as it sticks down and I for one can't fix it.

Cover the skin with a plastic bag sliced open to stop the paste drying out. Every day, remove the plastic, scrape off the old paste, and replace with fresh.
Rabbit skins 5-7 days, sheep 10-14. Very short for vege tan yes, but it worked!

Scrape off excess paste, and sponge the skin clean with a little water. Peg out on a board under moderate tension. Use clothes pegs on a mesh board ... this way if the skin shrinks a lot it will pull free rather than tearing holes in itself.

Once dry, lay it out in a warm sunny spot, and go over the fur with a comb and a bristle brush to bring it up and tidy it off. Fur likes being worked warm and goes glossy, thus the sun. If there is any paste left around the edges on the fur at this stage, it is dry and will come off nicely with a little brushing.

Working the skin is one of the most important steps. Skin is a lattice of fibers surrounded by glue: if allowed to dry naturally, it will set hard and stiff.
The trick is to flex and work it thoroughly at the right level of moisture to loosen that glue, so when it dries the fibers will move freely. Too wet, it will still set, too dry, you will break the fibers and your leather won't last. 25-30% moisture is about right.

Redamp the flesh side with the correct amount of water, fold flesh to flesh, and wrap in plastic. Leave for 8-12 hours.

Rabbit skins need about it came out to 15 -20ml water. Then I work every inch of the skin thoroughly, first just rolling it between my hands, then working it over chair backs, bottle necks, anything that will give the leather a really good flexing. This takes the time and effort. As you go, the skin will get more flexible, and you will get more stiff. Some native peoples chew them. I'm sure they have the best leather, but personally I don't like the taste (I had to try for science sake).

Many skins (rabbit skins do) need oiling as well. You know this because when you finish working and dry it it turns hard or papery again. (Your language may deteriorate rapidly at that point). When I have a skin that needs this, I use a 50/50 mix of vege oil and liquid soap, you can add some egg yolk to this as well for a smooth creamy mix (just oil will not do), and paint on a little at a time partway through the working process, working it in as I go.

Some skins may be very greasy already, and adding oil will make them very oily, so check first.

Now dry your skin out held flat again, then give it a quick roll between your hands to soften. Tidy up the edges, trim off any messy bits, brush up the fur side again.

The nature of the product in my experience is as follows:

It is medium brown right through the skin, but not the fur or wool. It is soft and flexible, not as soft and puffy as commercial leather, but satisfactory for most purposes. When damped, it resembles damp leather. (My previous failed experiments have returned to raw skin appearance when damped).

It does have initially a rather noticeable skinny, barky, salty smell, but leave it laying around to air for a few weeks that fades to virtually nothing.

The following user would like to thank Barnes19 for this post
SixGun, Zass

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Re: Has anyone vegetable/bark tanned a hide?

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Zass » Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:08 pm


Barnes 19, that was an awesome writeup. :) :thankyou:

I just feel the need to correct one teensy little thing, mostly for other people reading this.
If you feel the need to :tomato: at me, I understand.
I'm about to deserve it. :|
So here goes..
Your use of the word tawing is correct for alum. Alum tanned leather is actually correctly referred to as tawed leather.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/tawing

Since alum is what I see most often used in the paste method, I'm guessing the term was drawn from that process.

In this case, it would be more correct to call it a "tanning paste," since you are using actual tannin to tan the leather.
:explanation:

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Re: Has anyone vegetable/bark tanned a hide?

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Barnes19 » Sun Jan 31, 2016 3:58 pm


Lol I've been offline for a couple of days but:

No you don't deserve any :tomato: I'm glad for the correction!

Yes indeed the word "Tawing" came from the only paste recipes I've seen being called tawing paste ... but yes they were all alum or alum combination.

I haven't seen anyone else 'tanning' with a paste so assumed that a paste was called a tawing paste!

So Tanning Paste it is henceforth, and thankyou:-)

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Re: Has anyone vegetable/bark tanned a hide?

Post Number:#14  Unread postby GBov » Tue Feb 16, 2016 2:53 pm


Had to say its a Pot Belly sow hide that I am going to try tanning this way so, while it will be tough, it wont be like a boar or big pig. And I am going to try a repeat of an accident with a hide to see if it works again for fleshing. I did a pig once and threw the "bits" into the field for the vultures. Going past two days later all but the hide was gone and the hide, to my amazement, was TOTALLY fleshed off! Like, totally!!! It looked like someone had taken a very small razor blade and cut everything off beautifully.

So we will see if they will do it again. :lol:

I guess the hide was too tough to eat but all the fat and connective tissues were too tasty to pass up on.

__________ Tue Feb 16, 2016 2:53 pm __________

What difference does veg tanning a rabbit hide make to it as a usable item? Right now I brain them, work them soft and then smoke them. What would veg tanning add to them?

And secondly, the vultures did a GREAT job on fleshing the pig hide!

Only two small tears tward teh belly and a bit dirty with their foot prints but other than that, its totally fleshed. They did a MUCH better job than I would have done! :lol:

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Re: Has anyone vegetable/bark tanned a hide?

Post Number:#15  Unread postby SixGun » Sun Sep 04, 2016 3:30 pm


GBov wrote:
And secondly, the vultures did a GREAT job on fleshing the pig hide!

Only two small tears tward teh belly and a bit dirty with their foot prints but other than that, its totally fleshed. They did a MUCH better job than I would have done! :lol:



Amazing.

I wonder if you staked the rabbit hides out, to something heavy, so they couldn't be carried off, could this be duplicated for their pelts? I suspect the hide may prove too thin. :( But, I've heard ants can assist in a similar way, but don't ask me to cite my source, as I have no idea where I heard it.
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