Playing with the pelts

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Therese

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We like a method from Mother Earth News which was originally published in 1983: How to Tan a Rabbit Hide – Mother Earth News
It gives two recipes: one uses battery acid + salt, the other using alum + salt. We've used the battery acid one simply because we had that on hand. It works great, gives soft leather with nice fur if you pay attention to the stirring and get the timing of the breaking figured out. I'd like to try the alum recipe since it supposedly results in a whiter leather, but ours are pretty light already, and we use the skins for hats and mittens etc. so the leather doesn't show anyway.
Hats, mittens, etc. Vests?
Do you have patterns???? I have been wanting to make something!
God bless you!
 
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Hats, mittens, etc. Vests?
Do you have patterns???? I have been wanting to make something!
God bless you!
My husband is the whiz with the sewing machine (I like dealing with living things, don't really have patience for machines myself) and he has made his own outdoor gear since he was a kid. He made me a gorgeous black satin fur + black leather (from an old leather jacket found at a thrift shop) trapper hat. He may have had a pattern, but more likely he just disassembled an old hat and made a pattern from it.

Here's a freebie online pattern that looks basically like what he made, except not the fake fur or disco fabric, haha:

He's also made mittens, but again, I kind of doubt he started with a pattern. Sorry... but you'll probably find all kinds of good options online.

Have fun with those furs, and God bless you too!
 
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Therese

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My husband is the whiz with the sewing machine (I like dealing with living things, don't really have patience for machines myself) and he has made his own outdoor gear since he was a kid. He made me a gorgeous black satin fur + black leather (from an old leather jacket found at a thrift shop) trapper hat. He may have had a pattern, but more likely he just disassembled an old hat and made a pattern from it.

Here's a freebie online pattern that looks basically like what he made, except not the fake fur or disco fabric, haha:

He's also made mittens, but again, I kind of doubt he started with a pattern. Sorry... but you'll probably find all kinds of good options online.

Have fun with those furs, and God bless you too!
Thank you so much! What a blessing to have a husband who can design and sew furs into clothing!
God bless you!
 
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Awesome topic and input everybody! I'm currently tanning my first batch of hides. After butchering, I picked the large bits of fat off the hide, laid the hides fur side down and covered in a thick layer of salt. After drying like that for about a week I then rubbed off the salt, peeled off any bits of fat or meat, and now plan to do a soap tan on my pelts and then smoke them. Has anyone tried soap tanning? If anyone is interested I'll try to post some pics once I'm all done. In reference to air drying, I certainly hope it doesn't hurt the hides because I have my first four hides (thoroughly dried with salt) stacked and waiting on the other hides to be at the same point so I can apply the soap solution to all of them at once. I will see how it goes lol.
I'm interested to hear how this went and all of the steps to your process. I'm harvesting today and planning on either freezing the hides or placing them in salt, with the intention to follow a process similar to what you described, since I have plenty of homemade soap.
 

KelleyBee

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I’ve continued drying my pelts on stretchers like shown in the photo at the beginning of this thread. BTW, after reading over all of these posts, I have realized I had never mentioned that I have used absolutely no salt or anything to dry my pelts….they are still 100 natural and just dry. After drying I remove them from the stretchers and place in freezer for longer term storage. But, I’m to the point that the freezer is full. I have got to make some serious decisions about these pelts. I definitely would love trying to tan them. I have mainly one huge concer that prevents me from taking this step, and it’s my hands, specifically my thumbs. I have osteo arthritis in them (I suppose I have overused them over the years) and I am worried about making matters worse because it seems tanning hides requires a lot of hand gripping and pulling. Am I correct? Is there an alternative way to get soft hides without so much hand work? Is there a method or tool that could be used to help people with such a disability to still be able to tan hides? Thank you for your insight! 🙂
 

kusanar314

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I’ve continued drying my pelts on stretchers like shown in the photo at the beginning of this thread. BTW, after reading over all of these posts, I have realized I had never mentioned that I have used absolutely no salt or anything to dry my pelts….they are still 100 natural and just dry. After drying I remove them from the stretchers and place in freezer for longer term storage. But, I’m to the point that the freezer is full. I have got to make some serious decisions about these pelts. I definitely would love trying to tan them. I have mainly one huge concer that prevents me from taking this step, and it’s my hands, specifically my thumbs. I have osteo arthritis in them (I suppose I have overused them over the years) and I am worried about making matters worse because it seems tanning hides requires a lot of hand gripping and pulling. Am I correct? Is there an alternative way to get soft hides without so much hand work? Is there a method or tool that could be used to help people with such a disability to still be able to tan hides? Thank you for your insight! 🙂
I have seen someone on here (can't remember who now) who dries the hides like you do, tans with strong tea sponged on to the flesh side, then puts them in a clothes dryer on air fluff (no heat) with a few big chunks of wood (like 4x4x4 blocks) to tumble them. Each time the dryer stops, take all hides out, shake them out, find any stiff places, add more tea there, then they all go back in for another round. Seems like eventually they get soft hides with little manual work. Now, I might get a cheap used dryer and put it outside for this so I don't have to listen to wood clanging around in the house all day.. but it seems like a decent method as long as you can kill the heat in your dryer. It does still require fleshing the hides, but that happens when you are drying them, so if you can handle that part, breaking them in the dryer seems easy enough.
 

Scooter1A

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I’ve continued drying my pelts on stretchers like shown in the photo at the beginning of this thread. BTW, after reading over all of these posts, I have realized I had never mentioned that I have used absolutely no salt or anything to dry my pelts….they are still 100 natural and just dry. After drying I remove them from the stretchers and place in freezer for longer term storage. But, I’m to the point that the freezer is full. I have got to make some serious decisions about these pelts. I definitely would love trying to tan them. I have mainly one huge concer that prevents me from taking this step, and it’s my hands, specifically my thumbs. I have osteo arthritis in them (I suppose I have overused them over the years) and I am worried about making matters worse because it seems tanning hides requires a lot of hand gripping and pulling. Am I correct? Is there an alternative way to get soft hides without so much hand work? Is there a method or tool that could be used to help people with such a disability to still be able to tan hides? Thank you for your insight! 🙂
That hand pain is a bummer. Try some lavender in your hand lotion to relax it...worth a shot. I was told to rub vaseline on the pelts once I have them scraped down.
 

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