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finishing hides

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Unread 08-27-2007, 09:55 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 226
finishing hides

I'm interested in tanning out a few of my own hides. I have had a few done by professionals in the past but I would like to do it my self. I'm interested in finishing birds, deer,rabbit and so on.
I was searching the internet and it seams that there is about 4 hundred million opinions out there. I really haven't any idea how to do it but I have several reason to do this. The main thing is I like the hides for what ever reason and in the last half a dozen years have been working on becoming an artist about my skinning so to speak. I also fly fish and I would like to use a small portion of it for fly tying it seams like alot of trouble but I have several friends that tie flies and I could give some to them.

Do we have a taxidermist on this forum or someone who knows one that could relay some good solid information to me? I am also interested in how to die these smaller pieces different colors and need to know how this is done as well?

Thank you very much in advance.
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Unread 08-28-2007, 02:09 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 226
come on fellas doesn't anybody know what to do?

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Unread 08-28-2007, 04:24 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,075
Rotor; I've only tanned 5 deer hides, but this is what I found out. Got the stuff from vandykestaxidermy.com (Lutan F). Complete with instructions.
1st--the skinning job makes all the difference. the less flesh left on it, the better. Fleshing is slow work. All my hides were hair-on.
2nd--get lots of non-iodized salt. (canning/pickling salt)
3rd--I used 2 of the large clear plastic storage tubs.
4th--you need to dispose of a lot of salt water. It really kills grass.
5th--you need a stretching/drying frame.
6th--takes about 10 days to 2 weeks to do it. The actual tanning stage is critical on timing. You have to plan on when you put the hide in the tan, so that you will be available to take it out when it is time.
7th--I never managed to get the soft texture like the tanneries do.
8th--don't let any part of the process get below freezing. The liquor won't freeze, but it screws up the hide.
9th--while you are doing it, you will wonder why you didn't send it off.
10th--when you finish, it will seem worth it, though. I kept 2 of them, gave 2 of them as gifts, and did one of them for my oldest grandson on his first deer.
Not looking forward to it, but will probably do a few more.

LOL, Tom
Texas State Rifle Association Life Member
NRA Endowment Life Member

A big fast bullet will beat a little fast bullet every time
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Unread 08-31-2007, 05:09 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 257
From memory and it was sometime ago, I think I read how to do it at varminthunting.com or some such website. Never done it myself, I think they were using brains for something, now I aint squimish but....... ugh I usually blow the brains out with a 6.5 140g LOL

Good luck let us know how you get on?

PS I'm told it stinks (the process)
Vegetarian is an old Indian word for lousy hunter!
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Unread 08-31-2007, 08:48 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 139

For buckskins look at Matt Richards book Deerskins to Buckskins.

I books on tanning with hair on and off.

In truth, I would say that references are the place to start, but you only really learn with experiance and hands on. I have make beautiful buckskin out of deer and it's labor intensive, but doable.

Do a google search for a man named Jim Riggs. He is a tanning dude and will set you on the path. He has a book called Blue Mountain Buckskins.

Also go and find some primitive and aboriginal survial forums. The info is out there.
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Unread 09-02-2007, 08:43 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 226
Thanks guys, appreciate your replys.
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Unread 04-11-2008, 04:33 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 85
Hi Rotorhead,

You've had two months to chew on the info now. (Unless you did it eskimo style and opted for chewing the skinns) Did you have any luck or did you throw the skin out to get rid of the stench?

I've got a nice ferret and Cape cobra skin that i've salted and dried, but i need to take it to the next level now.

Please let me know how you got on.

PS. i've got some info on skinning and salting, but that's where it says you must send it off to the pro's. If anybody is interested i can post it here or we can start a thread/ article to describe the whole process.

Happy hunting!
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