How to Tan a Hide

Here is a method of tanning leather that is low cost and low labor compared to other methods of tanning.

| October/November 2001

  • Tanning Hide
    Remove all flesh and fat from the hide before salting it.
    Photo courtesy ISTOCKPHOTO/VICTOR MAFFE

  • Tanning Hide

After hunting or processing livestock for the table, it's a shame to have to toss out a nice pelt. Here is a method of tanning hides that is low cost and low labor compared to other methods of “custom tanning.” I've personally used this system to tan sheepskins, deerskins, groundhog pelts, rabbit hides and goat skins. The procedure can be used for all kinds of mammal pelts when you want the fur to remain on the skin. It results in a soft, workable hide, which can be used as is or cut up for sewing projects.

Salting Fresh Skins

Fresh hides right off the animal should be cooled immediately. Trim off any flesh and scrape visible fat from the hide. Place the skin in the shade, laying it completely flat with the fur side down, preferably on a cold concrete or rock surface. When the skin feels cool to the touch, immediately cover the fleshy side completely with plain, uniodized salt.

Use three to five pounds for a sheep or deer skin. Don't skimp.

If skins aren't salted within a few hours of removal of the flesh, you might as well forget it. They will have begun to decompose and will probably lose their hair during processing.



Transport the skin flat. We've had problems with predators gnawing the edges of skins, so put the hide somewhere out of reach. You don't need to stretch the skin; just make sure it is perfectly flat, with no curled edges. If you've lost a lot of salt while moving the pelt, add more. The salt will draw moisture from the skin and liquid may pool in low spots. Just add more salt. Let the skin dry until it is crispy. This may take a few days to a couple of weeks. When completely dry, the skin is very stable and won't change or deteriorate appreciably.

Tanning Recipe

When you're ready to tan the skins, assemble the following:

JohnNovingerJr
12/18/2017 6:06:04 PM

I just shot a coon tod with my 357 throat shot close range lol but I wanna tan the hide to keep the fur to hang on my wall. What's the best way to do it n I wanna keep the tail attached. I have never dun this so any advice would be great.


austin
10/29/2017 3:02:27 AM

batery acid, no thanks. I want to do my tanning the natural way...like the did back in the day!


dishwasher07
10/29/2017 3:02:18 AM

battery acid? no thanks






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