tanning hides

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I would like to try tanning some deer hides. The only information I have to go by is from the Nov/Dec '99 issue of "Countryside Mag". Any tips on the best and easiest way to tan would be greatly appreciated.

-- Marlene Leiby (mleiby@caprock-spur.com), November 13, 2000


Go to www.braintan.com. This site has vast information on making the best buckskin, as well as some information on other methods of tanning. You can wander around in there for hours (I did). Have fun!

-- Laura Jensen (lrjensen@nwlink.com), November 13, 2000.

I am pretty sure the Countryside Bookstore has a book on tanning.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), November 14, 2000.

Popular question the past couple of weeks. Try the State Univ of New Mexico site.

Tanning Deer Hides and Small Fur Skins http://www.cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/_l/l-103.html

-- JLS (stalkingbull007@AOL.com), November 14, 2000.

Seems as if I heard something about BSE or vCJD regarding deer or elk recently. Ken, you seem to be up to date on this topic, is tanning w/ brain matter ok? John

-- John in S IN (jsmengel@hotmail.com), November 14, 2000.

Thank you everyone for the information. Laura you were right about Braintan.com-lots of info. I'll let you know how project turns out. Don't think I'll use brains though - Sounds awful messy.

-- Marlene Leiby (mleiby@caprock-spur.com), November 14, 2000.


I flat don't know about transmitting the human equalivant of BSE from deer or elk or whatever to humans if you use their brains in the tanning process. At this point I don't think I would do so. I do know a funeral home which embalms a corpse who died of the human form of BSE has to destroy all of the embalming instruments. Seems a bit severe in that they only deal with people already dead but...

France has now kicked up the BSE/human scare to the point they are banning any animal feed with any animal byproducts. Something like 800,000+ tons of feed will have to be incinerated. Replacement will be soybeans, which should help the American farmer. New rules proposed forbid the selling to T-bone steaks. In England, for a while, any beef with the bone in it was forbidden for sale, and a black market sprang up as a result. Expect the same thing to happen in France.

Scary thing about BSE is they really don't know how it is transmitted. Fed with animal byproducts seems to have been a leading cause, but animals in herds which have not received any feeds with animal byproducts are now coming up with it. To paraphrase someone in an earlier post on BSE: It is like a Grade B movie. No one knows where it comes from, how it is transmitted, and there is no cure for it.

Avoid any animal brains!!!

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), November 15, 2000.

Regarding BSE; I would worry if I were the undertaker that worked on the guy w/ CJD or Bse. Heck , I really wouldn't want to be a pathologist working on this stuff. Seems that No type of sterilization works on it.

Inspires a whole lot of confidence for me as a health care worker. I've already gotten HepC from someone over the years. Good news is I quit drinking 5 years before I even knew I had it. Be nice to the ol' liver, I always say!

There is an upside here for me. In the ER a large majority of the people I see don't have a lot of brains! John

-- John in S. IN (jsmengel@hotmail.com), November 15, 2000.

I did tan a deer hide using instructions from TAN YOUR HIDE! written by Phyllis Hobson. It is a Garden Way Publication, but can be purchased from Storey Communications. They have a web site.

This book give easy step-by-step instruction. I used a pocket knife, a spatula, and a few other kitchen utensils instead of purchasing tools the book listed. I found finding the chemicals to be difficult. Your local pharmacists is the first place you should try. I tanned my hide using a clean type of battery acid my husband purchased from work (NAPA).

Do you have much arm strength? You will when your hide is done. It took me a year to get over the smell of the hide in its various stages of tanning. It wasn't bad, I just seemed to get immersed in it! This instant sick feeling in my stomach whenever I was around hides did not help my husband. He went into the slaughtering business! I am over now, thank goodness!

Good Luck! If you need help, give me an e-mail. Just remember I am a novice.

-- Christina (crublee@homer.libby.org), November 19, 2000.

The answer to your question is simple: Go to www.taxidermy.com the company is Wasco and they sell all sorts of kits (including the chemicals) for tanning hides of all sizes.

-- Jeff Wages (wagesjc@hotmail.com), December 22, 2000.

I don't know if anyone suggested this yet or not, but check a recent Mother Earth News magzine, I believe it is this month's issue. There is an entire article on this and it sounds easy.

-- Glenn (gj_usa1@yahoo.com), October 13, 2001.

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