Tanning rabbit hides

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Does anyone have instructions for tanning rabbit hides? I really hate throwing any useable parts away. I have had different people say they would buy them if they were tanned and soft.

-- Dian Hoffman (rhoffman@nctc.com), December 27, 2000


"Tan Your Hide!" by Phyllis Hobson gives a lot of different instructions on tanning rabbit skins. I believe the Countryside Bookstore sells it, or you can take it out of your local library.

-- diane (gardiacaprines@yahoo.com), December 27, 2000.

This recipe was posted on my hair sheep List when someone wanted to know what to do with all the eggs their chickens were laying:

This recipe is from Beginning Shepherd's Manual. Tanning mixture for 220 pounds of wet pelts.     5.5 pounds of alum    

2 pounds of salt    

11 pounds of flour    

4 ounces of olive oil    

50 egg yolks    

First, carefully scrape the pelt free of any remnants of meat or fat. Next, wash and rinse it in detergent and water. Use a washing machine if you wish.

Make a paste of the flour and water; set aside. Mix the egg yolks with a little water and add the olive oil. Blend this mixture into the flour and water paste. Mix salt and alum, and add this mixture into the flour and water paste.

Spread the paste liberally over the pelt; fold it over, skin sides together, and let it dry for 4-5 days.

Wash off the hardened paste with warm water and let the skin absorb the water. As it dries again, pull it and work it to make it soft. This is the difficult part of the process, but the results are well worth the effort.

This recipe avoids caustic chemicals so it is very safe to use. You would adjust the recipe to the weight of the hides.

-- ~Rogo (rogo2020@yahoo.com), December 28, 2000.

Your local library might also be able to obtain a copy of Home Tanning & Leathercraft Simplified by Kathy Kellogg.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), December 28, 2000.

The easiest way (in my opinon) is with the alum method.... about 700 gms. alum, 200 gms salt dissolved in very hot water then add 10 liters of water This should be in a container that you can lie the pelt don flat. Put a brick or two on the skin to keep it submerged. Mix it up every day for about a week or 10 days. Take it out of the solution and let it drip until it is damp - now comes the longer part which is every day you have to scrape, stretch, rub the skin. After every session put it in a plastic bag so it doesn't dry out. It will take about 2 weeks for it to dry completely. You have to be careful that it doesn't dry too quickly or it will get hard and crunchy.

-- kelly (kellytree@hotmail.com), December 28, 2000.

Good for you Dian. Commercially tanned medium rabbit skins sell for about $40 per dozen. Depending on the number of skins you have, it is easy to make a profit on this.

-- JLS in NW AZ (stalkingbull007@AOL.com), December 29, 2000.

Here is a webpage that I found but have not tried it yet. http://members.aol.com/Ambrejem/Tanning.html

My homepage if you are interested is. http://home.mpinet.net/ourfarm/

-- Mike and Tammy (ourfarm@mpinet.net), January 08, 2001.

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