Tanning rabbit hides (Tanning)

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I read somewhere in a back article about a person who tanned their rabbit hides by soaking them in a bucket of what I think was sulfuric (battery) acid, rinsed them out, and ran them through the washer. I'll be buthering off and on and this would make things simpler as I'd rather not compost the hides but use them. Does anyone remember this letter? Thank you for such a wonderful magazine. Luke Tyler

-- Luke Tyler (jlt98584@yahoo.com), December 11, 2001


Response to Tanning rabbit hides

The following recipe uses battery acid. Its from J.D.Belangers book " The Homesteaders Handbook to Raising Small Livestock". Here's the recipe. 2 oz. sulfuric acid Or 8oz. battery acid, 2lbs salt, 2 gals water, 3-5 galplastic bucket or non-metal container,a weight to hold the skins in the solution( scrubbed brick etc ). Add salt to the water. Tip the container and let the acid dribble down the side into the bucket. Stir with a wooden stick. Keep solution at about 70 degrees. Rinse the skins in cold water to remove any blood, then wash in warm water and detergent and squeeze out the excess water. ( don't wring the skins just squeeze). Put the hide into the tanning solution swish it around with a wooden stick and weight it down to keep it from floating. A small hide in full-strength solution at 70 degrees will be finished in about 3 days. More skins take longer, as do bigger skins than rabbit.It says the pelts can stay in the solution for up to a year ( I never did this so can't say). Take out skin wash in detergent and rinse in cool water. The fat and flesh should separate from the hide quite easily. After fleshing wash and rinse again and return to the tanning vat for another week or longer. Then run it through a final wash-rinse-squeeze process. Hang it in a shady place to drip dry, not in the sun. While its still damp and limp put it in the clothes dryer on tumble ( NO heat ). The final step is to "break" the hide. Break it gently, pulling and stretching small areas in different directions. The stiff, brown hide will turn white and soft. Thats it!. I have used this method on and off for 20+ years with rabbits. You can then sew some really nice things with them.Its a very forgiving recipe and works well.

-- Judy Schumacher (TootlesTheBrit@aol.com), December 11, 2001.

Here is a link I found before.I have not tried this yet. Rabbit tanning Ourfarm

-- ourfarm (Ourfarm@noaddr.com), December 11, 2001.

Does this work for squirrels?

-- Martin Boraas (boraas@miliserv.net), December 11, 2001.

a question i have is does it matter the age of the rabbit? i thought i read somewhere that the older animals skin would hold up better. what age is best? is there a breed that is better than others for this purpose?

-- fred in wi (sixuvusmeyers@aol.com), December 12, 2001.

The above recipe worked well with all different ages of rabbits. As for squirrels, I haven't done any but the recipe was a general tanning one, not just for rabbits. I would think it would be fine. You could try it anyway and maybe experiment a little.

-- Judy Schumacher (TootlesTheBrit@aol.com), December 12, 2001.

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