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Thread: Tanning Question - Hare Hides

  1. #1
    Member Gr is for Greg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default Tanning Question - Hare Hides

    I am starting to do my own hobby tanning. I have done a couple hides, and I've been happy with how they have come out. For instance, I did a squirrel that turned out soft and fluffy and really nice. I use a salt and alum tanning solution, with amonium aluminum sulfate as the active ingredient.

    I recently got two snowshoe hares, and I currently have the pelts tanning. They should turn out nice if I do it right, but I ripped them up a little bit while I was fleshing them out. In the instructions I used (downloaded from the good old interwebs), I understand that a thin layer of skin / flesh must be removed from the flesh side of the pelt in order for the tanning to come out right. On the squirrel pelt, for instance, I was able to scrape, scratch, and peel this layer off without damaging the outer skin or hide. I ended up ripping the rabbit hide, though, and I am curious if there is some trick that I am missing here.

    For the upper portion of the back of the hide, I was able to flesh it without much problem, but getting lower on the back, I found I was basically unable to remove this thin layer of flesh without ripping right through the pelt. So now I have two rabbit skins that are more or less all shredded going into the mid portion of the lower back. I will try and stitch the holes with floss, but still, it seems like a shame to have ripped it in the first place.

    I tried to be very gentle in peeling off the layer of skin, but I still ripped through. Anybody have any words of wisdom for me? Is a rabbit hide thin enough that maybe you can leave this skin layer on? Is there some treatment I can perform to the pelt, like soaking it overnight, that will allow me to remove this layer more easily without compromising the quality of the fur? I soaked it for a couple hours, but I read that soaking in water more than necessary can cause the hair to slip.

    Let me know what you think. Thanks in advance. Happy New Year!

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  2. #2
    Member bushrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Now residing in Fairbanks from the bush


    Rabbit is thin enough you can leave some of that layer on then work it off after you remove from whatever tanning solution you are using. With rabbit you can just use a paste of that alum tan on the hide side overnight, then scrape off the next day and it should work soft and tan up okay. We've done a lot of hare hides over the years and don't know of any way not to rip some of them; like you said they are just real thin.

  3. #3
    Member Vince's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Fairbanks most the time, Ancorage some of the time,& on the road Kicking Anti's all the time


    out on the home stead i use Palmolive dish soap to soften the hides up... i use the hair hide as mukluk insoles. once stretched and dried.. i rubbed in the dish soap. and worked them over a log, they took to it quite well. and stayed soft till i wore them out...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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