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Thread: Home Tanning - Larger Furbearers

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    Default Home Tanning - Larger Furbearers

    I've found a few recipies for tanning small furbearers, but curious what everyone is using for home tanning on the larger furbearers? Especially those who are remote, and can't run down the street to buy necessary ingredients... Bushrat / Grandma Lori?

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    I acid tan the larger stuff, in a five gallon plastic bucket or if it won't fit in that then a large plastic tupperware container or drum. Can't be a metal container.

    Water, salt, and battery acid. Put in the volume of water you need, helps if it is warm at first, add salt until it is saturated with salt. Let it cool or put in more cold, then add regular old battery acid. The recipe varies depending on how much water, don't have my book handy, typically it was 3 -5 ozs of acid I think.

    Hides have to be wet before putting them in, and of course fleshed. Submerge hide skin side out completely. If you are gonna cut the hide anyway, I recommend just cutting it up the belly to chin. Put a board on top with a weight on it to keep the hide underwater. Some hides you can take out in 3 days, typically I leave them in a week, but once in there they are okay to leave in for a long time without hurting them.

    When you take them out you have to rinse in cold water quite a few times, and use baking soda to neutralize the acid. Then you hang and start working it as it dries, the hard elbow grease part <grin>.

    To make it easier, if you aren't really going to use the whole hide, you can cut the head off, the legs etc. Made a pair of moose mukluks once, wasn't any need to tan the whole hide, something like that. I normally don't have a use for the head and legs either for fur projects.

    If you have a dried stretched hide, what I normally do is soak a couple towels real good and put them inside the hide overnight to wet it so you can turn it and get it wet again.

    Another option is to buy a chrome tanning kit, that chromium sulfate is really great stuff.

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    Thanks, Bushrat! Do you only tan the hides you are planning to use for fur projects or also the ones for display? Or do you just stretch and dry those? Do you salt any of your hides? We would like to sell most of the fur we get (wouldn't everyone), but plan on keeping some also... and if we can't find buyers, we will be keeping all of it! Since we may end up keeping whatever we get, home tanning will be the only economic option, and I'm assuming it needs to be tanned for long term display.

    Love reading your posts, as we are living a very similar life... minus five dogs and the sled. Our two get harnessed to us on backcountry skis instead. Safe travels and Merry Christmas!

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    Yes, I only tan hides I'm going to make into hats/mitts/mukluks etc. A dried hide will last fine in my experience. We've got dried beaver and bear hides we use as couch throwovers, and to sit on, and moose hides (dried) we use for winter camping on floor of wall tent. I've got a dried moose hide here on the floor where my desk is to insulate the floor a bit more. Really unless you get it wet, a dried hide should last as long as you do <grin>.

    So I imagine if you just want a wall hanger, you could just stretch and dry it and hang on the wall that way. Just won't hang the same as when tanned, very stiff.

    I salt the feet on things like wolf and wolverine I sell raw to furbuyer, cuz those parts stay wet longer and can go bad. Raw fur buyers don't need hides salted down, just stretched and dried. Taxidermists often prefer you send the hide in wet, undried, less work for them that way to rewet them, and those need to be salted before shipping so they don't go bad. And if you're hunting and do a cape or bear hide, you have to salt that too so it doesn't go bad before you hit town.

    Good luck out on the line!



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    so do you need to add some sort of tanning oils after the acid bath? or is the acid bath all you need to do for a good tan?

    thanks.

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    akbonecollector,

    You need to neutralize the hide in water and baking soda after pulling it from the acid solution. After you work the hide soft it's always a good idea to oil it with some kind of leather oil, but it's not mandatory.

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    Great Info here, Thanks Mark

    Was doing a search after seeing some DIY Tanning products in the store, got the idea, of some home taxi work
    I have a Bear Hide, that is not really a trophy, a little thin on the fur, but interesting enough to do something with.
    I currently have it stretched dried, after being salted for quite a while, it's stiff but in pretty good shape, no hair slipping, etc.

    On the battery acid, is that recycled out of old batts or the stuff you can get down at the auto parts store ??

    and to work a Black Bear hide,....you'd recommend,...the battery acid method, or Chromium sulfate approach?
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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