In another thread (butchering pictorial) member Wykee5 asked me the following:
First off, Rawhide and buckskin are two very different things. Rawhide is stiff and buckskin is soft and supple and suitable for wearing. As to prepping the hide, both are the same process until you get to the point where you stop and leave it as rawhide. Lets start there.
You need to flesh the hide. You have to remove all the meat. I lace a hide to a frame and use scraping tools to remove the meat from salted hides. Here are some pics I took.
The fresh skinned hide
Salting the hide on a sheet of plywood (set it at an incline so the liquids can run off.) Salt it twice. Once the first layer gets saturated, remove the wet salt and salt it again. This takes 2 days but will help in fleshing because fleshing a slimy hide is no fun.
Then the drier and slightly stiff hide can be laced to a frame.
You can leave it out in the sun next to your Tipi but take it inside before this storm hits. At least I closed up the smoke flaps on my Tipi .
Any manner of scraping tools can be used (along with a knife) to remove all visible meat and fat. A large stainless steel serving spoon with one edge sharpened on a grinder works great. You can find these in the kitchen when your wife is away from home. Once all the meat and fat is removed you will want to remove the hair.
You can do this with homemade lye. Make lye water by leaching rainwater through hardwood ashes. You can see how it done on youtube by typing in “making lye” See this link.
After seeing that you may want to purchase lye. LOL
Lye helps to get the hair to slip. You want to remove not just the hair but the root as well. You don’t want to shave the hide or it will have razor stubble and feel p rickly and rough.
It will take a few days for the hair to slip. Once the hair slips easily you need to get the hair and dermis layer off the hide. I use a large diameter piece of PVC pipe and a saw horse.
When the hair is gone it looks like this.
A video is worth a thousand words. This is not my video. I stole it from youtube but it will help you.
Now that you have one hide done, you will need to do 4 or 5 more hides since you want to make an entire suit/outfit.
If you stop here and stretch this hide out on a frame and let it dry, you have rawhide. You can use it for making snowshoe lacing or drum heads or lacing to tie things together like knife blades to handles, etc. Here are a few ways I use the rawhide.
The drum head in this picture is made from my rawhide method described above.
If you want to take this de-haired hide further and into a soft garment leather suitable for wearing, that is a whole other process and lots of work. When I get some time I will come back to that.