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tanning a deer skin

 
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frewen



Joined: 08 Sep 2005
Posts: 11297

PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 15 8:34 pm    Post subject: tanning a deer skin  Reply with quote    

Well I finally got round to defrosting and scraping a deer skin the butcher gave me.
It is sitting in some pickle now - but I don't think I've got anywhere near enough membrane off. I'm afraid that I did get totally fed up of being bluebottle central while scraping it, and the wasps too! I never realised that wasps would be interested!

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 15 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Yes, funny old things, wasps. We had one with a rifle hole in the side of the carcass and the wasps were very interested particularly about the hole itself.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 33082
Location: yes
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 15 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

im not sure what you mean by pickle

scraping is best done between when it is not too wet and not too dry and crunchy,it takes time and effort,for a deer skin a curved blade(or well knapped flint scraper)on a flat surface seems to work well,a pair of long nose corrugated grip pliers is ace for pulling bits off as well.

i have a fair bit of experience of using natural materials(tea ,oak bark, wasp galls ,brains etc) so "pickle"is a bit of a mystery to me .

wasps are a prob judging by how interested they were in my ongoing squirrel but they lose interest if the skin is rubbed in wood ash(which also makes it a bit alkaline to get the tannins into the matrix(then fix em by using a wash that is a bit acidic such as vinegar.

if by pickle you mean alum or a commercial mix(rather than salting ) the chemistry is different so the instructions on the packet apply

when it is done nail it to a flat thing or hook it to a frame for the final dry to get it stretched .when dry it will need dressing (saddle soap is one option) and working by twisting and stretching by hand to make it flexible and long lasting

the above probably has too much and too little info ,so ask specific things and i will try to help

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 33082
Location: yes
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 15 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

ps doing a skin beside a fire does seem to reduce the insect interest

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 9000

PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 15 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Wasps feed their young on insects or other meat and they might also have been interested in the salts produced by the remains. Other unlikely insects have odd tastes too; purple emperor butterflies are attracted by dead animals and human sweat, and even honey bees like urine. It was remarked in the 16th century and was thought to be a 'physic' for them at that time. Modern bees are still interested.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 33082
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 15 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

i have noticed 5 out of 9 wild bee species that visit my tiny yard are rather keen on dog wee,i suspect it is a good source of potassium and phosphorus salts for them.

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 4782
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 15 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

honeybees LOVE to get their water from swimming pools.

I think it's all about salt rich sources

NorthernMonkeyGirl



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 4293
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 15 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

dpack wrote:
im not sure what you mean by pickle

scraping is best done between when it is not too wet and not too dry and crunchy,it takes time and effort,for a deer skin a curved blade(or well knapped flint scraper)on a flat surface seems to work well,a pair of long nose corrugated grip pliers is ace for pulling bits off as well.

i have a fair bit of experience of using natural materials(tea ,oak bark, wasp galls ,brains etc) so "pickle"is a bit of a mystery to me .

wasps are a prob judging by how interested they were in my ongoing squirrel but they lose interest if the skin is rubbed in wood ash(which also makes it a bit alkaline to get the tannins into the matrix(then fix em by using a wash that is a bit acidic such as vinegar.

if by pickle you mean alum or a commercial mix(rather than salting ) the chemistry is different so the instructions on the packet apply

when it is done nail it to a flat thing or hook it to a frame for the final dry to get it stretched .when dry it will need dressing (saddle soap is one option) and working by twisting and stretching by hand to make it flexible and long lasting

the above probably has too much and too little info ,so ask specific things and i will try to help


If you see this, can I hijack for a moment?
I used this to do some rabbit skins. They are now dry but the aroma still fills the flat (general rabbit / meat smell; not a chemical smell and not a rotten smell). The fur is also falling off If they are duds then that's fine, I can throw them away as failures. If it's normal, what do I do now? Should I wash them again? I only used a tiny bit of shower gel.
I did put my thumb through a few of the smaller skins when de-fleshing after the first bath

frewen



Joined: 08 Sep 2005
Posts: 11297

PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 15 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'm using alum and salt dpack

Just to add interest, Twinkle's new friend came round to tea and decided to investigate ...

The child was fine about the explanation of what was going on. I'm not convinced that the mother will be equally as understanding!

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 33082
Location: yes
PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 15 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

i really dont know about the alum methods

my current process for fur on( one bunny)

skin
first scrape
salt with the same thickness of salt as the skin is thick for 48 hrs
shake,scrape, cover in wood ash ,week
shake ,scrape any last bits
smash and boil 30 oak wasp galls(or 200gms oak bark or 100 gm nasty dark tea)in 500ml water with a teaspoon of wood ash,cool ,do not sieve so as the bits continue to leach tannins
steep pelt until liquor goes pale 2 to 4 weeks
steep quarter strength vinegar 24 hrs
wash no soap in dripping water,stream or whatever until no vinegar smell
stretch and dry until damp
work in fingers to stretch
dry until only a little damp

saddle soap or boot polish on skin side for pouches etc etc

or

start with a lime steep (wood ash takes longer)until the fur falls out when pulled/scraped)
then as above until the last stretch/drying stage which is done by nailing to a board
dry
use as vellum (surface prep of vellum is a whole new thread im not qualified to write yet) or leather if treated with saddle soap/boot polish

brain cures work but they smell horrible for ever if they get damp and some of the "traditional"methods using "best"etc etc are even worse:lol:

a few industrial methods produce a very strong leather ,the chrome alum /sulfuric acid fix process is nasty to do but does make good leathers.

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14834
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 15 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

frewen wrote:
I'm using alum and salt dpack

Just to add interest, Twinkle's new friend came round to tea and decided to investigate ...

The child was fine about the explanation of what was going on. I'm not convinced that the mother will be equally as understanding!


I suspect we will get rather a lot of this. Although they did learn in reception where meat came from. J knew, of course but I was impressed that it was taught.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 33082
Location: yes
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 15 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

some of the looks i have had while doing neolithic cooking of shellfish have been priceless ,for some reason many folk think limpets or even hand caught lobsters are just plain crazy as lunch

at the mo i have a rather nice squizzer pelt in a (cut in half to make a pot and lid) plastic bottle of oak galls steeping on the window sill.

autumn/winter is the best time for pelts ,leather is ok all year round

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