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 Post subject: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 06 Mar 2013, 21:37 
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Will a beaver brain be enough to tan a coon? And what's the process?

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 18:01 
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While I've never braintanned with an actual brain, I've done it with eggs and soap/oil combo. The first few steps will be nothing new, skin the critter and then flesh it. The better you flesh it, the better it will turn out. After that, you will want to stretch it out some to dry. If you case skinned it, put it on a regular stretcher for a little. If you skinned it down the belly, tack it down on a board. You want the skin to partially dry while its stretched out.

While its still somewhat damp and soft (if it gets too dry, just wet it with some water) apply your "solution." If using brains, mix it with some water untill it looks sort of milky I think. Depending on the size of the brain, there should be enough. Theres a saying that goes "each animal has enough brain to tan its own hide." Or you can use eggs (either just the yolk or the whole egg, just mix it together well) or soap and oil (regular ivory soap and some type of oil. I've used Pure Neatsfoot Oil for my tanning. Its a leather oil you can get at like horse supply stores or some feed stores.) The "recipe" Ive followed is - 1 bar of ivory soap, 2 cups hot water, 1/3 cup of oil. You will want to either run the bar of soap along a cheese grater to get it into fine peices, and then mix everything in a blender. Make sure you put the soap and oil in first, then add enough water. Dont add too much water though, otherwise when you blend, it will seap out the lid of the blender and make a mess (trust me on this :shock: ) However, if you want to use only brains (and some tanners say brains is better than any substitute) you can use available pig or cow brains.

After you applied the solution to the flesh side only (just rub it on with your hands) put it in a plastic bag in the fridge for a while (overnight or so) so the oils can really penetrate the hide fibers. When you take it out, begin stretching it. Since its a coon, it can be done by hand. I've done my few coons just by hand and theyve turned out good enough for me. Or, you can run the hide over a cable. Stretch a cable out taught, and just run the hide back and forth and side to side and all over along the cable. This helps a lot in breaking the fibers. With your hands, pull and stretch the hide all over. This is usually the longest process, but its very important to do this right. This is where you make the hide soft and pliable. You want to stretch the hide untill its dry. If you put it up to your face and it feels cool or damp, its not done. When you touch it your face and it feels like dry leather, then its done. After softening, you need to smoke it. Get a fire going and let it die down to coals. Put material on it that will generate lots of smoke (rotten wood, green pine needles, whatever you have available to you) The smoking will help keep the hide soft in the event it gets wet. If the hide gets wet, just pull on it till its dry. Smoking time will vary depending on the amount of smoke and your desired outcome. Most of my hides and just in my house and arent made into anything that gets any use (yet) so I dont smoke them long, just like 30 minutes or so. You will want to air the hide out for about a week afterwards, otherwise your house will smell like smoke.

This is just a basic outline to get the job done. Theres a lot of info available on the internet, like this forum-- http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/forums ... mp-Tanning I encourage you to do your homework before you start. If you get halfway into the project but need to take an extended break, put the hide into the freezer. Any other questions just ask. And the most important thing to remember with furs, is keep the hair DRY. Otherwise it will slip and pull it out. Have fun! Post pics!!

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 19:37 
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Loxahatchee wrote:
While I've never braintanned with an actual brain, I've done it with eggs and soap/oil combo. The first few steps will be nothing new, skin the critter and then flesh it. The better you flesh it, the better it will turn out. After that, you will want to stretch it out some to dry. If you case skinned it, put it on a regular stretcher for a little. If you skinned it down the belly, tack it down on a board. You want the skin to partially dry while its stretched out.

While its still somewhat damp and soft (if it gets too dry, just wet it with some water) apply your "solution." If using brains, mix it with some water untill it looks sort of milky I think. Depending on the size of the brain, there should be enough. Theres a saying that goes "each animal has enough brain to tan its own hide." Or you can use eggs (either just the yolk or the whole egg, just mix it together well) or soap and oil (regular ivory soap and some type of oil. I've used Pure Neatsfoot Oil for my tanning. Its a leather oil you can get at like horse supply stores or some feed stores.) The "recipe" Ive followed is - 1 bar of ivory soap, 2 cups hot water, 1/3 cup of oil. You will want to either run the bar of soap along a cheese grater to get it into fine peices, and then mix everything in a blender. Make sure you put the soap and oil in first, then add enough water. Dont add too much water though, otherwise when you blend, it will seap out the lid of the blender and make a mess (trust me on this :shock: ) However, if you want to use only brains (and some tanners say brains is better than any substitute) you can use available pig or cow brains.

After you applied the solution to the flesh side only (just rub it on with your hands) put it in a plastic bag in the fridge for a while (overnight or so) so the oils can really penetrate the hide fibers. When you take it out, begin stretching it. Since its a coon, it can be done by hand. I've done my few coons just by hand and theyve turned out good enough for me. Or, you can run the hide over a cable. Stretch a cable out taught, and just run the hide back and forth and side to side and all over along the cable. This helps a lot in breaking the fibers. With your hands, pull and stretch the hide all over. This is usually the longest process, but its very important to do this right. This is where you make the hide soft and pliable. You want to stretch the hide untill its dry. If you put it up to your face and it feels cool or damp, its not done. When you touch it your face and it feels like dry leather, then its done. After softening, you need to smoke it. Get a fire going and let it die down to coals. Put material on it that will generate lots of smoke (rotten wood, green pine needles, whatever you have available to you) The smoking will help keep the hide soft in the event it gets wet. If the hide gets wet, just pull on it till its dry. Smoking time will vary depending on the amount of smoke and your desired outcome. Most of my hides and just in my house and arent made into anything that gets any use (yet) so I dont smoke them long, just like 30 minutes or so. You will want to air the hide out for about a week afterwards, otherwise your house will smell like smoke.

This is just a basic outline to get the job done. Theres a lot of info available on the internet, like this forum-- http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/forums ... mp-Tanning I encourage you to do your homework before you start. If you get halfway into the project but need to take an extended break, put the hide into the freezer. Any other questions just ask. And the most important thing to remember with furs, is keep the hair DRY. Otherwise it will slip and pull it out. Have fun! Post pics!!



Thanks very much Lox for the Info. Will start it in about a week or so when time is a little more available. If any problems occur will let you know. Thanks buddy for taking the time! :mrgreen: ;--)

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 19:46 
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How do you rehydrate a hide such as a beaver that has already been stretched and dried. The wife is going to learn how to make hats. Going to start with making me a beaver hat. Pretty cool I think! :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 20:24 
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I've always heard to wrap it with a cool damp towel. With beaver I guess you'd just place the damp towel on the skin side. I'm not sure if that's what you'd want to do with tanning in the mix though. Maybe Loxahatchee or MSG will respond.

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 20:46 
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[quote="cat-man-jr"]I've always heard to wrap it with a cool damp towel. With beaver I guess you'd just place the damp towel on the skin side. I'm not sure if that's what you'd want to do with tanning in the mix though. Maybe Loxahatchee or MSG will respond.


Thanks Russ. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 21:46 
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Richard Murray wrote:
How do you rehydrate a hide such as a beaver that has already been stretched and dried. The wife is going to learn how to make hats. Going to start with making me a beaver hat. Pretty cool I think! :mrgreen:


Ive read that you could soak it in a salt water solution. The water will rehydrate it while the salt will help prevent bacteria growth slightly. Or you could do just rub water on the flesh side and not worry about getting the hair wet. But you could always just squirt the flesh side and just dry the hair off if it gets wet. It is very important to keep the hair dry, cant stress that enough :roll: I've never actually delt with a completely dried hide though, most of my stuff stays in the freezer when im not working on it.

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 22:39 
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Loxahatchee wrote:
Richard Murray wrote:
How do you rehydrate a hide such as a beaver that has already been stretched and dried. The wife is going to learn how to make hats. Going to start with making me a beaver hat. Pretty cool I think! :mrgreen:


Ive read that you could soak it in a salt water solution. The water will rehydrate it while the salt will help prevent bacteria growth slightly. Or you could do just rub water on the flesh side and not worry about getting the hair wet. But you could always just squirt the flesh side and just dry the hair off if it gets wet. It is very important to keep the hair dry, cant stress that enough :roll: I've never actually delt with a completely dried hide though, most of my stuff stays in the freezer when im not working on it.



Thanks Lox, love the info. You've been great on the info buddy! ;--) :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 22:52 
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hate to tell you this Rich, but beaver hide is thick. Garment makers overseas have to thin it before they can do much with it, and I imagine you will have to too. Might be something for you to think about before getting too far in to it.

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 08 Mar 2013, 10:09 
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cat-man-jr wrote:
hate to tell you this Rich, but beaver hide is thick. Garment makers overseas have to thin it before they can do much with it, and I imagine you will have to too. Might be something for you to think about before getting too far in to it.


CMJs right. Beaver hide is notoriously tough to braintan. I've never delt with it, but would like to give it a try. Depending on how big a hide you have will also impact how tough it is. A young beaver hide will be easier than an older, larger hide. The hide will need to be thinned, which I'm not exactly sure how that's done. Some braintanners dry the hide stretched out and dry scrape it. Dry scraping involves using some type of small handheld fleshing tool (native cultures used the leg bones from deer or elk. The end would be broken off and an edge would be ground on to it.) Dry scrapping allows the membrane to be scrapped of dry, and possibly some of the hide too. I'm not sure exactly since I've never dry scrapped. You could also flesh the beaver with a pressure washer. Just blast the meat and gristle off using like a turbo nozzle. Some braintanners do this exclusively for their fleshing. Again, I've never tried it so I can't comment on it. I know some taxidermists use a grinder to thin hides. I don't know what type of wheel they use though, I'm assuming it would be like a fine grit type of wheel. The hide can be somewhat thinned with sandpaper too. I would stay away from like a belt sander though. Just use some coarse sandpaper and some elbow grease.

A coon hide shouldn't be nearly as tough as a beaver. However, the backs of their necks are pretty thick. I'm almost done on a coon hide that was courtesy of a raccoon that was treed in my neighbors yard, and it was an 18lb male, which is pretty freakin big for coons down here. His neck is just mind blowingly tough. I'm sure your northern coons would be even tougher.

But like I said, do a little homework. Any other questions just ask.

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 08 Mar 2013, 10:24 
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I wish MSG would chime in. She makes beaver hats and sure she knows the process. Seen the pictures of her hats and they look sweet! ;--)

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 08 Mar 2013, 11:07 
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That otter hat is absolutely awesome! :--o Don't know about the guy under it though! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :mrgreen: The hat I really want is a badger. If I get another digger next year, I'm sure I will, It will be saved for just that. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 08 Mar 2013, 11:17 
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Richard Murray wrote:
That otter hat is absolutely awesome! :--o Don't know about the guy under it though! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :mrgreen: The hat I really want is a badger. If I get another digger next year, I'm sure I will, It will be saved for just that. :mrgreen:



Oh, buy the way Jase, if I was under that hat, now that would be a perfect match. A beautiful hat and a great looking guy {hint}! hahahaha :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 08 Mar 2013, 19:25 
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Now that is a nice hat. If I ever get any more otters (roadkill that is :roll: . There was one on the side of the road just 5 minutes from my house too! And my dad saw it when it was fresh and refused to tell me! :evil: ) I've been thinking of making something similar from coons. Not a traditional coonskin cap though.

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 08 Mar 2013, 19:43 
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jase wrote:
I like my hat! Not home made, but home caught otter fur! :--D

Image

Image

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Everytime i see that pic, I think comrad Jase. Those are some awesome hats. I wish i had one, but i'm to cheap.


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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 09 Mar 2013, 12:34 
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Them are some sweet hats!

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 09 Mar 2013, 12:38 
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Got to go with Russ on this one. I like the trooper! :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 11 Mar 2013, 13:46 
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tanning beaver isnt hard....its breaking the hide that is tough to do. from everything i have seen/read (not much), the hide needs to be thinned during the brining process. it will thicken due to absorbing the brine. the tough part is thinning it down without putting holes in your pelt.

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 11 Mar 2013, 14:42 
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TrapperAL wrote:
tanning beaver isnt hard....its breaking the hide that is tough to do. from everything i have seen/read (not much), the hide needs to be thinned during the brining process. it will thicken due to absorbing the brine. the tough part is thinning it down without putting holes in your pelt.



I just need to figure out the best and proper way to thin the hide without tearing it up. :roll: Thanks much! :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 12 Mar 2013, 10:09 
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How soft of leather are you shooting for Richard? Linen soft or pliable?

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 12 Mar 2013, 11:29 
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Swamp Rat wrote:
How soft of leather are you shooting for Richard? Linen soft or pliable?



Pliable would be fine I think Swamp for hat making. Of course I am just guessing. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 12 Mar 2013, 12:04 
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Richard Murray wrote:
Swamp Rat wrote:
How soft of leather are you shooting for Richard? Linen soft or pliable?



Pliable would be fine I think Swamp for hat making. Of course I am just guessing. :roll:


Richard I have done a few beaver hides that came out pretty pliable, it takes a good bit of scraping and breaking as the hide dries. I never rehydrated one so I can't say anything about that.

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 12 Mar 2013, 12:17 
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Swamp how do you go about the process of scraping and breaking while drying. Going to start this at the end of the month when beav is over with. Will have more time. Will just be running the hounds then.

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 12 Mar 2013, 18:54 
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Theres a lot of ways to go about breaking the hide. Running the hide over a cable, back and forth and side to side, works well. Pulling the hide over some type of dull metal edge, similar to a shovel, works. Stretching the hide in a frame and then softening by pushing on it with a wooden pole is how deer and elk hides and such are softened. Or for small hides, you can stretch it with just your hands. I have found a way to somewhat thin tough areas. I figured it out on the tough neck of a coon. Take a sharp pair of scissors, and with a finger or two underneath the hide pushing up, begin to snip the hide. Your fingers will let you know if you start to get too deep. However, this will take a while, and I've only done it for troublesome spots on the face and neck.

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 Post subject: Re: Brain Tanning
PostPosted: 12 Mar 2013, 19:21 
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Loxahatchee wrote:
Theres a lot of ways to go about breaking the hide. Running the hide over a cable, back and forth and side to side, works well. Pulling the hide over some type of dull metal edge, similar to a shovel, works. Stretching the hide in a frame and then softening by pushing on it with a wooden pole is how deer and elk hides and such are softened. Or for small hides, you can stretch it with just your hands. I have found a way to somewhat thin tough areas. I figured it out on the tough neck of a coon. Take a sharp pair of scissors, and with a finger or two underneath the hide pushing up, begin to snip the hide. Your fingers will let you know if you start to get too deep. However, this will take a while, and I've only done it for troublesome spots on the face and neck.



Thanks Lox. :mrgreen:

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