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Old 09/20/12, 11:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 117
Brain Tanning

I'm looking for a detailed site that will show me step by step the entire process of making a usable pelt from a animal. I want to use natural methods so brain tanning is my goal and I want to keep the fur intact. Anyone know of such a site? I been looking around and some good sites but its scattered information and I was hoping someone might be a good tanner that can answer some questions or have a good site for it.

Thank you very much.
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Old 09/21/12, 11:41 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: MD
Posts: 492
A few years back I read about it but don't remember if it was part of a tanning article. Anyway I went shopping for brains and found supermarkets no longer carry them. I didn't want to deal with extracting small brains out of a rabbit head so I never tried it.
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Old 09/21/12, 12:00 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 9,226
I don't know of an online article but the best book I've ever found about tanning is a
paperback titled "Deerskins into Buckskins" by Matt Richards. Deals more with larger pelts, deerskins particularly, but methods would be the same for rabbits ... covers brain tanning and a couple of other 'natural' methods, plus working the hide during/after tanning to make it pliable and how to make clothing projects.
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Old 09/21/12, 01:04 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 117
I see, will check the book out then SFM and thanks My only issue atm is figuring out the actual brain tanning part...I've found solutions to all my other problems.

True, however its pretty easy to crack open their skulls with a hammer though and long-term it will be a nice savings for me. Most solutions require a lot of salt and alum which isn't expensive but everything adds up.
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Old 09/21/12, 08:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Northwestern, WI
Posts: 1,830
These are the directions I used and they worked great! For my first ever hide with no help, I followed this but used egg yolk instead as I had no brain. I tanned a hair on fisher and it turned out great.
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Old 09/22/12, 12:05 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 117
Thanks Ford that PDF was packed full of good information that filled some holes. The only thing I don't get is the "BRAINING" section they use horse and pig brains vs the actual animals brain you're using to tan. I wonder if its just because those are cheap to acquire or if there isn't enough brain material in some of the animals to tan them? So far most old timers claim there is enough in any animal to tan it....even humans lol.

Also what exactly is "fat-liquor" is it melted down fat off the animal or simply a name of a oil to use for the finishing process of the leather? My #1 goal here is if its possible to not rely on ANY outside source to tan a animal....mainly because I'm cheap but I also enjoy going back to "old school" methods.

Last edited by Twist86; 09/22/12 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 09/22/12, 01:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Northwestern, WI
Posts: 1,830
I have heard to that an animal's brain is just enough to tan it's own hide. I think they may suggest staying away from deer brains because of the Chronic Wasting Disease that they can carry and the unkown risk of transmission to humans (It's the deer version of Mad Cow Disease). I tried a buck skin once following a different set of directions that had me dilute the deer brain with water. NEVER dilute the brains unless it is just enough to be spreadable. After all that work, I ruined it.

I'm not sure what the fat liquor is either. I finished my good hide with neats foot oil and was pleased with the results.
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