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Farm Goddess
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262 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying tanning my own sheep hides for the first time. We got them back from the butcher late, and they'd been sitting in blood, so we hosed them off. I salted the skin side and hung them for 4 days to dry. Fleshed them (I think), washed skin side with soap and water, let dry for a couple hours, then applied the famous orange bottle of all in one tanning solution. Here's where I get confused. Sources vary on whether to:
a) apply tanning solution every 12-16 hours for 4 days
b) apply tanning solution once, open after 24 hours, and allow to dry for 2-3 days before stretching
c) apply tanning solution once, leave for 3 days, then allow to dry for 1 day before stretching
d) allow to soak in tanning solution for 3 days, then begin stretching 12 hours after opening

Tomorrow will be Day 3, I've been applying as needed to keep hides moist, but they seem not to need it? Does this mean I missed some of the membrane? At what point should I still be scraping? (Hides are clean white.)
You may have noticed I missed the brine/washing with Dawn step between fleshing and tanning. Yep, didn't read about that until AFTER. Do I go back and wash, and re-tan? Or do I carry on and wash after tanning, since at this point I'm 75% through the process? Or is the process not working because I didn't submerge my hides between fleshing and tanning?
TIA!
 

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Premium Member
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23,628 Posts
Sorry, I've never tried tanning and don't know anything about it. I had hoped someone would have dropped by and given you a tip before now.
 

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Super Moderator
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40,781 Posts
I've "tanned" a couple deer hides years ago but didn't use any particular all in one tanning solution. I fleshed the hides good, layer them fur side down and coated the flesh side with a mixture of salt and alum paste. I then rolled them up put them in a trash bag and kept them in the fridge for about a month. Pulled them out, washed them off and tacked them to a barn door to dry. Once dried the work began of softening them. Hours of beating with a stick until flexible enough to work by hand... Rolling and unrolling, pulling them back and forth over a plank setting on edge. Once they were soft and pliable I made fur muffs for my girls out of them on my trusty singer treadle sewing machine.
 
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