The slang term for a dollar bill
buck derives from the use of buckskin as a trade item in the
American colonies and the fact that it was worth the equivalent of a
What exactly is buckskin? It
traditionally refers to any hide that has been tanned with the use of
natural oils, physical manipulation and wood-smoke. It can be made
from any of the hooved animals including deer, elk, antelope, sheep,
goat, moose, buffalo, even cow. Before chemically tanned hides were
produced there was buckskin and leather. Leather was bark-tanned (a
process that takes 6 to 18 mos). It was used for saddles, belts and
anything a stiff leather was desired for. Buckskin was used for
clothing, pouches and anything a soft leather was desired for.
Recently, chrome-tanned deer and sheep hides that have been dyed to
look like traditional buckskin, are being marketed as buckskin.
Deerskins (and antelope and elk
and goat and...) go to waste by the hundreds of thousands in North
America. There are over six million deer sustainably harvested
(killed) each year in the U.S.. Of these only a fraction ever make it
to a tannery. One can easily get all of the deerskins they could ever
use by telling their neighbors that hunt to save them or posting
flyers around town.
Buckskin differs from other
leathers in that it is: washable (it can be hand or machine washed
over and over again), it breathes (allowing perspiration to escape)
and it is velvety soft.
Buckskin is edible. It can and
has been used as an emergency food. It is simmered for several hours.
The solids are strained off and the liquid allowed to cool. The result
is jello (literally), a highly assimilatable protein.
Buckskin has been made by native
peoples on every continent since early hunter-gatherer days.
Buckskin is commonly tanned with
soap & oil, eggs, or the animals own brains.