'Brain-tanning furs', an illustrated four page article by George Michaud
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Brain tanning Furs:    page 2

Washing Your Fur

Now that the skin is scraped you want to wash it. I use Suave shampoo for this and the bath tub when my wife isn't looking. Next I borrow her hair dryer to blow dry the fur. This is usually best done when she isn't home. The next step is to turn the fur in and dry the skin a stretched out like you would if you were taking it to the buyer.


For tanning you will need one brain, a blender, a microwave, a bath towel (not one of the good ones) and some punky wood, here in the Rockies I use aspen. For the brain I go to the local market and get either a pig brain or a beef brain. It really doesn't matter which one as either one will work. At times I have been forced to buy a whole case of brains as it is a special order but they are not very expensive, and they will last in the freezer forever.

Remove the skin from the stretcher when it is completely dry and you are ready to begin. It is best to start this project in the morning as it will take a few hours to finish. Get all of the above mentioned items together and now the real fun begins.

First thaw the brain in the micro wave. They come in a nice little container that is real handy. After the brain is thawed (about 1 minute 30 seconds on high) you drop it in the blender with a 1/2 container of hot water (out of the tap is fine). Hit liquefy until it looks like a strawberry shake. Next pour the contents of the blender into a plastic bowl and put it back in the micro wave for another 3 minutes. Just to heat it but not cook it.

Place the fox skin on a table and pour some of the brain on the skin and start to work it in with your hands. Continue doing this until you have covered the entire skin. The skin should be already starting to soften up some. Now take the towel and soak it in hot water then wring most of the water out, all you want is a hot moist towel. rub the brains into the flesh side of the skin

roll the fur up in the warm wet towel Place the fox skin on the towel and pour more of the brain mix onto the skin. You want to have the skin covered with it. Turn the skin over and do the same on the other side. Next roll the skin up in the towel and let it set for a couple of hours. Remember to put the bowl with the brain in it in the refrigerator until you need it again.

Unroll the towel and check the skin to see if it is thoroughly soaked and pliable. If not, work some more brain into it and roll it back up in the towel for another hour or two. The more of the brain that gets worked into the skin the softer and easier it will tan.

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