'Brain-tanning furs', an illustrated four page article by George Michaud
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Brain tanning Furs:    page 3

Softening

After the skin has been treated I wipe as much of the brain solution off as I can with the towel, and just hang the skin up to dry on the clothes line (don't stretch it). Just as it starts to feel dry in some places I begin to work the skin. You don't want to wait til the skin is completely dry as this makes softening it harder or impossible.

To soften the skin I use a new beaver snare, or you can use a piece of steel cable (available at hardware stores or through the Braintan.com Store). I attach one end of the snare to a door knob and the other end to a solid object. This way I can increase or decrease the tension on the cable by leaning on the door. I begin pulling the skin back and forth across the cable (fur side in). This action causes friction which causes heat and helps dry the skin. I pull the skin different directions to work the fibers, I also stretch it with my hands. working the pelt of a steel cable


softening a skin that has been split open It is easier to split the skin down the belly to work it, but it makes it a lot harder to smoke it (You smoke the skin to water proof it). If you do split the skin you will have to sew it back together to smoke it. Be careful not to over work the skin to where the fur starts to come through the inner side of the skin.

 
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