The Dinsmore's pre-smoking of wetscrape brain tanning, expanded to seven pages and revised Dec. 9, 1998
A draw knife that is fairly dull, a utility knife, PVC pipe of 6"
in diameter, a plastic garbage can, a 10 gallon plastic garbage pail, a pair of insulated rubber gloves for cold weather scraping (ones with long
cuffs). Some sort of anti-bacterial soap for washing. Parachute cord, about
60' of it cut into 6' foot lengths. Glovers needles and artificial sinew
or other strong thread. I have recently discovered a neat little tool I
use during the softening process, it is used by trappers and is called a
Yoho. It is a narrow little spade used for digging holes. I like the way
it pulls on the hide more than any other tool I have tried. It makes it
easy to work on the edges because it is narrow.
Frames made of 2x4's in various sizes. We put nails about every five
inches around the outside of the frames to keep the cord from slipping out
of place. Also make sure the ends of the boards extend about four inches
beyond where they are connected, so when the frame is turned different
ways, the outer nails are not flattened out.
Picking Hides to Tan
If you are new at tanning, we always recommend you begin with a
doe hide or small buck that is not very thick. It is surprising how many
inquiries we get about tanning elk for a first project. Choose hides
that have been shot as few times as possible. The less holes the better.
Also the way it was skinned is important. A pulled hide is ideal but most
hides we get have been skinned with a knife. (see the Braintan.com Skinning tutorial for details). Avoid hides that have a lot
of score marks. Avoid hides that already stink or have maggots on them.
Fresh hides also often times still have ticks on them so watch out for that
Fleshing the HideA hide is always
easiest to do when it is fresh
or has been frozen. We use a PVC pipe to scrape on. It provides a
smooth surface unlike a peeled log that will get nicks in it after a while
and cause nicks in the hide as you dehair (ed. note: this is only a problem
with certain types of wood). When fleshing, get the majority of the flesh and
fat off. Cut off any long hanging down legs or pieces of skin to make
the whole process easier. Often times we get special orders for hides
that have the skin of the legs left on. As we're fleshing along the belly
and find holes close to the edge, we always just go ahead and trim the
hide back so that the holes are eliminated.
information, resources and supplies.
Deer, Elk, Moose, Caribou, Antelope & Buffalo
hides, direct from the tanners.
& Raw hides.
Introduction to brain tanning,
Caring for your hides,
Learn how to get started.
Over 240 pages of informational articles & tutorials.
The Hide Out!
Ask questions or share
your knowledge and experience.
Traditional Tanners Catalog.