Brain Tanned Hides
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Finished Brain Tanned

Hides from Traditional Tanners

You can order brain tanned deer hides direct from the tanners here at Traditional Tanners. We sell only genuine brain tan. We guarantee not only 100% satisfaction, but that these will be some of the best hides you'll ever see. Our customers include a wide variety of American Indian tribes, historic re-enactors, outdoorsmen and craftspeople.

We have worn, used and sold brain tan for 15 years and have a very good understanding of what size and thickness of skin works best for various projects. When you give us a call at 888 Hide-Tan (888 443-3826) and tell us what you need we will use that experience to select the best possible hides for your project. If they aren't perfect, return them at our expense (we've had 3 returned of the 1000+ we've sold). We strive to always have a good supply of tanned hides in stock, so that we can send them out to you immediately. Larger projects and more specific requests will often require some lead time.


Deer are the most versatile and most widely used hide. They come in a wide variety of thicknesses, and have a very strong, durable fiber structure; yet are extremely soft. They can be used for everything from a fine flowing dress, to moccasins or rifle cases.

#1 Brain tanned deer hides cost $18 a square foot, which typically equates to $162 to $198, though we have hides of all sizes. We always smoke our hides in matched pairs so that the colors match. All holes are sewn flat and nearly invisible. Order Finished, #1 Brain Tanned Deer Hides Online!

#2 deer hides have numerous holes and/or are oddly shaped. They are great for cutting up into small pouches, buckskin laces, or for doing beadwork on. #2's are $12 a square foot.

Scraps are also available at $12 a sq. ft.

Water Drum (Peyote Drum) covers cost $75 ea and are 16" circles free of knife marks and weak spots. We also sell whole hides that you can cut drum covers from. We sell a fair amount of drum covers and have a good idea of what is required.


Elk hides are about twice as large as deer and usually thicker. They are excellent for any project that requires a large swath of material (such as coats). Their fiber structure is looser than deer and moose hides, which causes them to not be as durable for moccasins, though they should last your lifetime in virtually any other use.

Brain tanned elk hides cost $20 a square foot, which typically equates to $400 to $500 per hide.


Moose hides have the size and thickness of elk, but with the durable fiber structure of deer, making them ideal for moccasins. Moose hides have a more square shape than deer or elk (which are rectangular) and were traditionally used for the beautiful Métis jackets.

The moose hides we have available are perfect for moccasins or heavy bags, but not for garments. They are dense, thick, and have a rougher 'aesthetic' than our deer hides (we buy them from another tanner).  We most typically sell them as 1/4's for about $140 ea. Moose 1/4s run around 8 sq ft, and are ample for two pairs of low-top moccasins.






Ordering Your Hides

We recommend giving us a call at 888 Hide-Tan (888 443-3826), as that is the easiest way to discuss your needs. We'll figure most of this out over the phone, but you can be better prepared by first thinking about these questions:

  • What do you plan to make with these hides?
  • Do you want thin, medium or thick (moccasin weight) hides?
  • Which of these smoke colors, best approximates, the color that you want?
White yellowish golden
golden brown brown dark bronze


Black Walnut Hull Dyeing

We can dye your hides a milk chocolate to nearly black color using black walnut hull powder. We charge $10 per hide for the service. The nature of tannin dyes always leaves the hides a little tighter and less stretchy.


Here's a sample of items made from our hides (most click for larger view):

Michelle Richards in a classic buckskin jacket with golden smoke.

Baby moccasins made  out of a lightly smoked hide.

A gorgeous 'new west' style buckskin jacket made by Robin Moore out of white (un-smoked) brain tan.

Quillwork on dark brain-tan, by Pam Fry. A lot of Iroquois and Great Lakes quillwork was done on very dark brain tan. We've prepared hides for this by  dyeing them with black walnut hulls. The color ranges from milk chocolate (like this bag) to nearly black. Walnut dyed hides darken considerably more with age and exposure to light.

Penny Thornley with a pipe bag made from a hide smoked 'golden'.

Some 'golden brown' hides on display at an event.

Two 'dew-claw' bags from hides smoked a golden to golden brown.

John McCoy in Colonial era brain tanned center-seam moccasins.

Michelle Richards in a contemporary buckskin dress. The yoke is smoked brown and the body of the dress is golden.

This brain tanned 'shield' was painted with acrylics by Penny Thornley.

Here's how to contact us:

Traditional Tanners
3303 Dick George Rd
Cave Junction OR 97523
888 Hide-Tan
(888 443-3826)

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