The Difference Between Various Brain Tanning Methods: page 4
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The hide is soaked in an alkaline solution made of either wood ashes, hydrated lime, or 
commercial lye, until it is swollen. Then the hair and grain are wet-scraped off and the alkalinity is rinsed out of the hide. This soaking cleans a mucus out of the hide that coats the fibers, and prevents the brains from reaching them easily. This mucus predominates in the layers of skin that are not typically removed when wet-scraping (but are when dry-scraping).


  1. Everything else being equal, it is the quickest and most efficient way to 
    brain tan a hide (in my opinion).
  2. The alkali sterilizes the hide preventing bacteria from creating bad smells, 
    infecting you, or ruining your hide. 
  3. Swells grain making it easier to see and remove. 
  4. Greatly improves brain penetration. 
  5. Easiest method to do with primitive tools.


  1. Requires quite a bit of water.
  2. When doing it primitively, it is not as easy to do if you only have 
    softwood ashes (conifers).

Best Resource: Deerskins into Buckskins by Matt Richards

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