There's always more to learn.
Yes, I am one of those.
I have to be learning something.
Some things I learn and promptly forget, or learn and don't really
feel connected to, or learn and enjoy so continue.
When we butcher the lambs, I want to pelt their hides.
We don't like waste and the fact that each year so many
deer, elk, and other critters are hunted and the hides left to rot
in addition to the waste of such parts as ribs or shoulder meat
kinda irks me.
I've never done any tanning of hides - actually never considered
that it would be something I would be remotely interested in.
I have a feeling it will be one of those things
I learn but don't do much of, which is fine.
I like having the knowledge and experience even if I don't often use it,
just in case.
From what I've read, rabbits are great to learn on.
They are small so they don't use a lot of solution, and are typically
rather plentiful so are not difficult to find.
We didn't happen to have a rabbit,
but we did have a raccoon coming in devouring entire bags of cat food
and causing the dog fits in the middle of the night.
We trapped it, and I figured I could learn on a raccoon
as easily as on a rabbit.
If I messed up - oh well, no great loss.
I found various instructions, using various methods and solutions.
Being novice, I chose the one that seemed the safest to work with.
It's alum, salt, and water.
First rinse the hide in cold water to both clean it and cool it.
In a 5 gallon bucket mix:
1 cup alum, 1 cup non-iodized salt and 2 gallons tepid water.
Then add the rinsed/wet hide and stir making sure all parts of the hide are exposed to the solution.
Stir at least twice per day.
After two days, take hide out of solution.
Squeeze as much solution out as possible (back into bucket.)
Then "flesh" the hide.
This is removing any fat or meat material from the hide.
This picture isn't great. I was losing light but had to get it done.
Add another cup of each the salt and alum to the same solution
and stir well.
Then add fleshed hide back into the solution again stirring to make sure all parts of the hide are exposed to the solution.
Stir twice per day for another 5 days.
Then remove hide from solution and rinse well.
Stretch hide on a frame or board so it can dry.
When it is almost dry, it's time to "break" the hide.
This means working it by hand in small sections to soften it.
*Note: no, I am not going to chew on it as certain tribes were know to do and as my mother says I should to be authentic:)
(This is where life came at me.)
I have my hide stretched and dried.
I will have to re-wet it, let it partially dry then break it.
As far as the fleshing, I want to ask a neighbor who has done tanning
how I did and if there is a method better than my very slow tedious one.
Mr. LB left the head on thinking it would be "cool."
Again I am learning - I will have to just cut it off since it's inside-out
and hard as a rock.
Any ol' trappers, tanners out there,
feel free to offer advise.