Author Topic: Brain tanning deer hide ---> Info wanted  (Read 3545 times)

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Offline Jon_W

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Brain tanning deer hide ---> Info wanted
« on: August 12, 2021, 02:57:14 pm »
Does anyone have a "how to" for brain tanning a deer hide start to finish? Pictures, steps. materials, etc. I have the basic concept in my head but I would love to tan a hide when I get the chance. Also, does anyone make lye from hardwood ashes? We burn a lot of ash wood while making maple syrup in the spring and have those ashes still in the furnace so I thought that I could use that for tanning? Thanks!
"So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold in the hearts of men"   ~ Maurice Thompson

Offline Yooper Bowyer

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Re: Brain tanning deer hide ---> Info wanted
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2021, 06:36:25 pm »
Buckskins to Braintan by Matt Richards helped me a lot, I have a copy I memorized, so if you have any osage to trade ...  :D

Offline Jon_W

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Re: Brain tanning deer hide ---> Info wanted
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2021, 07:11:59 pm »
Good to know! I'm in the north so I don't have any osage at all  (lol)
"So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold in the hearts of men"   ~ Maurice Thompson

Offline Morgan

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Re: Brain tanning deer hide ---> Info wanted
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2021, 08:50:51 pm »
Iíll betcha pappy and bowed will be along shortly to direct you.

Offline Hawkdancer

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Re: Brain tanning deer hide ---> Info wanted
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2021, 01:39:05 am »
You can use the ashes to help slip the hair, about a 3# coffee can full to 10 gallons of water.  You do have to wash the hide with pure soap after the hair is off.  You can also use the ashes to make soap.
Hawkdancer
Life is far too serious to be taken that way!
Jerry

Offline BowEd

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Re: Brain tanning deer hide ---> Info wanted
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2021, 01:16:17 pm »
Jon the learning curve to make good brain tan comes with actual hands on fleshing and dehairing using the tools and method chosen.
Experiment and have fun.There is no right or wrong way just the successful way.Over time you will choose what works best for you with the least amount of work and success.
I do everything in the frame from fleshing to dehairing with my scraping and fleshing tools but other successful ways are done also like dehairing [epidermis too] on a beam with a dull fleshing knife from a mild lye solution.Rerinsing and then braining.Relacing it into a frame and stretching it dry in the frame and then smoking it.The wood ashes used should be whiteish from a hard wood.
Braining it the way I do it is in a slurry of brains stretching and twisting and rebraining each hide according to it's thickness.Then it is just roped dry and then smoked in a tube.
The "Praire Wolf" John Mcphearson put a book out in the 1980's that helped me.

BowEd
You got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.
Ed

Offline chasonhayes

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Re: Brain tanning deer hide ---> Info wanted
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2022, 05:54:13 pm »
This is something I know well
Deer skins to Bucksins is "OK" but it can be confusing with lots of options and forks in the discussion.
1. It's easier to buy lye from Lowes but...Make your own lye water- use a plastic or wooden bucket with a small hole in the bottom, throw some sand in there, cover with straw a few inches then fill the rest with the ashes. Pour your water over the ashes slowly and catch the run off in another nonmetallic bucket. The sand and straw act as a filter. Take the run off and pour it through 2 more times to leach more lye from the ashes. Take the water an boil it down to 50% volume. This can be used to buck the hide. If you just throw ashes in water it stains the hide and itsn't strong enough and you end up just retting the hide. A strong alkali keeps bacteria at bay and helps remove oils and proteins and causes the hide to swell for better graining.
2. Once the hair falls out easily put the hide on your scraping bench and push the hair off in a line in front of you. Then go back over the same area scraping harder. You will scrape off a slimy, cheesey substance that is the "grain". Wipe your scraper and repeat over and over. Keep working the area until your scraper doesn't bring up any more grain. Then scrape an area about an inch wide adjacent to your original area and slowly work until the until hide is scraped completely clean of the grain. Leaving grain on will prevent penetration of the softening agents,
3. Rinse the hide in a stream or in a bucket changing the water 5-6 times over a few days. All the plumpness should be out and it should feel like a rag.
4. scrape the membrane off the flesh side. Keep working it until you see more cheesy substance come up with very thin strips of tissue. Leaving any membrane on prevents penetration of the softening agent. Check to make sure no grain is still on the hair side.
5. Neutralize the lye by putting the hide in a bucket with 1/2 cup of vinegar in a gallon of water. Soak it occasionally swirling it around for 30 minutes or so.
6. PUt the hide back on the bench asd scrape again to squeegee out as much water as possible.
7. Mix egg yolks (or brains) with 1/2 gallon of warm water and put your hide in it. The hide will soak it up like a FrogTog. Then you have to ring it out, catching the drippings so you can soak it up again. Do this 5 times. Watch a video on ringing it out.
8. Now you have to stretch it on a rack while it is drying. You can go slow in the beginning but as it dries you have to get very aggressive so the the fibers don't stick to each other with the hide glue that is still inside. IF an area dries too much mist a little water on it and stretch more. This takes a few hours. The problem occurs when you stop stretching and an area dries hard.
9. use Elmers glue to glue it in a tube and hang it over a bucket with burning coals and rotted wood until it turns a nice shade off brown. The creosote water proofs the hide and turns it to leather. Turn it inside out and repeat.
here is a pic of my chest of hides I did this year

Offline Yooper Bowyer

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Re: Brain tanning deer hide ---> Info wanted
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2022, 07:30:56 pm »
That's more or less how I did it, though I read and experienced that it will take two times through the brains/stretching to work well.  Also, my hide retted slightly, so I didn't need the lye.  :-\

Nice hide by the way.

Offline BowEd

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BowEd
You got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.
Ed