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Tanning Spirit Notes and Updates

Hide Tanning DVD: Stone Age Living Skills Video Classics Series.

      You can use the same tools for dehairing. The only exception is a different half rounded slab that has a V-notch cut into the upper end. This helps secure the hide to the board (see videotape for details). Place the board at an angle leaning against a wall or post so that you can straddle it. Pulling the blade towards you, instead of away from you, slice the hair and epidermis off, from the neck towards the tail.

      Remove the hide from the bucket. It will be heavy with water so hang it over a post or rail, hairs side up, to allow the excess water to drip off which will make handling it easier.

      With the neck of the hide facing you, begin pinching the neck between the wall or post and the V-cut, with the neck on the board close to the top. The rest of the hide will be hanging on the bottom side of the fleshing board. The neck is usually the hardest area from which to remove the hair and epidermis. This takes considerable downward pressure and sliding action of the blade. Remove enough hair and grain so that it can be turned around with the rest of the hide draping over the top of the board.

      Removing the epidermis requires observation of how the hide is reacting. What has happened to the hide while soaking is the skin has absorbed enough water so that it is probably four times as thick as when dry. The epidermis looks like about 1/8" thick and you will think you are cutting into the hide, but you're not. The blade has gone deep enough to remove the hair follicles and the hair all in this one slicing action. How can one tell if the grain is coming off? There will be a distinct edge left and the color of the hide will be white. If any grain is left, one can see the hair holes where the hair was pulled out and the surface will appear shiny, or the area will be darker from the dirt which was on the hide. A word of caution: remember back at the beginning when the hide was soaked for 2 days? The longer the hide is left soaking, the more dirt is soaked out and there goes one of the easy indicators. Sometimes when the hair doesn't pull easily from the neck, I go ahead and make a try even though it will be much harder, but I like to keep that layer of dirt. If you didn't get all the epidermis off, the hide can be soaked in a bucket another day to swell the epidermis, and then it will scrape off quite easily.

      After the hair and epidermis have been removed, the hide is hung to dry until it looks transparent. It is advisable not to bend the hide. Bending breaks the skin fibers. At this stage the hide can be stored as long as no moisture gets to it.

Tanning Spirit Notes and Updates

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authored by
Thomas J. Elpel
Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, andthe Blossoming of Human Spirit
to Reality
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids

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