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Making and using rawhide.

I've been a skinner (buckskinner, that is) since about '73, but I find that I must also be a homesteader home·stead  
1. A house, especially a farmhouse, with adjoining buildings and land.

2. Law Property designated by a householder as the householder's home and protected by law from forced sale to meet debts.

 as well. I grew up on a small farm in Indiana and remember when our house was electrified. I attended school in a one-room schoolhouse. This makes me sound like I came through the Depression, but I was born in '44. We didn't call it homesteading Broadly defined, homesteading is a lifestyle of simple, agrarian self-sufficiency. History
North America
In the United States, the Homestead Act (1862) allowed anyone to claim up to 160 acres (64.7 hm²) of land.
 then -- we called it survival.

Mom liked the old woodstove better than the gas stove and did her canning and baking on it. The large garden provided fresh produce in the summer and preserved vegetables the rest of the year.

The Jersey cow provided milk for us and the pigs. She also gave us mostly bull calves for meat on the table. Dad liked to watch things grow, so we were always trying something different with garden varieties and fowl. I went off to school, but maintained a love for providing for myself.

It is all an attitude. We have come full circle, as we live on 10 acres of rocks and trees with a large garden. I work in town, but wages are poor in this area. With five children at home, we are classified at poverty level, but anyone who sits at our table wouldn't know that.

Our grocery budget runs about $50/week, which includes all of the miscellaneous non-food items one brings home from the grocery. Beef, venison venison (vĕn`ĭzən) [O.Fr.,=hunting], term formerly applied to the flesh of any wild beast or game hunted and used for food but now restricted to the flesh of members of the deer family. , pork, chicken, fruits and vegetables are preserved or fresh depending on the season. I build Shaker furniture Shaker furniture

Furniture designed for the religious colonies of Shakers founded in the U.S. in the last quarter of the 18th century. The Shakers' designs reflected their beliefs that good craftsmanship was in itself an act of prayer and that form should follow function, an
 and do leather and rawhide Rawhide

series depicting cowboys as cattle-punchers along the Santa Fe trail. [TV: Terrace, II, 235]

See : Wild West
 work as hobbies.

We raise our own beef from three-day old Holstein calves. When we butcher them, I keep the hide and turn it into rawhide. This material is quite versatile, and it has numerous uses.

It can be cut into pieces, soaked and used to mend or protect ax, hammer or maul handles. A strip can be cut that wraps around the handle. With the help of an awl awl: see drill. , the strip can be sewn sewn  
A past participle of sew.


a past participle of sew

Adj. 1.
 with strong nylon cord while the hide is still wet. When it dries, it makes a strong, tight repair.

Rawhide can also be cut in tight, narrow strips and wrapped around most anything that needs to be held together. It will last as long as it doesn't get wet or eaten by an animal. This is how many rifle and shotgun stocks were repaired in the old days.

Rawhide is not that difficult to make. Once the hide is free of the animal, it is fleshed by scraping all the meat and fat off the flesh side the side of a skin or hide which was next to the flesh; - opposed to grain side.
- Swift.

See also: Flesh
. This can be done by placing it on the belly beam (a sturdy plank on a frame that slants the beam from the ground up to a little over waist high) and scraping it with a sharp knife.

I like to lean into the beam, holding the hide with my belly and working the knife away from me. I prefer using a drawknife. Another technique used by the natives was to attach the hide to a solid frame and scrape it until the flesh was removed. In either case, fleshing is done while the hide is fresh. It doesn't hurt if it sits a few days, but the hide can't be dry.

After the hide is fleshed, the hair is usually removed. This can be done in several ways. The hide can be placed in a barrel of water and left until the hair slips off. If this technique is used, the water should be changed daily to keep the smell down. When the hair begins to slip all over the hide, the hide can be pulled out of the barrel. Use the same procedures and tools as you would for fleshing.

There is a chemical that can be purchased from tanneries. It is made in a paste form and applied to the flesh side of the hide. The hide is then rolled up and set aside overnight. This removes the hair easily and speedily, as it washes off and leaves no hard spots. The negatives are the strong sulfur smell and disposal of the chemicals.

Another way of removing the hair is to put the fleshed hide in a frame and allow it to dry. Once the hide is dry, a sharp knife can be used to scrape the hair off the hide. As the hair is shaved from the hide, it also pulls part of the epidermis. This is the method I usually use, as I like the way it works and looks.

Once the hair is removed, the hide needs to be put on a rack to dry. This can take two to three weeks depending on the time of year. I keep the frame on edge so the hide dries as flat as possible. The hide will shrink a great deal and will sometimes break the cords that hold it. If this happens, just re-tie to keep the hide flat.

The hide is ready for use when it is dried. When I want strips, especially long, thin ones, I cut a large circle and then cut the strips in a circle on the handsaw with a guide. Any unusable scraps make great dog chews.

One can also construct all kinds of rawhide containers. The Indians used rawhide to make storage boxes. Parfleshe (meaning raw hide) is the name for the folding container they used to store their food. Other uses include knife scabbards, tool holders, snowshoes snowshoes, footgear enabling the wearer to walk on soft snow without sinking. A snowshoe consists of a light frame of tough wood or aluminum, roughly the shape of a large tennis racket, which is strung with caribou skin or other material and is attached to the shoe  or shoe soles.

I have sold a large number of canoe chairs that are laced like snowshoes and fold for easy storage. They sit close to the ground and work great around the campfire. I have been able to sell rawhide by the square foot to people who needed a little for repairs. It is a versatile material and offers a way to increase the value of a hide.

To help preserve and protect rawhide from the weather, I paint it with shellac shellac, solution of lac in alcohol or acetone. In commerce the name is applied to the resinous substance (lac) itself rather than to the solution. It ranges in color from orange to light yellow depending upon the extent to which it has been purified; the darker  or polyurethane polyurethane

Any of a class of very versatile polymers that are made into flexible and rigid foams, fibres, elastomers (elastic polymers), surface coatings, and adhesives.
. This also helps discourage dogs from chewing up your ax handle. Anyone who has used a pair of snowshoes knows they need a frequent coat of shellac.

I'm always looking for Looking for

In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with.
 new things to try. We have been getting Holstein bull calves from a local dairy. They are great for beef, but I want to try raising a couple steers for oxen oxen

adult castrated male of any breed of Bos spp.
. I have been looking for a source for Guernseys, but haven't been able to find them in this area.

I would be glad to answer any questions about rawhide. Please enclose an SASE SASE - Specific Application Service Element. Opposite: CASE. .

PAUL STRONG 691 McCaffery Rd. Bigfork, Montana Bigfork is a census-designated place (CDP) in Flathead County, Montana, United States. The population was 1,421 at the 2000 census. Geography
Bigfork is located at  (48.065214, -114.081700)GR1.
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Title Annotation:tanning
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jan 1, 1999
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