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How to tan hides.

In issue No. 3, Vol. 77, Gordon Halvorsen requested recipes for tanning hides. This is the recipe I started with and still use. I used it for a sheep, squirrel, ground hog and raccoon. Sulfuric acid can be obtained at your local pharmacy.

Tanning made easy

2 gallons water 2 pounds salt (any kind) 2 ounces sulfuric acid or 8 ounces battery


Add salt to the water in a non-metallic container (crock or plastic garbage can). Tip the container and let the acid pour down the side, slowly, into the water. Never add water to the acid! Be careful not to let the acid splash, or it may burn you. Stir the entire solution with a stick. At this point, the solution is diluted enough to be used safely and will cause no damage if it touches your skin.

If possible, the solution should be kept around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Higher temps may damage the skins while lower temps retard the tanning process. With the solution mixed, you're ready to begin.

First, rinse the skins in cold water with two cups of salt per gallon of water to remove blood stains and aid in the fleshing process, which comes later. Next, wash the skins in warm water and detergent. Squeeze out the extra water. (When working with animal skins, always squeeze to dry - never wring a far.) Finally, place the skin in the solution, stir it around with a stick, and submerge with a non-metallic weight (such as a clean brick, a jug filled with water, etc.)

A small skin will take about three days; larger hides may take two to three weeks. The temperature of the solution and the size of the skins may cause variation in time length, but this causes no serious problem. In fact, so long as the solution is stirred every three to four days, you can leave the skins in up to six months.

When the skin is ready, remove it, wash it in detergent, and rinse it in cool water. At this point, you should be able to peel away the fat and flesh almost as easily as you would peel a banana - much easier than fleshing would have been before treatment.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Countryside Publications Ltd.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Schilb, Nancy
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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