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Why Tanning?

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Theres a short answer, and there's a long answer.

I look at things like this: Pre-settlement natives had no "modern" anything. They did for themselves and their community or they did without. They viewed their tribe as a whole entity consisting of seperate specialized parts. Some were livers, some were toenails, some were eyes. Some hunted, some tanned, some foraged, some gathered firewood, etc.
Native Americans did a lot with little. This is my goal in life. I want to be able to do as much as possible with what is at hand, in nature. I intend to become less dependent on the "almighty dollar" because in my mind there is only one who is Almighty.
I enjoy primitive skills because it reduces my dependence on manufactured gadgets and gizmos, of which the by-products are noise, smog, and pollution. Manufactured goods turn natures bounty into a cash crop while consuming endless natural resources. Exploitation at it's best.
Yes, I have a job, wife, kids, house, bills, etc. but wouldn't life be better without all that hustle and bustle? Too late for me. I got 7 more years before I can give up the rat race. That's okay, that'll give me time to hone my skills.

now to answer the question:
For me, tanning started as a question. I thought about the deer I killed and butchered, and wondered what else could be done with it. So I began exploring the ideas of using more of it. I wanted to mount the rack, but being poor and all, I didn't have the 400 bucks it would require. So I set out to do it myself. I tanned the deerskin as a fur and did my own mount, using the horns and skullcap and the rump and tail of the deer.
Ultimately it became KNOWLEDGE that was capable of setting me free from the textile industry. If TSHTF, I would know how to clothe myself and my family, before my cotton/poly was torn to shreds by the briars and brambles that dominate the forest floor.
Buckskin is that miracle material that we have all been searching for, for wilderness treks. It isn't "woven" into a grid pattern with holes between the fibers that thorns can snag in. It's lightweight, breaks the wind exceptionally well, soft and comfortable, extremely durable, and best of all WASHABLE.
My second skin was buckskin. So was my third. I made them into an abo shirt. complete with sinew stitching. by the fourth skin, I was using stone and bone tools (more primitive), and this led me further into the primitive in the making of such tools. by the sixth skin, I had begun to learn knapping and cordage, then wondered about all the other things the natives used.
How did they get through life without a Wal-Mart??
Curious how they got food without burning so many calories, or wasting so much time in a day hunting, I began to learn trapping techniques and trigger systems.

In summary, Tanning turned my modernistic view of the world on it's head. My attitude changed. I no longer want to be dependent on the system of man. I want to be free from the drudgery of modern life. I want to be able to do things for myself without depending on anyone else to make a bic lighter or paracord.

For me, tanning is what set me on my course to be self-reliant. It is a self-reliance skill, and in any long term bug out scenario, you will eventually need clothing. You will need extra containers and bags. You will need many things that nature can provide and tanning skins will cover a lot of those needs. From leather to the sinews, to the bones and grease.

Tanning is a survival and self-reliance skill with great rewards. It's not a craft. Craft's are pretty. Tanned skins are pretty, but more functional than many of the "crafts" you see at trade tables across the country. A rawhide tamborine on a bamboo hoop isn't going to get you a meal or keep you warm.

Buckskin will

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  1. jake abraham's Avatar
    I like your thoughts on tanning Ii have 3 hides in icebox right now I want to learn how to tan