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Thread: Braintanning pelts the easy way

  1. #41

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    huh, I was pulling hairs right through the flesh side when I fleshed the hockskins i made and they were dried first too.


  2. #42
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Drying causes the skin to shrink in all 3 dimensions. prolonged soaking will cause it to swell back to it's normal state, but runs the risk of causing slippage.

    As with most things, there is a balance.. just gotta find it LOL.

  3. #43
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    Smoked it last night, seems to have turned out ok, but of course it isn't great, this weekend's will be better, just gotta keep experimenting til I get it perfect. Unfortunately I forgot the camera today so I will have to post pics tomorrow.

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    Hey...

    Now that it's smoked, brain it again. Try it. You'll like it.

  5. #45
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    Sorry for the delay, got some pictures here, wish i had more to show you, will take more this weekend.

    Never posted pics to a forum before, hope this works, if not just follow the link to photbucket

    Here is the rat I did last weekend fleshed, stretched and dried

    http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/.../DriedHide.jpg

    Here is the bad fleshing job they did that I now have to clean up:
    http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/...stocomeoff.jpg

    Soaking it in a 3 gallon plastic garbage can to soften it (weighed it down with a rock):
    http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/...le/Soaking.jpg

    Here it is after 45 minutes of soaking, pretty soft now and easy to manipulate:
    http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/...e/softened.jpg

    And here it is after i fleshed it and washed it:
    http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/...le/fleshed.jpg

    and again to show the thin area better:
    http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/...e/100_0504.jpg

    After that I washed it again to get all the remaining junk off it and used eggs as brains are a bit hard to get here.

    I dont have pictures of the rest but I will get them up soon.

    oh, didn't have any punky wood (I do for this weekend) but I went down to the store here and picked up some chips for smoking on the grill, cost about $2. I soaked them over night to get them good and waterlogged, then set them here to dry out just a bit:
    http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/...ingle/Wood.jpg

    Let me know if you see anything wrong with it, I tried to get good close ups. you can see on the lower right side of those fleshed pics that it was scraped too thin there and could see hair follicles. This weekend I will be able to flesh outside so should be considerably brighter and will try hard not to flesh so much.


    *Edit* Pictures didn't show up, but got the links right. Will work on that.
    Last edited by Michael; 03-11-2011 at 03:59 PM.

  6. #46
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    It didn't look rehydrated to me, which would make fleshing harder. Still, that's really good for a first run. I'd like to see how it turned out. And you're right. To sell a skin that poorly fleshed is pretty sad. That should have been free.

    see how white and fluffy this whole skin is, and that there are no red veins in it.
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    I use a curved tool, called a fleshing horn, to work faces and small critters, and sometimes an axe handle or something similar which you see in the pic, is a sledgehammer handle.
    Decided what you're gonna make out of it yet?

  7. #47
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    When I get them all done, if they turn out well, am going to tan an arctic fox I have (was a much much better fleshing job) and then trade them to a native I know up here in exchange for showing me how to sew the fox into a hat for my sister.

    Will let it soak longer today then. I thought that I had to remove the layer with the veins on it, but when I did that the hair follicles where showing and I started pulling hair through the skin side of the hide so I thought I was fleshing too much.
    Last edited by Michael; 03-12-2011 at 08:45 PM.

  8. #48
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    When the skin dries and the "rawhide" sets up the skin becomes thinner in it's 'thickness' dimension. your pelt should be fully white and fluffy to scrape, and as you scrape it turns back that tawny color because you are squeezing out the water. Try soaking a little longer and I think you'll find results more to your liking.

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    the word white might not be a precise description, lol. You'll know when it's good and wet

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    ok will give that a try, going to do one tomorrow

  11. #51
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    Ok here is the second attempt, think I did much better. (Hopefully the pictures work this time)

    Here it is after an hour and a half soaking, was much "whiter" though was hard to tell under everything left on it
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    here it is on the board "literally" to be fleshed, got my work cut out for me.
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    It got late on me and I had to stop with the failing light, but I think I did a LOT better. You can see on the left hand side that I still got a bit more veins to remove.
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    And a close up.
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    Will finish removing those veins, tan it and smoke it tonight, expect more pictures tomorrow.

    Took me almost 2 hours to get it to that point, not including time to resoak it when it started to dry out. I am using a small putty knife I filed sharp to flesh it, part of the reason it is taking so long is the hide is so thin and easily torn that I am really taking my time.

    Agian I did flesh a spot too thin and had hair comeing through, not sure how that will turn out, but will find out tonight.

    *Edit* Got pictures working but they are pretty big, let me know if they are too big and will go back to links.
    Last edited by Michael; 03-14-2011 at 12:42 PM.

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    That looks much cleaner to me. It should brain and soften much more nicely without that thin layer. It is tricky to keep one moist while you work it. I usually keep a squirt bottle handy and just shoot it every few minutes with a little borax & water.

    you really did have a mess to clean up, there. Very nice work.
    And remember you can always rebrain after smoking, and soften again if it does get a little stiff.

  13. #53
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    I had to work late yesterday and was just too lazy to brain it last night. Think it will be fine in the fridge til tonight though.
    Obviously these rats are not even close to prime, thus the dark color skin, must have been very early season rats.

    Will get some pictures of my improvised set ups, kinda interesting since I am in a condo here in town and they have rules about fires and things.

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    Three hours fleshing to get this thing suitable for pictures. I'll hold off on showing the pics of the meat pile that I scraped off. This is a beaver I got early last year but haven't had time until now to work on.
    Beaver fat is more like lard than tallow. Gonna try some dry-scrape on the flesh side to see if I can thin it down a little.

    close up of the tatty gristle bits between skin and meat. It absolutely refused to come off.
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    I don't know what ancient peoples used to cut grease, but I used Dawn dish soap hoping it wouldn't be greasy. this pic are after a good soapy soak and scrub.
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    Built a little frame for a big rat out of some scrap wood and strung it up.
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    After two days, it's starting to dry.
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    I'm going to see how it turns out without using salt. I hate all the rinsing to get salt out of a hide, so this one is going to be sun-dried. We will see!

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    It got that "greasy" look to it, so I put a handfull of salt in those areas. I do not see any yellowing of the salt or dripping where the salt has drawn out the ground substance. Rain is expected tonight so I'm going to leave it out and let it get a good rinse. Gotta have this guy ready by next weekend, and hoping I have time this weekend to get the bobcat going.
    If anyone here has braintanned beaver before, I'm open to suggestions. I really haven't dealt with anything this greasy yet.

  16. #56
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    I hate to say it but take a gasoline soaked rag, not dripping and wipe the grease off.

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    Had to finish removing a few tatty bits on the face, so a quick shot of tools.
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    We started this bobcat yesterday, but it was getting later in the day and I still had all the packing up to do, so when things thawed out this morning, I got to work on it. Found a nice place in the sun and mostly out of the wind. Most areas were ready to be softened (I stuck it in the fridge overnight in a bag), and this pic is after just a few tugs.
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    I spent a couple hours with it, gently tugging between sips of honey-sweetened coffee. Try to handle the flesh side of the skin as much as possible to reduce the hair pulling out and breakage. I was told at the class that this isn't the right way to skin one, but I'm not trying to sell any of them, so I think this is a more useful layout. As you can see, most of the skin has turned fluffy white.
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    In this next pic, it is done, only lacking the smoking step. I must say that the face is thick, tight, and hard to get soft. Rather than pull out all the hair and mess it up, I gave it some minor softening, and let it get somewhat stiff. I'll soften it more with a rebraining later. It feels a bit papery, anyway, so I went over to grandma's to compare it to the "professional chemical tanned deer hide" that I got from a homeowner whose top I put on. It is only marginally more "papery" than the deerhide, so I think a rebraining will really make this "clothing quality soft".
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    I had a visitor too. It's a beautiful day outside. As soon as I finish this samwich, I'm headed out to find something else to do!
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  18. #58
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    What a beaut. At first I thought your feet were big mickey mouse ears on it.

  19. #59
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    To soften a cased hide you can use a stiff rope tied between two trees then grab the hide and pull back and forth until you have broke the hide to a nice softness.I use this method for coons and all my cased hides.

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    Hey you_comforting_company, nice job on the squirrel. I shot 2 squirrels and decided I wanted to brain tan them. When I skinned them out the day I killed them, I salted them. I scraped the salt off but didn't wash it. Should I have washed them then did the brain tanning? I brain tanned them and they are hard and make a crinklring sound. I was working the one hide, but I am wondering how much is too much rubbing/working the fur? So when brain tanning then it is necessary to smoke the hide? I have never done this before.

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