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Thread: What can I make with deer?

  1. #21

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    rwc, make sure you ask if that mulch is treated for insects in any way. Around here they treat some of it with termiticide. That wouldn't be good.


  2. #22
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    tea is definately doable. Save your old tea bags. As the liquor gets weaker, throw in a few more.
    Use the dull side of your draw knife, or just your hand to get the hair off so you don't tear up the grain! Beyond that, the tute should cover it! You won't need the brain for bark tan, but instead use mink oil, neatsfoot, or the like, mixed with soapy water so it will emulsify. Good Luck and If you need any help feel free to ask!

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    "wood" itself does not contain tannins, it's in the layer of bark just below the ridged outer layer, so I would not think mulch would work at all since it is mostly wood chips.

  4. #24

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    YCC, does the egg suspend continuosly or does it gradually sink?

    I kept adding lime and eventually the egg would poke thru the surface of the water just slightly like in your pic, maybe a quarter's worth of egg showing, but it would only do it right after stirring the solution. As it sat for maybe 10 or 15 seconds it would slowly start to sink.

    I stopped there and added the hide, squished it around real good and covered it with a rock to weight it down.

    Also, can I re-use the lye solution?

    Thanks, and thanks LowKey. I shopped around and all I could find was bark that was colored red or black. I know a spot where an oak fell this summer and I'm going to hike in and bring some back to test. If it makes tea I'll go back and harvest a bunch.

    I'm thinking on using the tallow I made to oil/ curry? this hide when complete.

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    Tallow will make the leather fairly heavy, so it just depends on what you want. Most people prefer neatsfoot. If you do choose tallow, make sure you render it very well, and clarify it best you can. I have heard folks tell that sometimes their leather gets moldy if stored and curried with tallow. I've not had this problem myself, just something to keep an eye on.

    If using pickling lime, you can't make it too strong. Upon reaching a certain concentration, any excess will precipitate to the bottom. The egg test is moot when using pickling lime. If the lime precipitate in the bottom of your bucket is turned yellow, it's used up. I usually get 2 hides with a pound of lime.. so about a half pound per hide is generally enough.
    Wood ashes can be used, added to, used again, added to, and so on, but lime will get weak and need to be changed with every other hide. With ashes, the egg floats continuously. A good guess would be that the lime in suspension, at it's highest pH, would float the egg, and as the precipitate excess sinks, so would the egg. Ashes can reach a higher pH so that's why the test is used. (also, different woods provide different concentrations of CaCO3 and KOH)

    Also worth mentioning, bark that has been rained on will have much less, or even no tannins left in it because it's been leeched out by the rain. If possible use fresher wood, or wood that's been kept dry. I used bark from wood we cut up for firewood.

    Tallow will need to be kept warm while emulsified. Try not to let the temp get over 120F. If you get it too hot it could ruin the hide. Too cold and the oil won't get in (tallow is a pretty big molecule). If it's too hot for your skin, it's too hot for the deer's skin too!

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    One other thing to mention: you'll need about twice to triple the weight of the wet hide, in dry bark. If your wet hide weighs (guess at it) 8 lbs. you'll need around 20 lbs of dry bark. Keep a little extra on hand because as the hide soaks up the tannins, you'll need to add bark to bring the strength back up.

  7. #27

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    Thanks, that's a great explanation. Well, we're in the middle of an all day soaker here, so I'm not sure where I would find dry fresh bark. We don't burn wood and I don't know anyone who does.

    Have you heard of using Black tea? Would that work and do you have any idea how much tea I should use?

    I stirred the hide this morning and will again in a few. The tallow sounds like it might not be the best to use. Mine is pure white and filterd twice, but having to keep it warm sounds like a hassle. We'll see!

    I guess at this point I just need to wait for the hair to slip easily, carefully scrape it off as not to bust the grain and soak it in a creek for a few days to take out the lime.

    Is there any environmental dangers of soaking the hide in a creek? Our garden hose line is drained and shut off for the winter due to freezing.

  8. #28
    Rippin' Lips ClovisMan's Avatar
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    Another good way to have all the meat remnants removed is to drop the bone you want cleaned into a fire ant mound for a couple days. Thats what we do with skulls before we bleach them.
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    I have heard of using tea and I am saving bags to try it now.. or I was.. Long story. I still kinda am, LOL.
    Tea will work and there is a discussion on braintan.com about using tea. How strong is a matter of trial and error I guess.. I would want it fairly dilute at the start, like you can see about halfway into the bucket, and every day when you make tea, throw another bag or two in there. It will take time to tan it. You can make cuts in the neck to check it once or twice a week, but I'd just let it go for about a month, adding a bag or two (used bags) every day and stirring.
    Did you know that drinking tea without milk allows the tannic acids in the tea to bind to your liver? There is a whole world of chemistry and science involved here.

    A live tree will have lots of tannins in it's bark, even if it's raining, but you said you don't use firewood, so.. I would try the tea.

    By the way, if it's cold enough outside to freeze the garden hose, it's gonna take a day or two for the hide to buck. keeping it stirred will speed things up, and not letting it freeze, while not letting it get too hot either.

    Most importantly, as long as the creek does not feed a small reservoir, there should be no real danger in rinsing in the creek. Be sure to use a rock to weigh it down and make sure dogs can't get it!! The amount of lime rinsed back out, in proportion to the amount of water will be very, very small. *now if you were doing 20 hides at a time, then yeah.. that might be a problem*

    Sounds like you're on the right track. Wish I could tell you better about the strength of the tea, but I have not tried it yet myself. When using bark, I just try to maintain a "color". If it looks thin, I add some. It's pretty straightforward.
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    Can you find any black walnut trees? I actually lucked out today and got a TRUCKLOAD for free. Gotta get some gloves and get to work!

    http://www.braintan.com/mm5/merchant...Code=Materials
    You might also search for quebracho powder.
    I know you were wanting to do it natural, but if you can't find natural, you can buy something like it..

  11. #31

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    That's a good tip ClovisMan. We have Army ant hills, as we call them, and I bet they'de do the same. They eat everything you throw on the mounds.

    YCC, I do know where walnuts grow, but the nuts are all gone now, squirrels. I think I'm still going to try that fallen oak, it seems unlikely that all the tannins would wash out of a live tree that quick, or not? I'm still going to check out of curiosity.

    But, if the oak is all washed out, sounds like it will be, I will try the black tea and see how it goes. Could making too weak a tea cause problems?

    We've had a few nights under freezing, but no major freezes yet. We just shut the water off after Nov.1 because that's when it gets likely to freeze and since it's a crawl space you want to avoid having to crawl under there with a foot of snow and ice covering the entrance.

    one more question or three, Have you prepared hockskins and how'd you do it? I skinned mine out today and just stretched and tacked them to a board to dry. Should I salt them? They have a little fat by the dewclaws, is it ok to leave it? or should I flesh them? The only source I had said to simply skin them and tack to board without fleshing or anything. It looks like the area would be difficult to flesh.

    Thanks again man, you rock!

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    If it's only been rained on once or twice, it's probably still okay. If it's been laying there since a year, let it go. Use your judgement, I'm sure if it's fairly fresh- like it still has some green on it- it's perfect.

    The bark liquor will be antibacterial. Unless you let the tea get to such a weakness that bacteria can grow, then you end up with something you would not want to get on you... Get it fairly strong to start, and just add more as you go, it's pretty hard to mess this up, according to the experiences I've read using different plants.
    I should warn you that it contains sugars, starches, and acids that will ferment. Just as with making wine, expect the funny smell but it should never smell rancid. It should be a kind of sweet-rotten wood smell. Not sure I can describe it well enough, but you know what rotten flesh smells like.. that's bad!

    I have only played with hockskins a little.. a wood dowel and a dull blade will get those tendons and stuff off. I use different sized dowel-shaped things and my old hickory. Fat really needs to come off. And of course, it depends on what kind of tan you want to do. For storage, I'd tack out and salt till dry. The salt draws out fluid so put it somewhere that's ok to make a little mess.
    Since you've got them tacked out they will dry and you can fashion a sharp spoon into a little dry scraper and flesh them that way. Check the brain tan pelt thread to see that ditty. Then braintan those. OR you could do them as rawhide pieces There's too many options man!

  13. #33
    Senior Member Winnie's Avatar
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    I know absolutely nothing of tanning, but if you have access to an Oak tree, Acorns are stuffed full of Tannins. Could they be a possible candidate if chopped up?
    Recession; A period when you go without something your Grandparents never heard of.

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    It's a good idea. I have not read of anyone using acorns to tan, but I do know that if you are going to use them for food, you boil and change the water a few times.. Should be able to save the water and use it, theoretically.

  15. #35

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    Thanks Winnie for the idea.

    That's a nice write up on the squirrel skin YCC, I think I'm just gonna make hair on rawhide with the hockskins and later make a container or something. I'm not quite ready to deal with brains and I feel the deer may have set too long to extract them for storage?? It's been almost 7 days now and it got over 50 yesterday and rained all day.

    Also, it's been close to two days in the bucking solution and the hair isn't slipping yet. I've stirred it several times and it looks like some of the white hair might be just starting to slip. I kind of expected it to be slipping pretty good by now, it's a small deer.

    I pulled the hooves off today, extracted the leg tendons and boiled the bones. I made a tallow candle using False tinder fungus as a wick and it works great, doesn't really stink much or give off a lot of soot either. It seems to burn for a real long time and the fungus itself doesn't burn, only transports the tallow to the flame.

  16. #36
    Senior Member Winnie's Avatar
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    That was my understanding also YCC.
    Any chance you could post pics of the end results of this experiment RWC?
    Recession; A period when you go without something your Grandparents never heard of.

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    Usually, in cold weather, say, below 60, it takes a large deer around 4-5 days. If the white hair around the belly and thin areas is starting to slip, it's getting close. I'd say in another 2 days it should be good to clean off the hair. Cold works slower. just be patient
    Just an alternative.. some folks use eggs instead of brains. soy lecithin has been said to work, and my local grocer carries hog brains. After 7 days you do not really want to open that head, trust me...

    And a little side suggestion.. the hocks would probably make a nice rawhide knife sheath

  18. #38

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    Definitely Winnie, I was thinking of doing a WIP of all the things I'm making out of this one deer, or breaking it up when finished into individual how-to's. Except I'm not really sure how to and I might look a little bit dumb.

    That's a good tip on the hockskins and eggs. A guy on another forum mentioned using the deer's ears as a sort of quickie knife sheath, I thought that was a cool idea too, but have yet to remove the ears, just too busy with school and everything else to get to it.

    I was hoping the hair would slip by tomorrow, because I'll have time to work it off, but I guess I'll be patient, yea right. LOL! Patience is not one of my virtues. I want it to slip nice and easy so I don't bust the grain.

    Temps are plummeting to below freezing now and it smelled like snow earlier today. So, I'm biting my teeth hoping things don't freeze up, but it's way past due for them to freeze and let the snow fly.

  19. #39

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    As far as the pics go, could anyone explain to me how to post the tut/ pictorials with descriptions by each pic? I can't seem to figure it out.

  20. #40
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    Do You store your pics on photobucket? They have an IMG code that you just copy and paste into the thread. Then just type what you want above or below. You might be wanting it a little more fancy though.

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