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Thread: Tanning a Coon Skin

  1. #1
    Junior Member h3nchm3n81's Avatar
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    Default Tanning a Coon Skin

    Due to a recent leg injury (something popped while I was running, guess I'm not as young as I thought I am) I discovered that sitting in a tree stand for hours hurts really bad. That means I've been spending more time small game hunting (yes, walking doesn't hurt nearly as bad as sitting does) and less time sitting in the tree stand waiting for deer to walk by.

    The upside is that I bagged a raccoon yesterday. The downside (maybe upper upside) is that now I really do have to learn to brain tan.

    I plan on brain tanning this coon hide and turning it into a coonskin hat for one of my boys. I think I have enough information (Thank you YCC) on how to brain tan from reading other posts but I'm not sure if there is a special process that I should use since this hide needs to retain as much fur as possible. Are there any special tricks or processes that I can use that will help the fur stay on the hide?


  2. #2
    Senior Member gryffynklm's Avatar
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    YCC also did a post on Hair on tanning if I remember correctly. I think this is it.
    http://www.wilderness-survival.net/f...t=Hair+tanning


    Here is the link for the search of the forum I did. There are several posts form respected members.

    http://www.wilderness-survival.net/f...earchid=255668
    Karl

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  3. #3
    Junior Member h3nchm3n81's Avatar
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    Thanks, I appreciate it.

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    Senior Member wholsomback's Avatar
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    Once you skin the coon flesh the hide really well then salt it heavily fold in half then roll up and place in a cool dry place for a few hours then resalt again about two more times .On the second and third times fold the hide fur side out and hand over something to let it drain.After this knock off the salt and make sure your fleshing job is complete them mix up a pickle bath and pickle the hide.Then wash with baking soda and water then dawn dishliquid and water then follow the brain tanning steps.The salt prohibits bacterial growth and sets the fur,this is one of the most important steps in all tanning.

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    Wholsomback-
    I have some familiarity/experience with brain-tanning but the term "pickle bath" isn't one I know. Can you define it for us, perhaps with your "recipe"? I've only done two raccoon hides and both were tougher to get soft than deer. I've got one dried and salted... just waiting for me for a couple of years now... so your tips might prove to be the inspiration needed.

  6. #6
    Resident Wildman Wildthang's Avatar
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    Use the same procedure as tanning a beaver!

  7. #7
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Ok.. here's the lowdown.

    My fox and squirrels have retained their fur with NO PICKLES and NO SALT. Deer with hair-on, on the other hand, after a few years, the hair has become brittle and breaks away easily. Even a light coat of oil was too little too late.

    I say it depends on whether you want a completely natural tan, or if you have some wiggle-room with your technique. If you don't mind using chemicals, then the tanning kit you can buy from (what was the name of that company again?) will be ideal. If you want to stay totally natural, you can use the salting technique, but in my location, you might have to walk south for as much as 18 days just to get salt from the coast. Not really feasible 500 years ago.

    IMO the main thing is the handling of the hide while it is wet. Hand softening runs the risk of pulling hair out with your fingers, while framing is just time consuming.
    Neither the squirrels, nor the fox have had issues with hair coming out and I used NO salt and NO pickle on these particular hides.

  8. #8

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    Good tip! Never thought of this:-) Think it will work on rabbit skin?
    Wilderness and Arctic guide. Freelance writer for ablesurvivor.com

  9. #9
    Ed
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    The salt just helps to cure the hide like curing ham. With hides like a racoon, it also helps remove lots of the fat and gives you a jump start on the cleaning process too. Racoons are harder to remove the membrane and get soft and pliable than other animals and you may end up with a hide that you can just wrap around another hat, let it dry to retain it's shape. The pickling helps preserve it also like pickled bologna. Hides always seem to retain the fur with nothing but cleaning good. You may have a hide once in a great while drop hair after a few years due to insects. You may have a hide that becomes softer on the inside due to insects and the hair doesn't fall off. I think all deer hair breaks off no matter what you do. At least that's been my experience.

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    Tabbed: Regular Guy ElevenBravo's Avatar
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    Isnt deer hair a hollow core?? Wondering if that is part of the reason it tends to fall off later??
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