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Thread: First brain tanned buck skin

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    Senior Member wilderness medic's Avatar
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    Default First brain tanned buck skin

    After years of wanting to try this I FINALLY got the opportunity when I found a freshly hit deer near my house. Yes, it's illegal and if a ranger wanted to be a hard *** it could be treated the same as poaching here. I knew the repercussions and accepted the possibility. So if you plan on doing it know your laws. I can't see letting a deer go to waste.

    This took many, many moons. Many as in several weeks. It also required a flea bombing of my garage and house, permanent blood stains on my car carpet, and possibly the cause of my Lyme disease. That being said it was still a quick as I can down and dirty practice. I barely saved any sinew, a few leg bones, and hooves.

    Found him on the busiest only-way-in-and-out road in my township. Trying to stuff a rigor mortised deer into my trunk with passing cars was probably funny to watch. Legs sticking half in and out. Got it in and popped a fire call immediately. So I got to come back several hours later to a fine smelling vehicle full of festering deer.

    Skinning was straight forward. Until I started itching. Fleas like mad. I could literally see dozens jumping across the garage floor towards my leg like a charging army. Stood on my ice chest like a girl, finished up, and bombed the garage. Soaked the skin in some water for a day to stun/kill the fleas.

    Moved on to fleshing. Easy peasy.

    Bucking solution. Simple.

    Graining? I'd rather slam my hand with a cinder block repeatedly. What a nightmare. I took the hair off and thought cool, easy. Almost moved on thinking the grain came with it. Hell no. The grain was on there like cement. Glad I nicked it and saw the difference or I would have one stiff hide. This took multiple days at several hours a session. A sharp knife didn't help. Pretty sure it was the beam. Need a smaller diameter for working more direct pressure. Sure it wouldn't be so bad with proper equipment. I tried using my axe handle and it came off easy. Too easy, ended up putting a few holes in it and switched back to my beam. Ended up giving up on life as I knew it at the rump and left it on. Decided it would be good anyway to see the various levels of what grain left on did. Even left a little on the thin part to see. Glad I did as now I know what i'm in for if I don't get ALL the grain off next time.

    Once finally "done" I brained it. This also took several days. By which time working it was a vomit inducing activity. Another part i'm sure wouldn't be so bad if I didn't live in a forest ranging from 80-100% humidity. Had to work it near the fire to get anywhere. Very frustrating to get it so amazingly soft and by the time I got back around have it stiff again. The other hide I previously worked chemically with didn't do that. Once treated, they stayed there until pulled soft and white. Like gum. I literally worked this thing until my fingers were bleeding and blistering.

    Ended up finishing the final stretching in combination with smoking as I needed the heat with the smoke to finish it off due to the humidity. Set up a small fire out back, posted up with some tribal music and rum and worked into the night. Felt trance like. This part I loved and had trouble stopping. Of course maybe the rum had something to do with that...

    Overall happy with the results for a quick rushed first try. Results were exactly what I wanted. To figure out what to do, and what not to do next time. What's important and not so important. Get ALL the grain off. The rump was disgusting and worthless. The thin part wasn't so bad. It was actually easier to remove the intentional grain left on it AFTER braining. The parts that are good are amazing. Incredible material. So soft and bouncy, warm, stretchy. I almost want to shell out the money and buy some now. The parts that are stiffer (minus rump) aren't bad. They don't fall completely flat like the good parts, but aren't stiff like leather.


    Last edited by wilderness medic; 02-13-2015 at 03:38 AM.
    R.I.P.

    SFC Raymond Munden
    CPL Charles Gaffney
    SSG Nolan P. Barham

    http://s1357.photobucket.com/user/Wi...3126b.gif.html


  2. #2
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Well done. Nice to see the animal didn't go completely to waste.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    I had to chuckle all the way through that. Pretty funny from my end but I'm sure it wasn't from yours. I have to give you kudos for doing it. You are a better man than me. I kept thinking free really isn't free.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    That my friend is most likely the best description of a newbie brain tanner that I ever heard.
    By some one that has actually done it......

    The book I followed actually said ...
    "Don't do this in the house, your wife will not like the smell....."

    This primitive stuff isn't as easy as it looks.....youtube aside.

    Congrats, and rep your way.....(oops gotta spread it around I guess)

    Thanks for the chuckle.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    I got him for you.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    It's a good thing that primitive and native peoples didn't have to go to work.....they would never have time to do that stuff......

    Note: do not cut antler buttons on the jig saw when DW is having a Home Interiors Party up stairs.
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    Senior Member wilderness medic's Avatar
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    Thanks guys.

    haha. It was pretty funny on my end as well. Lots of "Are you kidding me's?!" I planned on being done by the time my room mate got back from a 4 day trip. 2 weeks after she returns... You still working on that stinky thing?? Sadly yes.

    Thanks for the rep(both of you, teamwork lol)

    No kidding hunter. Living was a full time job. Wish I could have do e more outside. Dang weather. Whole house smelled of deer brains. Glad he room mate actually likes that kind of stuff.

    I've never even felt buck skin before. Still amazed at it. Nothing else really comes close.
    R.I.P.

    SFC Raymond Munden
    CPL Charles Gaffney
    SSG Nolan P. Barham

    http://s1357.photobucket.com/user/Wi...3126b.gif.html

  8. #8
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Well, keep after it......need about 5 hides for a shirt or jacket......4 maybe 5 for pants.....
    Course you have to get the deer first....

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    I don't know what it's like where you are but here we just call the game warden and tell him that there's a deer hit. Once someone ahead of me and my friends hit one and it was thrashing around on the side of the road so we called and let him know that we were going to shoot it and put it out of it's misery. He told us that was fine and then we asked if we could keep it and process it and he let us. So it might be worth it just to call and give them a heads up that you found it and want to use it.

    It sounds like you had fun haha. I'm glad it worked out and I'm glad you mentioned that about the fleas, I hadn't thought about that. I'm hoping to get to do this when hunting season starts back up.

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    Senior Member wilderness medic's Avatar
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    Wow hunter those are beautiful!

    Cody here it is illegal. No exceptions. Even taking a shed antler, although not technically illegal is frowned upon by biologists. They don't want people intentionally trying to hit deer to get them. Sucks. But understandable. I know I'm not a poacher though, so I have no problem doing it. I just have to accept I could one day get royally screwed.

    I am hypersensitive to fleas. Good luck with the deer. 3 years of nothing hunting for me.
    R.I.P.

    SFC Raymond Munden
    CPL Charles Gaffney
    SSG Nolan P. Barham

    http://s1357.photobucket.com/user/Wi...3126b.gif.html

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    .....Yeah, well ducks and geese have lice as well.......

    It's funny to watch all the ticks fall off a just shot deer....and they just bail off...like the fleas.

    Like they can tell the blood isn't flowing any more.....
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
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    Senior Member wilderness medic's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, they did that. But not until I got it hunt up in my garage.
    R.I.P.

    SFC Raymond Munden
    CPL Charles Gaffney
    SSG Nolan P. Barham

    http://s1357.photobucket.com/user/Wi...3126b.gif.html

  13. #13

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    i just hope you dont catch anything from the deer really. rabies is really bad in some animals. glad you had fun tanning the hide. you can some times buy green hides in season from country butcher shops that prosess deer during deer season. just call around.

  14. #14
    Senior Member wilderness medic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hayshaker View Post
    i just hope you dont catch anything from the deer really. rabies is really bad in some animals. glad you had fun tanning the hide. you can some times buy green hides in season from country butcher shops that prosess deer during deer season. just call around.
    What do you mean catch something from the deer? It was dead, it didn't bite me. The tick that gave me Lyme possibly came form it...that's it.
    R.I.P.

    SFC Raymond Munden
    CPL Charles Gaffney
    SSG Nolan P. Barham

    http://s1357.photobucket.com/user/Wi...3126b.gif.html

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Yeah - not much chance of getting rabies from a dead deer.
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    sorry you misunderstood me i did,nt mean you could catch rabies from deer.

  17. #17
    Senior Member wilderness medic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hayshaker View Post
    i just hope you dont catch anything from the deer really.
    Quote Originally Posted by wilderness medic View Post
    What do you mean catch something from the deer?
    Quote Originally Posted by hayshaker View Post
    sorry you misunderstood me i did,nt mean you could catch rabies from deer.

    Forgot to ask. Anyone have some advice on the spots that didn't come out so soft? I know I could rebrain with pork brain or some other animal but that doesn't feel quite right..

    It's only on the thicker part of the back section. Do you think it's a matter of it not getting enough brain penetration, not keep it moving, enough pressure pulling, drying to quick somehow, or just how it is with thicker sections? I worked it as hard as I could but it wouldn't really soften up more than...hard to describe. Not stiff, but not soft. On clothing you would be able to audibly hear it crinkle when you moved rather than being quiet sneaky buckskin.
    R.I.P.

    SFC Raymond Munden
    CPL Charles Gaffney
    SSG Nolan P. Barham

    http://s1357.photobucket.com/user/Wi...3126b.gif.html

  18. #18
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Once it has been smoked, you can easily rebrain it and the hard parts will fall soft like the rest Happy tanning!

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    Senior Member wilderness medic's Avatar
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    You're alive! Hope everything's going well. Thanks for chiming in
    R.I.P.

    SFC Raymond Munden
    CPL Charles Gaffney
    SSG Nolan P. Barham

    http://s1357.photobucket.com/user/Wi...3126b.gif.html

  20. #20

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    ok, so after reading this, im never going to try it until i get out of the army! im pretty sure it would end up buried in the back yard if i tried it now...

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