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Thread: Short Question

  1. #1
    Junior Member 19thCentury's Avatar
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    Default Short Question

    Can anyone tell me what those outfits made from animal hide with the cordage hanging of the sleeves and pants are called? They where worn by Native americans and hunters/trappers I think.

    I've always wondered what they were called and how they were made.



  2. #2
    bushcrafter tennecedar's Avatar
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    Buckskins. I make make mine from brain tanned and smoked deer hides. The softness comes from hours of "breaking in" across a square beam. Don't know what ya really call it.
    Well why not?

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    Junior Member 19thCentury's Avatar
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    Ok yeah that's the name.

    Are they hard to make?
    Is there anywhere I can go to learn how to make them?

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    bushcrafter tennecedar's Avatar
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    Yeah they can be. For me anyway. The problem isn't the tanning it's the sewing. I make all mine as traditional as I can. One shirt is sewn with sinew from the deer the hide is from and a bone needle. I don't go into that much work on them now. Here's a web address of some links to buckskinning, long hunters, and mountain man stuff. Different groups of reenactors and suppliers.

    http://www.alaweb.com/~choctaw/astolink.html

    I hope that helps.
    Well why not?

  5. #5
    Junior Member 19thCentury's Avatar
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    It's a broken link for me.

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    bushcrafter tennecedar's Avatar
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    I don't know what's up with it. I tried it by right clicking and open in new tab. got a 404 error. Tried again and it worked. If not Google "Choctaw's Buckskinner Link Page".
    Well why not?

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    Junior Member 19thCentury's Avatar
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    That was wierd... I tried again and it works.

    Most of the links on the website dont work either.
    Last edited by 19thCentury; 03-28-2009 at 01:01 AM.

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    Senior Member wareagle69's Avatar
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    works for me
    always be prepared-prepare all ways
    http://wareaglesurvival.blogspot.com

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    Senior Member RBB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tennecedar View Post
    Buckskins. I make make mine from brain tanned and smoked deer hides. The softness comes from hours of "breaking in" across a square beam. Don't know what ya really call it.
    That would be it.

    Anyone in the market for some smoke tanned leggins?
    Raised By Bears
    Bear Clan

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    Not much on leggins anymore. I just hung mine up when I traded for a pair of buckskin pants. Still need to smoke them, sometime this spring.

    Personally, I don't like wearing leather pants. I pref. cotton duc works for me. I do however wear knee high mocs.

    Buckskin jacket works for me most times. Nothing fancy, traded for one a while back. Don't have the time to tan my own hides and to purchase is just out of the question. Easiest shirt or jacket to make is the warshirt out of one piece of large buckskin, or two smaller hides. I made one years ago, in the winter it fit well over my wool pullover. Wool to keep warm and leather to fight the wind and elements.

  11. #11
    bushcrafter tennecedar's Avatar
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    FVR how much do hides cost? I gave two away last month to a friend. One brain tanned and one bark tanned. I'd had them for a couple years in the shed.
    Well why not?

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    Brain tanned, cheapest I've seen is 30 bucks plus 7 for shipping. They are 6 square foot, smaller hides.

    The prices will go up from there. If you get into selling them, go to sites like www.historicaltrekking.com and buckskinning or primitive skill sites. You will be shipping them left and right.


    I use to do alot of trading at rendezvous for leather, but after 911, that all changed. Rendezvous are far and few over here in Georgia. Yeh, there are the big events, but just to participate you need to drop close to a hundred bucks, not including travel and food.

    Computer trading is where it's at.

    Really shame Chris does not have a specific trade only board here. No exchange of money, just goods for goods. But to do that, real names and responsibility comes into play.
    Last edited by FVR; 03-28-2009 at 12:40 PM.

  13. #13
    Junior Member 19thCentury's Avatar
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    How do you brain tan a hide?

    Anyone know of a good place I can get some info?

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    You are gonna have to use google. I use to send everyone to braintan.com, but the gent that runs it now sells his info rather than just giving it away.

    Basically, you flesh your hide, then soak it in water and hardwood coal for a few days to loosen the hair. Scrape all the hair off the hide. After this is done, make sure your hide is damp and rub brains into it, roll it brain side to brain side and let sit for a few days.

    Unroll, rinse and start working the hide.

    Brains are only one way to tan the hide, you can use cod liver oil, oil, eggs (used like brains), alum, pee (human that is), tannin from acorns, etc.

    I have two deer hides downstairs just waiting to be tanned.

    When I get the time.


    check out www.paleoplanet.com they have a tanning section I believe.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Here's a blog from Beowulf that discusses brain tanning. http://www.wilderness-survival.net/forums/blog.php?b=71
    Can't Means Won't

    My Youtube Channel

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    Junior Member 19thCentury's Avatar
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    You are gonna have to use google. I use to send everyone to braintan.com, but the gent that runs it now sells his info rather than just giving it away.
    Thanks FVR, there is still lots of info on that website.

    http://www.paleoplanet.com/ Was a broken link..

    Thanks cashdrive that is what I was looking for.

  17. #17

    Thumbs up Brain tanning 101. . .Part 1

    19thCentury wrote: "How do you brain tan a hide? Anyone know of a good place I can get some info?"

    STEP ONE - Fleshing the Hide

    If your hide is fresh begin by fleshing it. If there is dried meat stuck to the hide, soak it over night to soften the residual meat, then flesh it. When soaking the hide, it will tend to float to the surface, place a heavy rock on it to keep the entire hide submerged. The next day, hang the hide a few minutes to allow the excess water to drain off. Lay the hide on the beam (4x4 or 6x6) hair side down, letting the neck of the hide hang down over the end of the beam nearest yourself, so as you lean against the beam, your body weight holds the hide in place as you flesh it. At this point you are only interested in removing the meat, fat and membrane that remains. Soak the hide overnight in preparation for de-hairing it.

    STEP TWO - De-hairing the Hide

    Lay the hide on the beam, with the neck nearest you so you can lean against it to hold it in place. The neck area is the most difficult to de-hair, so start a few inches down. You can turn the hide around and de-hair the neck, scraping against the lay of the hair. Your scraper should not be sharp. We actually dull our scraper a bit to prevent cutting the hide. It should be sharp enough to separate the epidermis from the hide. Sometimes you just have to experiment to find the right sharpness. Our scraping tool has a beveled edge, as most scraping tools have. I turn the tool around so that the beveled edge is away from me. I find it works best this way.

    If the hide is ready, the hair should scrape off easily. Inspect the brownish layer, the epidermis, that's where the hair spouts from. It should be soft, and thickened, if so, as you scrape the brownish epidermis off the hide, the hair comes off with it.

    It is sometimes difficult to start the scraping, but after a few scrapes it should become easier. If it continues to be extremely difficult, put the hide back in the barrel to soak for another 24-36 hours.

    Work down the center of the hide as far as you can comfortably reach, then slide the hide to one side or another working from the edge to the middle or the opposite, and then the other side, move the hide up towards you and repeat until you finish all the way down the hide. You will apply less pressure with the tool as you near the edges of the hide because they are thinner and subject to tearing. Now, turn the hide around and work towards the edge of the neck, applying as much pressure as necessary to remove the neck hair.

    After you have de-haired the hide, it will appear to be discolored and yellowish. Inspect the edges of the hide. Cut off any parts that are very thin, tattered or have holes. This saves you time and aggravation later.

    This is also the time to cut your lacing holes. We cut ours by laying the hide on an old wooden table. Takes a scratch awl and hammer and begin punching your holes.I like my lacing holes about 1" from the edge and about 3-4" apart (all the way around the hide). You can trim hide more at this point.

    Before going any farther, sew up any holes (bullet, arrow, etc.) in the hide.

    We use sinew and a glovers needle or crochet hook, to pull the sinew through the hole. We use a blanket stitch which holds well while the hide is being worked. Just make sure to put a large knot on the end of the sinew, to prevent it from sliding through the wet hide as it is being worked and stretched.

    STEP THREE - Pre-Braining the Hide

    Prepare a warm brain solution by mixing one package of brains, about 1 pound, and four gallons of very warm water. You do not want the solution to be so warm you can not hold your hand in it, otherwise it will slow cook the hide. If the hide is slow cooked, it will fall apart and be very weak.

    Our pre-braining solution is always made from the old smoky brain solution we use to brain the hides in before they are softened. We have found that if the solution is smoky it seems to work better. So, since this is your first pre-brain solution and you have no smoky solution to use, take the time to smoke an old, large rag or towel for about 90 min. Put in the brain solution, let soak then wring out into solution container. You shouldn’t have to mess with it again.

    Blend the brains (well) with a small amount of water, dump the mixture into 5 gallon bucket, followed by the very warm water. Mix thoroughly. Take the fleshed & de-haired hide, which is yellowish and discolored and feels like wet leather, and begin to dip it into the warm solution.

    As you dip it in and out of the solution and swish it around, you will notice that the color and texture begins to change. The hide begins to lighten and turn a dull whitish and also begins to feel very slimy and smooth, unlike the hide that you put into the solution only moments before. After a wetting the hide thoroughly, work the hide with your hands, feeling all the parts of the hide to make sure it is as equally slimy all over and not feeling dryish anywhere. If you feel a spot that still isn't slimy, pull gently on that part, a little bit, and soon it will relax and absorb as much of the solution as the rest of the hide. We leave the hide in the pre-brain solution overnight. Be sure to keep the entire hide submerged as it will float to the surface, causing a dry spot.

    STEP FOUR - Hanging the Hide to Dry

    Take the hide out of the solution and hang it horizontally from a line stretched between two trees or poles . Do not drape it over the line.

    When the hide is hung up in this manner, the weight of the wet hide actually begins to open up the fibers that run the length of the hide. The longer the hide hangs, while wet, the more the fibers will relax and open up. As the hide dries, it again becomes yellowish and discolored, rather hard and stiff. It usually takes 1-2 days to dry depending on weather.

    When it's dry, place the hide in a container of cold water and let it soak overnight. Check on it occasionally and keep pushing it down as it softens, again keep it completely submerged.

    WARNING: if the sun is out and THE weather hot, do not allow the hide to stay on the line very long after it has dried, because the heat from the sun will of bake the hide, resulting in a hide more difficult to work later.
    Last edited by Nativedude; 03-29-2009 at 06:25 PM.
    Everything I have posted is pure fantasy. I have not done any of the things that I have claimed to have done in my posts. I actually live in Detroit.

  18. #18

    Thumbs up Brain tanning 101. . .Part 2

    19thCentury wrote: "How do you brain tan a hide? Anyone know of a good place I can get some info?"
    STEP FIVE - Pre-stretching the Hide (The most important step)

    When you take the hide out of the cold water it will feel thick and rubbery. You donít want the hide to dry fast, as the best pre-stretching is performed when the hide is wet. If it is warm and windy, you will need to work fast and try to keep the hide out of the wind and sun. . .if you can.

    Now, lace the hide on the frame. This is the step that makes all the difference! This is a technique that I discovered one day by accident. We have always said to pre-stretch the hide thoroughly, until it is whitish on both sides, and that is still the case. But it is how the hide is worked on the frame that is different from how we use to do it. We work the pre-stretch hide from side to side only.

    Since working the hide from side to side, sometimes causes the hide to stretch, as much as a foot or more, make sure you are using a frame large enough to hold the hide, plus have room for 10-12" of lacing. Make sure the hide is centered on the frame as much as possible.

    First lace the sides of the hide, lace both side edges, pulling the lacing snugly, taking out any slack, then lace across the butt and neck, not pulling on the hide tight, just enough to take out the slack.

    It is best to lace in the same direction all the time. Lace over the top of the frame, come in the lacing hole on the hide through the back of the hide, then again lace from front of frame to back. . . .If you keep your lacing all going in the same direction, it will be easier to tighten the hide as you work it.

    Now that you have the hide laced on the frame, work the hide as much as possible while it is still wet. Use your paddle-like tool and work the hide from side to side only. Never work a hide from neck to butt when pre-stretching. In my opinion when a hide is stretched and worked from butt to neck, it tightens the fibers and pulls them together. As the hide dries the fibers stick together causing the hide to be dense in the center, along the back. If you work the hide from side to side you will see that it gets very baggy and loose. You want to tighten the hide as much as possible (on the frame) when this happens. Donít just snug it up, but really pull it to keep the work saved that you just took all the time doing. Turn the frame up side down and work the other edge, side to side, not head to rear. As it loosens, tighten the lacing, again and again, as tight as you can.

    When you tighten your lacing, donít grab onto one end of the lacing, pull on it and expect the rest of that length of lacing to tighten. Take time to tighten from both ends of the section of lacing cord. Your tightening will be more uniform, and your lacing holes will tend to break less.

    We have a couple different hide tools. One has a wide metal blade that I like to use on the hide when it is wet. It covers more of the hide and can gently be used near the edges and even over the lacing holes.The narrow bladed tool, is easier to use on the hide once it is whitened, but is still not dry at the neck, hips and butt. I can apply more pressure with the narrow tool, this allows me to really press hard and separate those fibers. Always tighten the hide whenever possible. Donít wait until you have turned the frame several times, when you work the hide, as it relaxes and gets saggy, tighten the hide as much as possible before turning the frame to work in the other direction.

    The edges will dry before the rest of the hide, so you are going to want to work the edges as soon as you put the hide in the frame. Start working side to side a couple of times. The edges will not begin to whiten until they begin to dry a little. Work the edges while they are still wet. Work them occasionally so you whiten them before they become dry and papery.

    I like to use a heavy spoon and work the edge of the hide by placing one hand behind the hide and holding the table knife against the hide in front, and drawing the table knife towards me. I work the hide a few inches in and also over and around the lacing holes. For me, is easier to use something small like a table knife to work the edges and lacing holes than to use a larger tool. As the hide begins to dry, you can tell the edges you have not worked well enough because the will begin to turn a dark color, sort of like rawhide. You will want to work those areas with the spoon before they dry completely, I call it ďpulling the brown outĒ because thatís how it looks as the hide whitens when you pull on it.

    If your edges are allowed to become dry, papery and brittle, you will not be able to stretch the center of the hide as much without breaking the lacing holes. This is why it is so important to really get the hide stretched out as much as possible while the entire hide is still wet.

    You will want to work the hair side really well, because it doesnít whiten out as easily as the flesh side does. Turn the frame often so that you are working the side to side direction on both the flesh and hair side of the hide. Always tighten the hide as much as possible when it becomes the least bit loose. Again, tighten, as much as possible, to save the work you have done, rather than let it shrink back in the least.

    While I do not work the hide with the tool from head to rear, I will often take up the slack from the head or rear edge, that I can not take up from the sides. Tightening the hide along the head and rear opens up those thick areas, but only work it from side to side. You will notice as you work along the head edge, the fibers open nicely. Since the head and rear are thicker, in most cases the lacing holes are stronger, so you can really apply pressure to those areas.

    Within the first 15 or 20 minutes after having the hide laced on the frame, you should have worked both sides of the hide from side to side a couple or more times, tightening the lacing each time before turning the frame, you should have worked the edges and over the lacing holes a couple of times.

    Once the hide seems like it is not going to stretch anymore and is whitish, you donít have to work it as often. However, donít wait too long between working the hide. Because if the hide dries before it is properly stretched, it may be difficult to soften in those spots. When you are pre-stretching, make sure to pay close attention to the neck, along the center of the hide along the back and the hips, as the hide is the thickest on those parts. I know I keep saying that, but it is only because it is so crucial that these areas are worked well to make sure the fibers are opened completely.

    I have found that to prevent a lot of lacing holes from breaking, I work the hide from the center of the hide towards the edge, applying less pressure as I near the lower edge, it helps. If you begin your pressing-downward motion from the upper edge of the hide, a lot of pressure is applied on one or two lacing holes, and they tend to break. If your pressing-downward motion begins from near the middle of the hide, then the pressure is absorbed by most all the lacing holes.

    Keep in mind that you want the hide to be whitish all over, front and back. Any rawhide spots that are not whitish but yellow like rawhide, have not been pre-stretched enough.

    Eventually the hide will stop stretching to the point where you will not be able to tighten it using the lacing.

    Now is the time to concentrate on working the neck, hips and center of the back as even though the hide might be white, these areas are not dry yet. Really work them, side to side, to open the fibers. If you can take the edge of your tool, press it against the hide. If it leaves and indentation the hide is still wet in that area. Apply a lot of pressure on these areas to really open them up. Often the damp parts of the hide feel cooler than the dry parts. When the hide is totally dry, it should feel very stiff and hard and sounds hard (like a drum) when tapped on. NO indentation should remain or even be able to be indented.

    You can take the hide off the frame now, and store it for a long as you wish in this pre-stretched stage as long as you keep it dry. If you have pre-stretched the hide well, when you take it off the frame, it should droop over on itís own, being somewhat flexible. If it is stiff and stands board straight, you didnít pre-stretch it well enough. It will not soften as easily as it would have. You can go ahead with the process, not knowing if the hide will soften easily, or re-soak it and pre-stretch it again. Once you get the hang of pre-stretching properly, you will do it correctly every time and believe it or not, it will seem an easy task.If you followed my directions closely, working the hide from side to side only, tightening up the slack in the hide very, very tightly, really working the neck, hips and back, then it should be sufficiently pre-stretched. If your hide is pre-stretched really well, the softening will be very easy.
    Everything I have posted is pure fantasy. I have not done any of the things that I have claimed to have done in my posts. I actually live in Detroit.

  19. #19

    Default Brain tanning 101. . .Part 3

    19thCentury wrote: "How do you brain tan a hide? Anyone know of a good place I can get some info?"
    STEP SIX - Smoking the hide

    It is very important to take the hide from the smoker and immediately brain it in a warm solution. About 10 minutes before you are finished smoking the hide, make your solution. If you let the hide sit and donít put it directly in the brain solution, it will harden up somewhat and the fibers will not absorb the brain solution. We have found that if the hide does not go right into the solution, rather than the hide feeling like soft wet fabric when it comes out of the brain solution, it will feel dense and rubbery and will not soften well, if at all.

    Cedar, juniper or hickory chips seems to work the best for smoking hides. Pile the wood chips on top of some type of punky wood (dry rotted wood from the inside of a tree) helps keep the wood chips smoldering. Dampen the chips with a water to inhibit the wood from catching fire and burning your hide(s).

    Hang your hides in the smoker so they do not touch (if smoking more than one). Smoke your hide(s) for approx. 24 hours, checking the wood often to make sure flare-ups do not occur and that the smoker is still going and add more wood as needed. You can take a piece of metal and make sort of a tent to fit over your chip container to inhibit flare ups from reaching your hides. Hides smoke better if the inside of the smoker is not cold. If it is below freezing it takes longer for the hides to smoke and do not smoke as well as when it is warmer. Just the opposite is true when it's above 100 degrees (or higher) in your smoker. It can have a bad effect on the hides. Kind of bakes them. It is not necessary that the hide be a dark color. Remove the hide from the smoker and put it immediately into the awaiting warm brain solution.

    Ideally, the hide should just seem to melt into the solution and not resist the immersion at all. agitate the hide around and dunk it in and out of the solution to make sure the hide is not bunched up anywhere. At this point the hide should feel like a soft wet thick towel. Use that heavy stick to stand in the bucket on top of the hide to make sure it stays submerged.

    If you plan on smoking your hides when they are finished, beautiful results can be achieved by sewing the hides into a tube, and suspending the tubed hide above the smoke source, taking care that the smouldering wood does not flame-up and burn the hides you have worked so hard to complete.

    STEP SEVEN - Working the hide on the band

    The band is a long piece of metal, like you would find bound around lumber or large appliance boxes, we have also used old worn saw mill blades.If your using a metal band with smooth edges, it helps to use tin snips and serrate the edges a bit. Donít cut the edge so it has sharp points as it can scratch and scar you hide. Make the band about four feet long, find something vertical to attach it to, for instance a tree, post you have put into the ground enough so it is firmly set, or the side of a building. Nail the top of the metal band so that it is about shoulder height, let it bow out about 8Ē and nail the bottom of the band about mid-shin height. The bow leaves enough room to easily place the hide behind it and have room to work the hide back and forth.

    After the braining hide has soaked about an hour, move the hide bucket to the band and work the hide on the band in such a way that the solution that runs off the hide, runs back into the bucket.Hold the hide by its sides, and work back and forth across the band, moving up and down, repeating the motion. Pay close attention to the neck, hips and along the back. This step just assures that the fibers are open as much as possible to accept as much brain solution as possible.

    No need to really pull hard on the hide if it feels like the soft, thick wet towel I described above. If there are parts that feel rubbery, you will need to work them on the band with more force to open those sections up as much as possible, if this happens, it is because the hide was not pre-stretched well enough. This step usually takes Joe about five minutes to do.When you have worked the hide on the band sufficiently, put it back in the solution, weigh it down with the stick to keep all parts submerged, and leave it overnight.

    STEP EIGHT - Softening the hide

    Remove the hide from the solution, wring the hide as well as you can. It is best to use a pole and horizontal beam. You can also use a wringer like is on an old wringer washer, or you can even just roll the hide up in a thick towel and step back and forth across it to absorb excess moisture. Again, if the day is sunny and windy, move the hide to the shade so it does not dry before you get it laced on and worked a few times or just donít wring it as well.

    As mentioned while discussing the pre-stretch step, the way you lace the hide on the frame to pre-stretch is different from how you will lace the hide on the frame now, to soften.

    To lace the hide onto the frame, as always, try to center the hide so you have room to tighten it on all sides.

    This time, lace the neck or butt edge first, (different from pre-stretching), pull the hide to give it itís original length, or a bit more. Once you have the hide laced all the way across the butt and neck edges, then work down both sides.

    I still work mostly from side to side, but occasionally work the hide and tighten it lengthwise, from neck to butt, this opens the fibers and makes the hide soft, and you retain the desired length of the hide. You donít want your finished hide to be short and wide like you do when you pre-stretch. Again, work the hide a lot when you first put it on and it is itís wettest, as it stretches open more in that condition.

    If you have pre-stretched properly, you will now see what I call the hide following the tool, as you press in and push down on the hide with your tool, you will see fibers all around the tool reacting and stretching towards the tool. The hide should feel very soft and flexible at this point.

    Do not tighten the hide very tight as you do when you pre-stretch. Just keep the hide taught enough so that it is not excessively baggy. It is not going to shrink any because it has been smoked. Keeping it snug just makes it easier to work the hide. Tighten all around the hide to insure a natural shape.

    If you have a hide that is oddly shaped, sometimes you can remedy that problem by tightening up the laces more where the hide swerves inward. Pull those inward areas out as far as possible to be parallel with the edge of the rest of the hide as possible .It may not be exactly parallel but the shape will be better.

    If you work the hide well in the beginning, you will not have to work it as often as the hide dries. Work the hide occasionally until it is dry. Usually damp spots feel cooler, or use the indentation test, if you take the end of your tool and push against the hide, and it leaves a mark, it is still damp there and needs to be worked until it is dry.When the hide is dry, you should be able to pull on it and it be springy anywhere on the hide.

    We use the pumice stone at this point to remove any excess dried membrane from the flesh side. It makes for a neater appearance and is easier to work with.

    I often hear people say that when they make an article out of leather, be it clothing or moccasins, the item stretches out after being worn for a while. The way we pre-stretch, there is hardly any stretching that happens after the hide is finished.

    When a hide is mostly worked from the head and rear, which is the usual method, it may be soft, but the fibers that run from the head and rear dry close together and when you make an item of clothing, or moccasins, and wear them, the fibers open then, and the item loses it shape.

    Leave the hide tightened up on the frame over night to assure flatness. The next day use your paddle on it just to relax it and then remove it from the frame. Store the hides in a dry place or smoke it again for color.

    There you have it!
    Everything I have posted is pure fantasy. I have not done any of the things that I have claimed to have done in my posts. I actually live in Detroit.

  20. #20
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Wow! Nice post ND. Tons of information.

    The link for Paleoplanet is:

    http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/

    I think that's the one you intended.

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