Tanning Hides Pelts

Discussion in 'Cast & Blast' started by seanengman, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. seanengman Trout have no politics

    Posts: 966
    davenport, wa
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    Does anybody have any tips, ideas, knowhow on tanning hides and pelts (hair-on). I am not a big fan of the taxidermy bill. Anything would be great, but make sure to type slowly and clearly so unsmart people like myself can understand. :beathead:
  2. alpinetrout Banned or Parked

    Posts: 3,891
    Hiding in your closet
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    I don't really know too much about it, but I looked into it a bit when I had several rabbit pelts that I needed to tan. The most important thing I found out was that some tanning methods are not waterproof, such as alum tanning. That would be fine for something like deer hair where you're cutting the hair off the hide, but if used for bunny strips the hair would fall out when the fly gets wet.

    We ended up taking that batch of rabbit pelts to the taxidermist to have them chemical tanned for about $5 each I think. I figured it was worth it to have soft leather that the hair wouldn't fall out of. For just about anything else (deer, elk, moose, etc), I would probably give it a shot doing it myself though.
  3. seanengman Trout have no politics

    Posts: 966
    davenport, wa
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    I've seen tanning kits in Cabela's and at the local taxidermy shop, has anyone ever tried to use the kit?
  4. Tony Tony

    Posts: 494
    Lynnwood Wa
    Ratings: +49 / 0
    I have tried it (tanning) with alot of poor results over the years, my advise is go to your local library do alot of reading on the subject, try out what you learn on some small stuff and then decide if the hassel is worth it to you. I have found it takes alot of work and time not to mention $ to do it right and I think that if the hide really matters to you, have a pro do it.
  5. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,792
    Marysville, Washington
    Ratings: +643 / 0
    40 some years ago I had a whole blacktail hide professionally tanned. I had made arrangements to trade 1/2 with a local shop getting back more than my cost in trade. I still am tying with some of that material and over the decades shared it with fellow tiers - it is almost gone.

    I also have attempted to "home tan" various pieces with mixed success. With deer hides if I got the skin clean as possible I was able to successfully perserve it however it was pretty stiff - need to work in pieces of less than a couple square feet.

    It found that "home tanning" was worth it for strips of that white belly hair that makes great dry fly wings for fishing rough water and for that odd piece of odd colored hair - for example a piece of that reddish summer hide.

    If I was going to do a whole hide I would look for partners to share the cost and product.

    However with that siad I now just buy what I need looking to collect a wide range of dyed colors to match my tying needs. I use my time for other activities including feather collecting.

    Tight lines
  6. Davy Active Member

    Posts: 2,021
    SIlverton, OR
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    As told how by a friend.......On a deer hide I simply get all the fat off and as clean as possible , lay it out on .a rainy day 'till it's soaked and pliable then soak it agin in a bucket with a box of baking soda added, then I nail it (pin it if you will) stretched as tight as possible on a sheet of plywood then let it dry in the garage.It can then be cut up into dyable sizes. Whle stiffer than a tanned hide I believe the hair quality is better. Doing one now even
  7. seanengman Trout have no politics

    Posts: 966
    davenport, wa
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    That baking soda idea doesn't sound half bad. I think I'll try it some time.