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Thread: Stiff deer hide

  1. #1
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    Stiff deer hide

    I have a nice Sika Stag skin that I did with the Leders tanning kit but it seems I let it dry too much (stretched out in a frame) as I assumed the leather lube would soften it up. It didnít. So now itís as stiff as a sheet of 7mm ply and too hard to work it over a post so my plan is as follows, please let me know if this sounds about right or what a better approach might beÖ
    1. Lay down a tarp with the skin on, chuck some wood under the four sides to make a shallow bath then hose it down and soak for a bit. Will add some salt if it ends up soaking. Hoping it will soften enough to roll or fold up.
    2. Ring it out and Whack it in a rubbish sack and either put it in the fridge over night or leave out for a Waikato winter night to chill and sweat.
    3. Try dry it out a bit slower and work it over a wooden rail as it does dry.
    4. Rub down with neatsfoot oil
    5. Work over the rail, add more oil, more rail, more oilÖ probably have a go with a pumice stone at some point too.
    6. Finish with some talcum powder on the leather side to sort any excess oil.

    Thoughts? Better ideas?
    Any power tool tricks like a wire brush or disk on a grinder?
    Will the neatsfoot oil turn it yellowish? Is there a better alternative product such as more leather lube/moisturiser?

  2. #2
    Member Billbob's Avatar
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    Others who have used that tanning system will know better.

    I would take an orbital sander to it and thin any thick spots and make it uniform as possible and then try more oil and breaking
    RacksandRods likes this.

  3. #3
    Member Louie's Avatar
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    I'd do what @Billbob suggests and sand down until its as thin as paper, then apply the lube/oil
    RacksandRods likes this.

  4. #4
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    sand as necessary and use lanolin hand cream on it.
    RacksandRods likes this.

  5. #5
    Member Ftx325's Avatar
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    I almost got caught out with the leders kit also.
    The trick with it is to start the softening process with lube before the skin dries off to much , every day (works for me anyway)
    I use a 4x2 and just work the lube in with the end of the length of wood and just scrubbing around randomly on the ground with a fair bit of weight pressing down.
    Your idea to redampen and relube might work if you try the 4x2 maybe.....
    RacksandRods likes this.
    born to hunt - forced to work

  6. #6
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    lots and lots of great you tube videos on this very subject - many advocate for a stiff hide soaking in a salt water solution before working the hide - yeah goes against anything I ever knew about hides and it was basically dont get it wet - but certainly lots of advice on there - just you tube this and away ya go

  7. #7
    Member mopheadrob's Avatar
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    Let us know how you get on please - I had exactly the same experience with a tahr skin recently, currently debating whether to chuck it out

  8. #8
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    You need to paint the lube on while the skin is wet. I never tack the skin out, but put a thick towel on a table and put the skin hair side down on it to dry out. I use the breaking tool to push (break) the hide by pushing outeards from the middle of the skin. The skin is ready to break when it goes a darker blue (in patches) and turns light blue when you stretch it. Tacking it out is just another job you don't need to do! If you push the tool from the middle of the skin to the edges it holds it's shape. I also break the skins over a wooden breaking stake. Hope this helps

    Name:  soft.jpg
Views: 111
Size:  1.05 MB

    This small goat skin was broken for about 5 mins, 3x a day, for about 3 days to get this soft. It was mostly broken with the breaking tool and when mostly dry, over the breaking stake. I just need to lightly sand it and trim the outline

    Name:  stake.jpg
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    My breaking stake
    Micky Duck, Jukes and Billbob like this.

  9. #9
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    Awesome cheers lads (and ladettes?!).
    My plan was devised after some YouTube-ing and Googling
    Being a stag the leather is pretty thick up around the neck so will try thin it out while it is still stiff, then rehydrate, then break it in as it dries this time.
    I recall the ‘blue stage’ and worried I had mucked things up so good to know that the time to get stuck in.
    Won’t be getting into it in any hurry but will try remember to report back …

    Any feedback on the use of Neatsfoot oil, or is the line/hand cream a better option?

  10. #10
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    @RacksandRods The Leders tan kit comes with a tanning lube. Use that prior to breaking. It's really good stuff. I wouldn't stuff about with anything else. Re the thickness, you really need to thin it down prior to tanning, or after tanning but before oiling and breaking
    RacksandRods likes this.

  11. #11
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    My latest Leder tanned goat skin oiled and now drying before breaking

    Name:  oiled.jpg
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