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  • 1 Post By MikeB

Thread: Tanning / Curing Hides at home cheaply?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016

    Tanning / Curing Hides at home cheaply?

    Hi Everyone

    New to the forum, meet a few of you at Toby's 2km shoot. What an awesome weekend!!!!!

    I was wondering if anyone here has done any tanning/curing?

    I have recently had a go with a goat skin using Kero and baking soda and seems to have worked out alright, little bit stiff but I'm fairly happy with it and had a lot of fun with it.

    I washed the skin, salted it , scraped it ,stretched it out , applied kero and baking soda a few times, gave it a work over with a bit of pumice and left it in the sun one afternoon.

    Are there better ways to cure a skin other than kero and baking soda or a better way to do it?
    I'm not really interested in buying a tanning kit that does one skin for $60 - $80 but there seems to be a lack of places that sell tanning supplies here in NZ.

    I have read about people applying vegetable oil on the skin at the end ?? I haven't , should I or use something else?

    My dad runs Scottish Highland cattle on the farm and we have a skin or 2 in the freezer, anyone here ever done a cow hide? Can it be done at home, or will it become a fluffy piece of plywood?

    Here's a couple of pictures what I ended up with, any advice/help would be great.


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  2. #2
    MSL is offline
    Member MSL's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    The kits can make up a lot of tanning solution, my sister did 4 goat skins in a big plastic bin, probably could have fit a couple more

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Hey mate grab a bit of 4x2 and work the skin over it to break up the fibres and it'll soften up. Kero and baking soda works just fine but word of warning, don't carpet a hut with them or the rats will tear out all the hair for nests and make one unbelievable god damn mess

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  4. #4
    Member Dundee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Way East of D'Vagas
    Hi Brando like Mike B said once you have the skin cured beat the fuck out of it.I use a piece of alkathene it breaks the fibres down.Had a possom skin cured in 84 think it got biffed in 98
    "Thats not a knife, this is a knife"
    Rule 2: Always point firearms in a safe direction

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  5. #5
    MIA somewhere in Nam 300CALMAN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Reluctantly JAFA
    I have used one of these:

    Tanning Products - Hunting and Outdoor Supplies

    6Kg of wet skin is quite a lot. I have done a few goats, rabbits and hares and still have some left.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Kero and baking soda isn't really tanning. Just stops it rotting. Bark tanning works. But a lot of work.

  7. #7
    Member Kiwi-Hunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    tanning and pickle mix

    Here is a mix I was given that works well, Tanning is a lot of work in my book.
    Still if you get into a flow and have the time, these products are cheap the salt is un iodized.
    You will still have to work and brake the hide after tanning.
    Anything else you what to know ask (the forum)
    PM me if you have questions and I will try and answer them.

    (Keep you mixture at about 20deg C)
    100 grams of salt to each litre of water (do about 5 litres for a possum)
    Add formic acid until water is ph 2
    Add the skin and stir often (not hard)for the first couple of hours
    soak small skins for a day or two, remove and see if you can get any more membrane and fat from the skin.

    Keep at about 20deg C
    100 grams of salt per litre of water (do 5litres again)
    Add Novaltan until ph 3.5 to 4
    Soak for a day for small skins

    Remove from the tan and spin dry (or leave to drip for an hour or two)
    Should be tanned and ready to mount .
    The Voice of Reason, Come let us Reason together...

  8. #8
    P38 is offline
    Member P38's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Check out this brain tanning website for some good tips and techniques.

    Braintan.com: Natural Hide Tanning and Leathercraft

    Back in the 80s I did some goat skins using a tannin tea made from leaves and bark.

    After the skins had been tanned and dried then we oiled them with neats foot oil before breaking the skins over a half round post to soften them and be prepared to put in a lot of elbow grease during the softening process.

    Arguing with an Engineer is like Wrestling a Pig in Mud.

    After awhile you realise the Pig loves it.

  9. #9
    Member Ryan_Songhurst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    South Island
    Have seen skins tanned using eggs which worked pretty well, the reason brain tanning works is due to the protiens found in the brain, and much the same protiens can be found in eggs.
    Theres a youtube video of a bloke doing it, tans using eggs, then "cures" the skin over a smoky fire before working it to soften.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    A skin I did recently Brando with Alum & salt tanning

    I use Leaders Leather lube to break the skin ,apply a coat while skin is drying.
    Available from Hunting & Outdoor supplies ,500ml will do 2 or 3 Fallow size skins .
    Gun control means using both hands



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