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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-13-2007, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Montana!
Posts: 2,214

I have a small bear hide I want to tan and Im looking for some tanning solution recipes,I have done bear before with a prepackaged tanning solution and I would like to try one with my own solution,I have alum,borax and pickiling salt,I know these are common ingrediants but i cant find a solution recipe for a single hide and a hair on tan.Any help would be appreciated.

If it aint fair chase its FOUL,and illegal in my state!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-02-2007, 03:01 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Mukwonago, Wisconsin
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I know the guy that does my work uses formic acid for tanning. He does mostly mounts, so the leather doesn't get broken. Dries hard. But breaking it shouldn't be a problem, just need to tumble it while it dries. We are going to do a few coyote pelts in my old drier w/ sawdust. Will let you kno how that goes.


"I have tried to live my life so that my family would love me and my friends respect me. The others can do whatever the **** they please. --John Wayne
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-13-2007, 11:25 PM
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Location: North Arkansas
Posts: 862

I don't know the penalty for plagiarism but I copied this off another site. Just don't take the hair off your bear hide. I have tanned deer hides with this method and I have some 20 yr. old buckskin that is still in good condition.

Tanning Hides

Skin your animal, keeping the hide in one piece. Make cuts on the insides of the legs if possisble: This will add to the attractiveness of your finished hide. While skinning, try not to cut holes into the skin because this will be difficult to repair and can be hard to work around.

After the hide is removed from the carcass, be sure to skin the tail as well. The bones should be removed by making a cut along the underside of the tail.

Follow the 7 steps outlined below:

Step 1
The first and most important step in tanning your hide is to remove the fat, membranous tissue and any remaining flesh from the skin. This is done by laying the hide on some type of raised surface such as a sawhorse and scraping the flesh side with a long bladed knife. It is important that your knife be sharp and that every last bit of tissue is removed from the skin. If any tissue is left on the hide, it will not tan in those areas. If you plan to tan the hide with the hair on, skip steps 2&3 and proceed with step 4. If you plan to remove the hair and tan the hide into a "buckskin", go to step 2.

Step 2
To remove the hair from the hide and make a buckskin, do the following:
In a large plastic garbage can mix: 1 gallon of hardwood ashes
2 pounds of household (slaked) lime
5 gallons of warm water

Stir the above mixture until it is dissolved. Completely immerse the skin in the mixture. Stir the mixture 2 or 3 times a day until the hair comes off easily. This will take 2 to 3 days. If the hide is left in the mixture too long, it will begin to deteriorate. Go to step 3.

Step 3
Rinse the hide with water. Place the hide on a raised surface with the hair side up. Use the back of a knife blade to scrape off the hair. Rinse the dehaired skin several times with clean water. Soak the hide for 24 hours in the garbage can in a mixture of 10 gallons water and 2 quarts vinegar. Stir this mixture with the hide in it every few hours. At the end of this 24 hour period, empty the garbage can and fill it with clean water. Soak the hide in the clean water overnight. Go to step 4.

Step 4
In a small plastic bucket, dissolve 1 pound of alum (I get it at the drugstore) in one gallon of warm water. In the garbage can, dissolve 2 1/2 pounds of salt (non-iodized) in 4 gallons of water. Pour the solution from the small bucket into the garbage can and mix thoroughly. Immerse the skin and soak for 6 to 8 days. Stir the mixture 2 times each day to make sure that all parts of the hide are exposed to the mixture. After the soaking period, remove the skin and drain it thoroughly. Rinse the skin with running water for approximately 15 minutes. Go to step 5

Step 5
Tack the wet hide to a flat surface such as a sheet of plywood. If you have opted to leave the hair on the hide, tack the skin on the surface with the flesh side facing out. Keep the skin out of the sun but allow it to partially dry. When the skin is almost dry, rub it with a light coating of warm neat's-foot oil. Remove it from the board and repeat the process on the other side. Remove excess oil from the hide with an absorbant cloth. Proceed to step 6

Step 6
Dampen the skin with a moist cloth. DO NOT get the hide too wet! Rub the skin over a dull edge such as a saw horse until it is supple and soft like a chamois cloth. As the softening progresses SPARINGLY apply some warm neat's-foot oil to the hide. If you are working with a hide with the hair still on, only work on the flesh side. Proceed to step 7

Step 7
After the hide has been softened, rub some fine grit sandpaper over every square inch of exposed skin to smooth the surface. Only do the flesh side of hides with the hair still on. When the hide takes on a smooth appearance, it is ready to be used as a rug, wall hanging, or sewn into some other type of useful item.

It's a *&%# of a chore, but it'll bring you a lot of satisfaction over the following years
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-19-2007, 09:05 PM
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Location: SW Iowa
Posts: 551

I wanted to go "organic" with my tan so several 5 gallon buckets of oak bark were cut off and soaked in water and the "tea" strained into clean buckets. Removed the hair with lime, rinsed well in a stream for 2 days and then put the hide in 1/4 strength bark tea for a week, stirring frequently. Increase to 1/2 strength tea for a week and finally full power tea for 2 weeks. This forms a dark,thick and strong, hard leather good for belts holsters and the like.

Preserve the Loess Hills!!!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 03:00 PM
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Location: Bulverde, Tx
Posts: 414

After removing hair with the hydrated lime, soak and rinse the hide in a solution of lactic acid. This will kill the lime leaving the leather stronger. Just rinsing with water may not remove all the lime. It has to be neutralized. An Alkali needs to be neutralized by an acid. And vise versa.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-30-2010, 10:53 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: PA
Posts: 55

hey sounds like great help here guys i jsut book marked this. looking at getting into pred. hunting and would like to do some of my own furs plus maybe make some buckskin items.
thanks for sharing.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 12:42 AM
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Location: LaGrange, Ga.
Posts: 6,753

If you want to do a "hair on" don't use the lime. It wil cook the hair and you will have to remove it. You can brain tan the hide if you killed the animal. Just clean, scrape and dry the hide on a stretcher. Use a liberal coating of salt on the hide side only. Meanwhile save the brains in the freezer. When the hide is dryed rinse well with water and go over the hide lightly with a wire brush. Boil the brain until it is the consistency of cream of chicken soup. Fold the hide with the bare side up over a sawhorse. Best to round the edges of the 2x4 on the saw horse. Work the boiled brain solution into the skin, making sure to cover all of it well. Reverse the hide and with hair side up, begin working it back and forth over the rounded 2x4 until it is soft and supple.

Another method is to "pickle" the hide with white vinegar. Add one gallon of vinegar to 5 gallons of water. You will need a large enough tub to hold the hide and enough solution to completely cover it. After cleaning the hide, fold it around a large rock, and tie it with cotton cord. Immerse in the vinegar solution. After 3 days, make up fresh solution. Untie the hide and rinse well with cold water, then respak in the new solution Repeat 3 times. This will leave the hide preserved, but stiff. You can use either the brain solution, or glycerin hand lotion to soften the hide.

Where is the ammo?
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 11:31 PM
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I was always a fan of using a 50/50 mix of turpentine and denatured alcohol to soak for a week and then oiled after drying the hide. Shake/stir often.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-09-2010, 05:00 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 89

Man, just go to Mckenzies website and order the stuff or you are asking for trouble.You are really better off th send it to a tannery.

" A woman's breast is the hardest rock the almighty ever put on this earth and I can find no sign on it!"_ Will Geer (Bearclaw Chris Lapp) from Jeremiah Johnson.[/quote]
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