Home Tanning

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16 years 7 months ago #628 by Kiwi303
Home Tanning was created by Kiwi303
What recipes do you all use? I've got 4 rabbit skins in an acid tan as i type, experimenting with home tanning of domestic rabbits, I've always tossed the wild rabbit skins I shot out with the guts after dressing them, what i've noticed froom this already is the skins are far thinner and finer than possum skins.

So far i've done in the past:

Possum skins: Kerosene and baking soda; Boracic acid.
Goat skins: Kerosene and baking soda; vegetable tanning, Pine, acacia and oak barks, pine and acacia barks.
Sheepskin: Rawhide.

Currently:
Rabbit skins: Salt and battery acid

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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16 years 7 months ago #48148 by Jack
Replied by Jack on topic Home Tanning
Gidday

Well mate I have always used the Leder tanning kit:-
www.outdoorsupplies.co.nz/tanningproducts.htm#leder

You can end up with really professional looking results. When our children were really small I made several things outa bunny hide as at the time I was on the Bubby Board in Central Otago.

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16 years 6 months ago #48455 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Home Tanning
I hope you both keep this thread up to date with your projects, I really want to learn how to tan possum skins to make them into the really big fur blankets one sees at the airport etc.
There are a family of possums around us with the lovely dark red/brownish fur, would look great in a couple of rugs if I can get the other half to stop shooting them so they can breed ;)!

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16 years 6 months ago #48850 by Jen - Featherston
Replied by Jen - Featherston on topic Home Tanning
I've done 2 sheepskins one dark brown and the other white. I use the ledretters kit as well and found it easy. The leather came out very soft and pliable but the white pelt came out with a blue tint - a tip for anyone doing tanning of sheep skin - get the pelt shorn on a long trim first and it will make a much more professional finish and use less solution and weight.

Sometimes its not only what you say, its the way you say it that counts.

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16 years 6 months ago #48900 by Jack
Replied by Jack on topic Home Tanning
Gidday

Yeah, but it is only the leather with that light blue colour, or you have done something wrong.

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16 years 6 months ago #49176 by Kiwi303
Replied by Kiwi303 on topic Home Tanning

quote:Originally posted by swaggie
I hope you both keep this thread up to date with your projects

Well the bunnies skins have been out of the solution for almost a week now, hanging over the towel rail in the bathroom to dry, so far so good

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16 years 6 months ago #49540 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Home Tanning
What does the acid tan actual do? And how does it do it without affected the fur?

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16 years 6 months ago #49570 by Kiwi303
Replied by Kiwi303 on topic Home Tanning
All tans work by chemicly changing the collagen of the skin. and most tans are acidic. I'm not suure how the sulphuric acid in the battery acid and the sodium chloride in the salt combine to affect the skin structure. It's over my head there. But from playing with 4 skins from rabbits Rabbitnutz gave me as too small and scungy for her to bother keeping, theres few different things that can go wrong [:P] playing around on the braintan.com site reading all the articles introduced a new factor for me. Oils, like tack oils from the saddle shop.

I did 4 skins, all went into the acid/salt recipe. www.motherearthnews.com/DIY/1983-01-01/H...an-Rabbit-Hides.aspx
of the 4:
* one I left as-is while drying, I did nothing to it other than hang it on the clotheshorse and leave it to dry.
* one I stretched and worked as it dried, rubbing it over a worn-smooth rounded point of a chair arm, ut did not use any oils.
* one I mixed up a bit of olive oil and canola oil with 4x that volume of water and a little dishwash liquid and shook up, the Dishwash caused the oils to mix with the water, then i painted the oil mix over the flesh side of the skin and left to dry, re-coating as the oil was absorbed.
*one I both coated with oil and then worked and stretched.

Of the 4, the one left to dry came out hard and crackly, the one worked without oils came up quite soft in places but cracky in others where it had dried without sufficient working, the one coated with the oil mix and left came up feeling like thick leather, but fairly crackly, ut it doesn't sound like it wants to snap as it moves. The final one, which I both oiled and stretched/worked as it dried, has come up nice and soft and feels like a well made leather jacket :D all of them have good fur. I'll definately be trying again with neetsfoot oil.

the oil & dishwash liquid mix is a replacement for tanning oils, ut is a poor mans subsistute, I didn't have the chance to get some proper sulphonated tanning oils or neatsfoot oil to use. I'll have to pick up a pot of neetsfoot oil next time I'm in town. An interesting sidear I found while googling neetsfoot oil. The same ingredient that does the work, P-something-or-other-latin acid is Omega-9 oil, approximately 17%, the same ingredient is foundin Macadamia nut oil (22%) and Sea Buckthorn oil (40%). Macadamia nut oil can be had organic as a baby skin oil [:P]

To aid in keeping the hair on skins if you happen to be using a chromium ased tanning solution, pickling the skins in a acid bath for a day before the immersion in the tannig mix both tightens the follicules around the hairs helping keep the hairs on and also opens the pores of the skin which aids the asorption of the tanning solution.

The old sequence to make leather was to "buck" the hides in an alkaline lime bath to losen the hair, and then scrape the hair off. Next the hairless hide went into a tub of water and either pigeon, chook, or dog **** to "bate" the hide, the enzymes in the dung ate the membranes and other materials inside the hides such as the glands and hair moving muscles and the ammonia from the dung altered the lime residues which had bound with the hides to another form that was easily rinsed out. After the bating stage was a rinse and then the pickle, where the hide was soaked in acids and salt for a while to open the skins pores and ring the PH down further. Finally the skins went into a weak solution of the tanning liquors, from which after a while they were moved to a tub with stronger solutions and then onwards again... a full grown bull hide could take 6 to 18 months. finally they were removed from the mixes upon eing tanned through, and were worked and stretched as they dried to separate and move the collagen fibres composing the skin untill the skin was fully dry and flexible

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16 years 6 months ago #49784 by Kiwi303
Replied by Kiwi303 on topic Home Tanning
Well the skins are out of the lime solution, nearly all the hair has come off, theres only a few whiskers left spotted here and there :D Since the one big skin i did came out so well and i'm going to be pinched for time i decided to just do the one skin and tossed out the second big skin, the 24 hour old kidskin cleaned up beautiful, everything just wiped off like it was never there.

Next is to bate them for a few days in chicken **** and water to dissolve the mucus and membrane.

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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16 years 6 months ago #49876 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Home Tanning
What do you do with the remaining solutions Kiwi303, can they be re-used/recycled?

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16 years 6 months ago #49976 by Kiwi303
Replied by Kiwi303 on topic Home Tanning
the tannign solutions can be spread along gravel paths and drives and the acids and salts will help keep the weeds under control, generally if you follow the amounts in the links the amount of solution is right for the amount of skins so theres not too strong a mix left.

the lime and chicken Sh1t solutions for bucking and bating can be spread round the paddocks and gardens respectively and e put to some good use ;)

if doing barktan rather than chemical tan, then the used bark solution can be used to start the next set of leathers (not furs). Tannins in a bark solution if too strong can ind too thickly to the surface layers of the skin and lock the easy penetration of the rest to the centre, so using a weaker solution appearently reduces the prolem somehow... but don't use it for furs, use a full stength brew not a weak one ecause a weaker brew may not be acidic enough to keep the bacteria from setting to work in the skin and causing hair slip.

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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16 years 3 months ago #64425 by Crusha
Replied by Crusha on topic Home Tanning
Kiwi 303

Have you got an update. How did bathing the skins in chook **** go?

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16 years 1 month ago #74617 by Kiwi303
Replied by Kiwi303 on topic Home Tanning
Long time since I've been in this section of the forums. The chook **** worked wonders.
the skins were much softer and more pliable after bating, but I didn't have time to get around to making the tanning solution with the other things going on. But from the reactions of the skins, it was a success.

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15 years 10 months ago #181842 by Kiwi303
Replied by Kiwi303 on topic Home Tanning
Got some more rabbit skins in battery acid now... and a big feral billygoat skin drying on a frame.

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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15 years 10 months ago #185311 by cosseycountry
Replied by cosseycountry on topic Home Tanning
Hi there, we are shortly to move from our lifestyle block (back to town unfortunately) and our daughter is keen to tan her freindly ram's hide. We will probably get the Leder kit or similar. By the time we can get the ram slaughtered we'll be about to shift (2 days later). Can we store the hide until we can process it, and how would we best store it?

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