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Old 11-08-2005, 11:49 AM   #1
Abalone
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Default Elk Hides

Somebody suggested I try tanning.

I mean I am into the traditional stuff sorta. My buddy killed a doe over the weekend but the skin was tattered up pretty good. He shot it twice and it just didn't look worth saving. However: Elk season is this weekend.

Assuming I wanted to save a skin and take it in for tanning what do I do with it ? Cover it with Rock Salt ? or

Has any of you tried tanning your own skin ? Is it worth the hassle ? Too much trouble ? What ?

I'd love to have a smoked tanned leather Blanket.....

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Old 11-08-2005, 12:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Elk Hides

In my Daniel Boone youth I did some buck skins but it was a lot of work not sure about having it tanned commercialy. You would definatly want the hide salted or frozen? Get all the meat off you can. The hide will ooz so be prepared for that. To do your own buckskin you will have to slip the hair and tan the hide and then oil and it and soften it.

It has been a number of years since I did this somebody else will have a better answer or call a Taxidermist (sp).
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Old 11-08-2005, 12:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: Elk Hides

Thanks ehunter:

I have been searching some sites and it looks rather labor intensive. I am not afraid of that. There's a very good chance we will get some elk down this weekend. I might take a stab at it ?
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Old 11-08-2005, 01:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: Elk Hides

Tanning is labor intensive but not complicated. Probably best to order a tanning kit from Vandykes or Cabelas. Chrome tan is good and Lutan-F is good and a bit better. If you realy want to go mountain man you could brain tan the hide with the animals brain. This involves making a cream out of the brain and rubbing it on the hide. Probably look it up on the internet. For the comercialy produced soak style tans you will need a large plastic barrel. A rubbermade garbage can or a pickling barrel work well. I have never tried the Cream tan Cabelas sells. It might not work on the thicker parts of an elk hide. Cabelas gets thier stuff from Vandykes so probably cheaper to go direct.

One way to take alot of the labor out of home tanning is to dry and soften the hide in a dryer set on "No Heat". If you are maried I would recomend picking up an old used dryer at a garage sale and using that. The lint trap often fills with dead ticks and other assorted bugs, not to mention the slight odor left behind from the wet hide. Wives tend to not like this sorta thing in thier dryer.
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Old 11-08-2005, 01:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Elk Hides

At the cabin there's no electricty or running water.
I am wondering is you can do things in steps.
Say: Go ahead and do the soaking process after removing the meat and fat.

Store the skin till the next weekend somehow:
Then remove hair the next weekend or so.

I wouldn't mind spending the weekend working like this.

One site I read said that the indians would leave the skin in a creek overnight or a day or two to soften it before removing the skin..

What do you think ?
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Old 11-08-2005, 01:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Elk Hides

Not sure about the indians. You can salt the hide with pickling salt and keep it pretty much forever without problems as long as you keep it dry.

I would recomend:

Get the elk. Keep the hide as clean as possible. Take it to the cabin and flesh it as good as you have time. Then lay it on a sloped surface hair down and cover ALL SKIN with a good quarter inch of salt(you will need 5 pounds or so for an elk hide). The salt will pull the moisture out of the hide and it needs to run off. this is the reason for the slope. The next day brush all the salt off and continue fleshing. The salting will make the fleshing a bit easier. Then resalt the hide again with a fairly heavy sprinkle. This should pull the remaining moisture out and the hide will be shrunk and a bit stiff. Once it is fully drained fold it hair to hair and place in a plastic bag and keep it cool and dry until you have time to tan it. It will keep for months salted. This is for a hair on hide.

For hair off the above may work but the salt will set the hair and this may not be ideal. For hair off you will have to use a slaked lime or comercial solution to remove the hair. Salting may hinder this, you should read up on it first. Another option is to keep the hide cool and dry for a few days until you can freeze it. It will keep frozen till you get a chance to tan it.

I will look into it and post again. Its bean a few years since I did a hair off tan job.
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Old 11-08-2005, 01:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: Elk Hides

Here is a link to a Lutan-F kit and a De-hairing kit. I dont think salting will affect the performance of the de-hairing kit, but again best to research.

http://www.vandykestaxidermy.com/product/01001975/

http://www.vandykestaxidermy.com/product/01348167/
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Old 11-08-2005, 02:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: Elk Hides

The method I used was a sufluric acid solution with alumn but it was a home brew. We used to use wood ash alder to be exact and soak the hide in the wood ash for a few days and it will start to slip. The tanning kit is probably the way to go. I tried the brain method once on a deer hide. I did not finish that hide.
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Old 11-08-2005, 04:46 PM   #9
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Default Re: Elk Hides

Creek method...soak the skin in the creek till the hair slips out. YES THIS WORKS!...but only for leather tanning, obviously. It really is the best way to remove the hair!!

I have tried tanning on my own, away from the shop I worked at. I have been successful with hair on tanning but it always turns out too stiff...never soft like when it comes back from the shop. I have used several methods but all worked about the same....I would end up with a skin with the hair on as stiff as a board.

Here is what I can tell you for sure...if you are taking you hide to a taxidermist to get tanned into leather...it is really hard to screw it up. Scrape as much meat off as you can, and if you are to lazy to scrape the meat, just cross hatch it with your knife a bunch so that the salt will penetrate everywhere. If you get it to the taxi before it starts to rot you'll be fine!!

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Old 11-09-2005, 05:34 AM   #10
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Default Re: Elk Hides

slaked lime ????

I have seen this term used before. What is Slaked Lime and where can I get it ?

Thanks
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Old 11-09-2005, 05:44 AM   #11
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Default Re: Elk Hides

I stop and see Angelo at Angelos tannery every other month or so and he has hides stacked with salt on the fleshy side for months while they are waiting to be gotten to.
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Old 11-09-2005, 06:05 AM   #12
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Default Re: Elk Hides

Oregon glove in Salem is where I take my hides. Not sure what the cost is for elk, but the deer hides with hair on are 55 bucks. If you tan it yourself, I would love to see the finished product. Keep us updated...
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Old 11-09-2005, 07:46 AM   #13
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Default Re: Elk Hides

Abalone, I have taned a couple of hides my self with some degree of sucess. If you want to have the hyde taned it can be expensive!! for deer or elk hyde depending on the quality of the tan. If you plan to do it in stages it can make it tough, and you need to decide if you want the hair on or off the hyde, once you have figured that out then you need a process of which there are many of them some work better than others.
I use a sulfuric tan process on the hyde's that I have done and they turn out real nice and the hyde is useable after the process is done, where some require more work to make the hyde useable.
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Old 11-09-2005, 07:57 AM   #14
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Default Re: Elk Hides

Quote:


I have tried tanning on my own, away from the shop I worked at. I have been successful with hair on tanning but it always turns out too stiff...never soft like when it comes back from the shop. I have used several methods but all worked about the same....I would end up with a skin with the hair on as stiff as a board.

That's because you forgot the most important part Jon, you got to chew it for a while!!!!
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Old 11-09-2005, 08:29 AM   #15
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Default Re: Elk Hides

Slaked lime = Builders lime= Hydrated lime = Ca(OH)2 = Calcium Hydroxide

It is used for water treatment so you may take that route to find it. Or a scientific supply store may have it. Or a tannery supply store.

Mix with water at about 2 cups per 5 gallons of water.
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Old 11-09-2005, 10:50 AM   #16
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Default Re: Elk Hides

Elk hides are spendy. To buy one I think they go for around $350.00.

If I did one it would be more about " Been there done that "

The Brain tanning or smoked Tan Buckskin seems the most appealing. I met a gal that was Blackfoot and she tanned her own Buckskin and made moccasins sewed with Beads.
Very impressive


It seems to me the hard part is Scrapping and getting the hair off. Once you have that it's a piece of Cake.

Rank amateur: I wouldn't chew it myself, I would cut it up in little piece and give to the guys at work and call it Jerky......
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