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How to tan many rabbit hides with little work!

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default How to tan many rabbit hides with little work!

Post by GB on 9th April 2015, 9:51 pm

This method is one I am still inventing but as its going so well, I thought I would share!  Very Happy

Remember two things, one, its a work in progress so results may vary and two, the hide will not be the super quality one produces doing them one at a time by hand but you will get a soft, supple, useable hide with the least possible amount of work.

1) Skin rabbit as normal

2) Flesh hide (put hides into ice water to chill whilst sorting the meat out) REALLY WELL!  I find kids safety scissors work great for this step, just drape hide over the middle of a double sink and snip sideways with the blades.  The connective tissue will lift slightly for snipping while leaving the hide flat.  Go slow, it works.

3) Split the rabbit heads open, wide jawed loppers work best for this.  Skin the back of the skull up to the eyes to get to the bone, loppers wont cut the skin, it just slips off. Scoop out the brains and put into a bag to freeze for later.

 Can we have a zombie emoticon for this step please?  Laughing

4) Take 2 to 3 inch, thin nails and nail hides, fur side DOWN, to a board.  Stretch it nice and tight.  Tap the nails in just enough to hold the nail firm, you don't want to drive it all the way in.  Once nailed, lift the hides up to the head of the nail.  That gives you air space underneath to help the hide dry fastest. Also, before you nail them, roll them into a towel and walk on them, that will force most of the wash water out of them. Did I mention you need to wash them in soap and water? Rinse well, you don't want to leave soap in the fur.

5) Once the hide is/are dry (a fan blowing on them works great to speed them up) take them off the board and put skin side up on a table and thaw your brains. Once thawed, mix them with about the same amount of water and blend well.  Use a basting brush to brush the mix onto the hides and let sit.  You are trying to dampen them, not soak them.

6) Put your hides and all the shoes you have (well, within reason) in the house into your tumble dryer, set it on AIR DRY ONLY!!!!! and brace the door and turn it on.  And then on again, and again and again, for several hours.  

The combo of the shoes bashing the dampened hides breaks them nicely.

7) Once broken and soft and supple, place in heavy smoke, but no heat, for about an hour.  You want to keep the fur away from the smoke so as to not stain the fur but get the smoke well in the hide side so I find  if I staple the hides to newspaper to cover the fur all the way, I can just lay them down on the shelves of my smoker but I have seen them tacked to boards and leaned up on the down wind side of a small smoky fire to do the same job.

And hey PRESTO!  Rabbit hides turned into furs, 6 at a time, in less than two days! happydance

Again, you will not get the ultra white, suede hide of hand done, but by gum, you get a great hide with very little work for all your crafty projects.

................................................................................................................................
Laugh and the world laughs with you, laugh hysterically, for no apparent reason, and they'll leave you alone!

The Gods answer all our prayers. Unfortunately, sometimes, the answer is no!

"When in doubt, choose to live!"
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GB
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default Re: How to tan many rabbit hides with little work!

Post by Ploshkin on 10th April 2015, 4:57 pm

Well, I can't see me ever wanting to do that GB but it is still interesting to hear how you do it. The nearest I come is skinning a lamb to make a jacket for an adoptee but by the time the jacket is finished with it is only fit for the bonfire. What do you do with the hides?

What is the purpose of painting the hide with the brain goo?
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default Re: How to tan many rabbit hides with little work!

Post by Chilli-head on 10th April 2015, 5:06 pm

Yes, I was wondering what the chemistry of the brain tanning is. I have heard of it before but not in detail.

Although I usually say ttiwwp , I think I'm happy without on this occasion !
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default Re: How to tan many rabbit hides with little work!

Post by GB on 10th April 2015, 11:07 pm

Ploshkin wrote:Well, I can't see me ever wanting to do that GB but it is still interesting to hear how you do it.  The nearest I come is skinning a lamb to make a jacket for an adoptee but by the time the jacket is finished with it is only fit for the bonfire.  What do you do with the hides?

What is the purpose of painting the hide with the brain goo?

The oils in the brain coat the fibers of the hide to make it soft and supple. The smoke also gets into the fibers and helps preserve it.

So far I havnt don't anything with the hides but the plan is a blanket. I was up to 4 hand done hides but the dogs got tehm, this way its not such a loss if the dogs do it again. Of course, I did tell them last time that if it happens again, THEY will be the blanket instead. Evil or Very Mad

................................................................................................................................
Laugh and the world laughs with you, laugh hysterically, for no apparent reason, and they'll leave you alone!

The Gods answer all our prayers. Unfortunately, sometimes, the answer is no!

"When in doubt, choose to live!"
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GB
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Location : Georgia

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