Q:

What are some simple methods for tanning deer hides?

A:

Quick Answer

To tan a deer hide with vinegar, use a knife to remove any flesh from the skin, lay the skin on a flat surface, and cover the skin-side of the hide with salt. After 24 hours, soak the hide in clean water for two hours before placing the hide in a mixture of vinegar, water and salt. Allow the hide to soak in the vinegar mixture for three days, stirring frequently, and rinse the hide with baking soda and water.

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Full Answer

To make the vinegar mixture, combine equal parts vinegar and water, and add 2 pounds of salt for each gallon of liquid. Stir the mixture several times each day, and rinse the hide with a combination of 4 gallons of water and 2 cups of baking soda for 40 minutes before rinsing with clean water.

Dry the hide with a towel, rub it with tanning oil, and fold it half. Allow the hide to remain undisturbed overnight, and hang it until it is dry. Rub the skin-side of the hide back and forth over a sawhorse until it is soft and supple.

Alternately, tack the hide to a piece of wood after soaking it in vinegar, and allow the hide to partially dry in a shady location. Rub the hide with fat liquor oil, and rub it over a sawhorse to soften it. Apply additional oil to the hide if necessary.

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