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Thread: how to tan rabbit hide

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Default how to tan rabbit hide

    hey up i have loads of rabbit skins that are not normaly used and think its a bit of a waste and would like to amend this and start tanning them.

    BUT HOW???????

    Your comments please oh and no chemicals please ta chris.......

  2. #2

    Default

    Seem to remember egg being massaged into the flesh side. I've dried deer hide with salt.
    When you find a good recipe let me know.

  3. #3
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    Default

    ooh this was on river cottage if i remember right they used egg and massaged it in then kept stretching it over their knee's infront of an open fire turns out a bit like shammy leather.

    i believe brain can also be used?
    All weather is walking weather!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    buckinghamshire
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    Default

    I do my tanning in a pay as you go booth for that sun kissed look, but not sure they allow you to take rabbits in

    Seriously tho, rubbing salt in will dry it but wont be as soft. Brain works but doubt you have keep the heads, it more of a deer think i think. I saw the hugh/river cottage bit with the eggs that looked good. try going on to the channel 4 website so see if you can still stream that episode as it was nt that long ago, or try youtube

    Steve
    No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn....

  5. #5

    Default rabbit pelts

    Hi,

    This is how I do it with eggs.

    First scrape the flesh side of the pelt with a dull drawknife type implement to remove any membrane and flesh. Underneath the pink membrane you will see that the skin is slightly mottled and this is the surface you want to get back to. Sometimes you can peel this membrane off but you do stand a chance of ripping the delicate pelt. Be careful at the edges where the skin is thinner or you'll tear holes in it. Also, drape your pelt over a round, smooth log to scrape it, securing it by pinching the top of the pelt between your mid section and the top of the log then pushing away from you with the de-fleshing tool.

    Next, whip up a whole egg (or the brain of the rabbit) in a bowl with a little warm water and tip it onto the flesh side of the pelt, rubbing it in for as long as possible. If you've got time, fold the pelt over flesh side to flesh side and leave it somewhere cool for a while, maybe even overnight. Don't leave the pelt damp for any longer than that or the hair may start to slip.

    When you come to dry the pelt, pat it with an old tea towel to soak up any excess moisture. It should feel cold and clammy but not slippery. Slippery means that it's retaining too much moisture and will take ages to dry fully so keep soaking up the moisture with the towel. Now you have to work the pelt as it dries. Sit somewhere fairly warm - next to the campfire or woodburner, but don't force dry the pelt or it'll come out hard. Using fingertips pull and stretch it side to side, top to bottom, they're pretty stretchy at this point. After a bit you will notice some areas, when stretched will whiten. Feel these bits - they should feel cool and soft but not clammy like the rest of the skin. As you work, more and more of the skin will turn white - you need to achieve this white, soft look all over the pelt. Any thicker areas can be rubbed back and forth over a sharp (ish) wooden edge like the back of a chair. It's quite a lot of pulling and stretching but the time soon goes when you're chatting or listening to the radio. As long as every fibre is stretched as it dries, your pelt will be lovely and soft just like the chemically cured ones.

    Then smoke it to 'set' the work you've done and ensure that the pelt stays soft if it ever gets damp again. Do this by suspending it up in the smokey eaves of your camp shelter when next out in the woods or make a proper smoker of some sort. Hardwood chippings mixed with a little punky (rotten but dry) birch is great. The longer you smoke it, the darker the flesh side will go. A tan/buff colour is about perfect but any amount of smoking is good.

    Good luck and a Happy New Year to you!

  6. #6

    Default

    cheers for this tutorial Joe - i have also wondered hows it done and plan on giving this a try as soon as i can get hold of some bunnies.

    cheers

  7. #7

    Default

    Hey Joe - you're a star! :-) I've still got my bunny pelts from using your method.
    The Stone Age was defined by the clever use of crude tools.
    The Information Age is being defined by the crude use of clever tools.

  8. #8

    Default River cottage

    Brilliant! Glad it worked for you. Just the same as most bushcrafty activities you have to put the ticking clock of modern society out of your mind and just accept that it takes as long as it takes and can't be rushed. Perseverance pays off eventually.

    The production team at River Cottage weren't going along with that one though...

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Talking

    awsome thanks joe will give it a go with the brain next time out. will let you all know how i get on when i get round to it thanks again to all chris and happy bushey new year.....

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Robbing tombs in the deep south of Manannins Isle.
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    Default

    Why dont you make one of those Canadian trapper type hats?
    Dont die in the Bundu.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Default

    to be honist would not have a clue where to start.......chris "$%^&*("!$ ideas please......

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