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polaris

Pelts and Furs

In the run up to producing our own meat rabbits I am looking at every avenue of making use of every single bit of these lovely bunnies that will be giving us such good stews over the winter!

In line with this I would like to make good use of the pelts, my sister suggested I throw them away as "fur is disgusting" but she's perfectly happy to eat the bunnies    I think binning such a good resource is disgusting...   I'm living in a caravan this winter, I need as much warmth as I can get my grubby paws on!

So in light of this, does anyone have any tips and tales to tell of dealing with pelts and furs?

I'm going for the alum and salt soak, fleshing, more alum and salt and then drying and stretching. I've been told massaging a little oil in is also worthwhile but I'm not sure what stage this is meant to go in at??

I'm also unclear on the best way to clean the furs after they are dried should they need it, I'm pretty sure we could rig up one of the "tumbler" types I've seen on YouTube with scraps lying around, but hoping there's an easier way.....  

Any stories, pictures etc would be very much appreciated.... And maybe a little reassurance that using the furs isn't as bad as my sister seems to think? Am I missing something?  
Carnach

Please ask your sister to throw away all her leather handbags, purses, belts, shoes, boot, hats and jackets and just buy vegetable fibre items or plastic in future and only recyclable plastic at that.

I believe that if you take a life for your food, then as little as possible of the animal, bird or fish/shellfish goes to waste - so go ahead with your rabbit skins!

I have tried curing sheep skin but to be honest not got very good results compared to what I can buy locally - we have a specialist - and it is very time consuming.  But just a thought, there may be a niche market for you producing gundog dummies from rabbit skin.  May be worth contacting your local gundog trainers to see what kinds of things they may want.
Border

Good idea that Carnach.

I make dummies for two local gundog clubs using hare and roe deer skins.

I still have whole skins that I cured 5-6 years ago and they are still useable, and without any hair loss.

Somewhere on the forum is a post of how I cure skins, very easy.

Tell your sister not to be so wasteful, don't really understand how she can eat meat, but finds fur disgusting.
Maybe she thinks animals should walk around without fur on.

Good job she does not live over here as it is mink farming country....nasty wee buggers, but produce expensive pelts, the Chinese are very much into DK mink pelts.
Pilsbury

As and when you have an excess of tanned skins i may well be interested in buying wholesale if your interested.
Rena

I did the alum/salt route and it worked very well (I recommend using gloves). Getting *all* the fat off is extremely important, the the flesh being a close second. Which reminds me, you want to get them in the soloution asap. Scraping helps remove the flesh. Just be careful as when I was first learning, I tore a few in the process. (No biggie really, unless you have a project that needs them to remain in one piece~such as a blanket). We made "kitty" toys with one or two...and the cats loved 'em!

I'll try and dig around for any photos we ave from my daughters 4-H years. (and I'll rummage my brain for any other things I learned....as its been quite a while ago )
polaris

Pilsbury wrote:
As and when you have an excess of tanned skins i may well be interested in buying wholesale if your interested.


I'll stick them up here first if I have spares on the go, didn't realise there would be any call for them Pilsbury.

Will definitely have to look into gun dog dummies we have a lot of guns up here and good shooting estates who are usually training dogs.

I suppose I could also sell nice ones at the local show as well. just for regular dog toys. I imagine backing them with a good strong cotton is required here to help them last
polaris

Carnach wrote:
Please ask your sister to throw away all her leather handbags, purses, belts, shoes, boot, hats and jackets and just buy vegetable fibre items or plastic in future and only recyclable plastic at that.

I believe that if you take a life for your food, then as little as possible of the animal, bird or fish/shellfish goes to waste - so go ahead with your rabbit skins!

I have tried curing sheep skin but to be honest not got very good results compared to what I can buy locally - we have a specialist - and it is very time consuming.  But just a thought, there may be a niche market for you producing gundog dummies from rabbit skin.  May be worth contacting your local gundog trainers to see what kinds of things they may want.


I know she's a cracker...... Proper girls girl dunno where she came from......  

Papa says the cuckoo left her, not the stork!  

I endure in my training of her though and have now succeeded in making her help butcher a stag, even if she did demand gloves....  

I'm looking forward to seeing what I can make with the hides, I hate waste  
polaris

Rena wrote:
I did the alum/salt route and it worked very well (I recommend using gloves). Getting *all* the fat off is extremely important, the the flesh being a close second. Which reminds me, you want to get them in the soloution asap. Scraping helps remove the flesh. Just be careful as when I was first learning, I tore a few in the process. (No biggie really, unless you have a project that needs them to remain in one piece~such as a blanket). We made "kitty" toys with one or two...and the cats loved 'em!

I'll try and dig around for any photos we ave from my daughters 4-H years. (and I'll rummage my brain for any other things I learned....as its been quite a while ago )


Yeah I've done a few deer hides, but they are so much tougher than the paper thin rabbits, I imagine a few mistakes but I can find uses for scraps just as much as whole furs.  

What is your favourite tool of the trade for scraping? Any tips on doing a good job?
polaris

Border wrote:
Good idea that Carnach.

I make dummies for two local gundog clubs using hare and roe deer skins.

I still have whole skins that I cured 5-6 years ago and they are still useable, and without any hair loss.

Somewhere on the forum is a post of how I cure skins, very easy.

Tell your sister not to be so wasteful, don't really understand how she can eat meat, but finds fur disgusting.
Maybe she thinks animals should walk around without fur on.

Good job she does not live over here as it is mink farming country....nasty wee buggers, but produce expensive pelts, the Chinese are very much into DK mink pelts.



We get mink here, nasty b*****ds, one left one of our ducks in a horrible mess, half the chest gone and still running around poor thing..... I'll gladly do them in if I can get them

Pine martins are just as bad.....  

No foxes currently, lucky for them.  

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