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how do u tan a lamb fleece is it a lengthy process are there any chemicals used

if you mean processing, we used ordinary salt, then deisel and bicarb, then neatsfoot oil.


thanks for the info never done this before do u scrape the hide first and then salt do u do it wet or dry

we learned how to do this thru trial and error, and a few good tips on here.

as soon as the animal has been skinned, you must liberally salt the skin side of the hide.

you cannot use too much it in, and make sure you go right to the edges...this preserves it aswell as preventing hair slip ( hair falling out )
once you have covered it in salt, if you dont want to proccess it straight away, you can roll it up and freeze it til you are ready to start.

once salted, you then need to make a frame to stretch the skin on. the frame needs to be considerably larger than the actual skin, the amount of stretch in the skin is unbelievable.

you will also need lots of string/twine, hooks, a hole punch and a blunt knife or some other blunt instrument for scraping off the debris ( meat, fat etc ) from the skin.

punch holes in the skin, middle top and bottom, and middle sides. stretch onto frame. then begin making more holes on skin till it is thoroughly stretched with no give in it at all. ( hooks can be used at this stage to give a little more stretch ) salt will fall off at this stage but dont worry.
working with the frame upright, start gently scraping off the debris from the skin side....this can take a lot of time, and be careful not to scrape too hard or you will go right thru it ( hence the blunt tool ......native americans etc use stones )

as you work, keep adding salt to the places you have cleared. the skin will be wet and slimey, because the salt is drawing out the moisture, and dont worry if you cannot do it all at one time, the salt will preserve it till the next day when you want to start again. ( each time you want to stop, just cover it in salt )

once the skin is clean, you need to rinse off all the salt. we do this with a hose pipe. then you need to use a mild soap ( fairy liquid is good) and rub it on all over to get rid of the grease. rinse. repeat if there is still grease.

when you are happy that all the grease has been removed, you are ready to use the diesel and bicarb.

mix up the two until it is like the thickness of double cream. do small amounts....( hubby bought all the bicarb he could find on the shop then paint it on the skin. thickly.

leave to dry. this can take days or weeks depending on the weather. wash off.

the final stage is to make the skin supple.

we use neatsfoot oil. you can get this at any agri store or equestrian store. it is a leather preserver and softener, and is used on saddles, bridles etc..

remove the skin from the frame......this is where the hard work really begins.......

now rub in the oil, and at the same time work the skin to make it supple.....bend it, twist it, and keep working the oil into the skin. at first it will take it like a sponge, do one small section at a time, rubbing it between your hands like you are scrubbing a stain on washing ( the old fashioned way before we had washing machines ) it will make your hands sore so be careful.

once the skin is have your skin completed.

good is a great feeeling to be walking on a rug you have made yourself....

the first attempt will be rubbish.... :: .....but you will get better as you do more...... [smilie=pdt_aliboronz_24.gif]

I've got this holiday of mine coming up on the 12th of November with Flatiron in NYS.
He was a professional trapper up until about 15 years ago when the price of fur world wide fell through the floor. This year the price has rallied and when I get there he will be running a trap line of around 200 traps or so for the first time in years.

He's threatening to have me skinning skunks and the like while i'm over there :smt103 :smt103 :smt103 so I could learn some useful tips on the subject. As well as getting his own pelts ready for sale, he's also hoping to buy in skins from the other local trappers and sell them on to the big fur buyers.
Watch this space. I'll certainly report on what I find and hopefully flatters might also add some of his experience to this thread.


thanks mogs for all the info cant wait to get started i presume the disel and bicarb are equal parts

Heres a method I've used several times w/ good results using an Alum solution which as follows 1 gal. water 1/2 pound salt 1/4 pound alum 1/2 oz. carbolic acid . add carbolic acid to warm water and mix well . add other ingredients and stir thoroughly . this solution can be used over and over again by adding a small amount of salt and alum each time..
put your skin ( dry skin) cleaned well of mud ,dirt and flesh in the solution . you will have to make enough using the recipe to do the size skin you are working on. . leave the skin in the solution for a week or longer depending on size of skin. the hard part is working the skin over a beam w/ a knife while damp until it remains fairly pliable. . while working the skin put some neats foot oil mixed w/ water on the flesh side . how soft your skin or hide has to do w/ how much work you put into it. I've done everything from bears to coyotes w/ this method and it works great. be careful of too much salt or alum as this method will skrink your hide a bit. happy hard work!

Good thread, thanks all. :-)

I'm going to give Ol' Bodger the run down on skinning , using a fleshing knife and drying fur pelts when he's here , he will be starting on skunks and possum. ! ::


very interesting the scraping was a pain in the b.........

I knew I'd find what I needed on this site eventually.

All I need is some time withuot the kids and a blunt knife.

how do you clean it when it's done so it's suitable for use?

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