Friday, January 13, 2017

Preparing a hide for tanning

Be sure to tell your butcher that you plan to use the pelt, and to use the steer pattern to remove it. Also to be careful of cutting the skin, because holes in the skin can catch in the de-fleshing machine and tear it, and also detract from the appearance of the finished skin. As mentioned, be sure to have them cool it quickly so the wool does not slip (come off). Lay it out in wool side down in an area of a building where dogs and wildlife cannot easily get to it. You will probably want to lay down a plastic tarp under it to catch drips and salt if that concerns you. We used a section of livestock panel so the air can get to it and the wool will be dry. Put a thick layer of salt on it, making sure to get all the edges. Trim off strips of skin, testicles etc (you won't believe what some butchers leave - an ear?) . Continue to add salt in the areas where moisture pools during the drying process. Depending on how humid the weather, it can take 2-4 weeks to get nice and dry. The salt will be completely dry then. Once its ready, shake off the excess salt (another reason for the drop cloth) and fold it wool side out, or roll it up. Do not put into a plastic bag, just pack it directly into a box for mailing.

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