skoronesa

Skinning and egg tanning squirrel/rabbit

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I shoot, skin, and egg tan squirrels and now a rabbit for their furs. Really hoping to get some chipmunks, a red squirrel, a black squirrel, and maybe a young woodchuck at some point too.

After skinning I rinse and brine the pelts in a bucket with rock salt. I use cold/tepid water and add some citrus juice as our water is heavily alkaline, this helps to stop the hair falling out. 2 Days, agitating when I pass the bucket.

Then I Rinse them well, wring them out, lay them flat on paper towels and heavily salt the inner with table salt and put some salt on the fur side. This then gets put between two patio slates to dry for about 2 days.

In my current batch I am at the egg stage. I rinse the salt off, wring them out and rub them with whole egg yolks in a tupper ware containers. This gets put in the pantry/extra oven to soak up the egg, roughly 2 days or until it smells funky. Rubbing in the yolks frequently.

My next step will be a light rinse and drying between paper towels and the stones again.

Depending on what I choose to do with them I will work/stretch them to make them pliable and then apply kiwi leather preservative.

The rabbit will be mittens for my middle son and the squirrel will be my youngest sons first marble bag.

 

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Rohn   

I like your post. I will be watching to see the finished products.

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I have to ask, why egg? Why not bark or brain?

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I hear an easy way to skin them is to use an air compressor. Good job using the lot!

My grandfather always said "don't kill it unless you're going to eat it". But clearly he was shortsighted because he mentioned nothing about making things from their skins!

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2 minutes ago, Wedgetail said:

I hear an easy way to skin them is to use an air compressor. Good job using the lot!

My grandfather always said "don't kill it unless you're going to eat it". But clearly he was shortsighted because he mentioned nothing about making things from their skins!

That goes hand in hand with eating the critter, to not let anything go to waste. Back in his day, your grandparents likely saved coffee cans, buttons, twine and paper from the butcher (If they went to town for meat), and anything else. Coffee cans made good shingles, buttons were always lost... and I have no idea why they saved the butcher's twine and paper. Not sure they did either, but they did it, just in case :)

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Obviously butcher paper and packing paper is saved for dying leather on.  And twine for holding leather rolled up.   DUH!

 

Edited by billybopp

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:rofl:

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On 7/10/2017 at 8:54 AM, CaptQuirk said:

I have to ask, why egg? Why not bark or brain?

Bark maybe later. Brain is gross. Not so much the brain as cracking open the skull. Egg is fast.

I don't know what brain would smell like, but I just opened the egg container and the wife was pissed when she came home ;) Perhaps I let it sit a day or so too long.. lolliez.

Skins got rinsed, wrung, and are salt drying again between stones. Next I will rubb them down with leather conditioner and begin making them into things.

 

Rohn, Don't expect much. The squirrel marble pouch should be nice as I have made many but the mittens I am not sure.

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JD62   

I'm glad you continue to post your process. Looking forward to seeing the leather!   I think my wife would skin ME if she came home to eggs that were out in this kind of heat!!:ranting2:

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This is a new one on me. How does the skin end up? Is it similar to a brain tan?  And do the skins have an odor after they are finished?  I never knew you could tan hides with an egg!  I have, at times through the years, really wanted to try a brain tan, but I also, get a little queasy at the thought of cracking the skull open.  I remember talking to a guy who did some brain tanning, and he said he'd put the brain in the blender and make a "brain shake".  If I could get someone else to do the work up to that point, and NOT think about what I was really using, I think I would someday like to try it. . . when I get some spare time.  I still have two frozen cowhides in my freezer that I'm going to make rawhide out of, "when I get time".

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1 minute ago, Big Sioux Saddlery said:

This is a new one on me. How does the skin end up? Is it similar to a brain tan?  And do the skins have an odor after they are finished?  I never knew you could tan hides with an egg!  I have, at times through the years, really wanted to try a brain tan, but I also, get a little queasy at the thought of cracking the skull open.  I remember talking to a guy who did some brain tanning, and he said he'd put the brain in the blender and make a "brain shake".  If I could get someone else to do the work up to that point, and NOT think about what I was really using, I think I would someday like to try it. . . when I get some spare time.  I still have two frozen cowhides in my freezer that I'm going to make rawhide out of, "when I get time".

The shoulder pad on my rifle sling is squirrel I egg tanned. I have only egg tanned and have no brain tanned items to compare it to. The fur has stayed on fine. It is not pliable because I did not work it, Didn't need it to be for a sling pad. I got it soaked the other day going through the brush after a rainstorm, it is fine. It was tanned last fall.

Also, don't leave the skins in the egg for 4 days, two is fine. I was being lazy and putting it off and it wreaked because of it.

If you tan them you aren't making rawhide, you are making leather. You could heavily brine, salt and dry them. Then they would be rawhide and stable unless they got moisture and the salts came out. I think I remember reading that this is why chrome tanning isn't technically tanning, it's just the salts stay in really well.

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The cow hides are meant to stay rawhide. I'd just like to try brain tanning a small hide sometime. I've heard it's pretty labor intensive, and you don't want a heavy hide. 

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If you use brains to tan with then you can't eat the BRAINS

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So, the squirrel and rabbit furs finally stopped smelling, I finally got some leather conditioner, and also finally got some motivation. I had a day alone with my youngest who this bag is for and he wanted to play marbles. How could I not finish it and get him his first set of marbles?

We went to the store for marbles and the playground after I finished. We played marbles at the sand table and he was so happy to have them he told anyone that walked up about it, he's not even 3 yet.

The bottom is a piece of 1/8" suede. The drawstring is some pretty week lace and will need to be replaced. I will most likely get another squirrel this fall and make the bag taller.

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Now I just have to finish tanning the other rabbit hide I have had in a brine bucket for like a month so I can make those mittens for my other son.

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JD62   

Thanks for the update !

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Rohn   

Thanks for the update.  Love what you have done!

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So, like I was totally stoked monday afternoon. This lady gave me a bag of 9 frozen rabbit furs!!!! She used to raise rabbits for meat and said that she has thrown out hundreds. She finally thought about tanning some, tried it with a kit and it came out bad so she gave up. She happen to have some in her freezer still. Totally made up for the kruddy morning and getting shocked.

I put them in a bucket with what I hope is more than enough salt. I say hopefully because I finally got around to taking my second rabbit fur out of the brine bucket and there was no salt left. I don't remember hw much I had used but I tend to go way extra because I can reuse any that's left.

There are a ton of squirrels around our house again, I just haven't had time to shoot and skin some. They are going crazy over the two black walnuts we have.

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Rohn   

Sounds like you have enough to keep you occupied for a while anyway. Hope they turn out good for you.

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