JC2019

Most expensive leather? buckskin? What is it like?

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I found this post a while back and I could never find much info on this Native American buckskin or it's properties. I don't think I'll work with it any time soon but I'm just curious how it differs from other tanning methods like veg tanned? Is it available anywhere?

 

 

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Based on the cost per hide, (factoring in average square footage) the most expensive type of leather irrespective of the animal it came from, is traditional Native American buckskin, or its European equivalent, chamois. Their high cost is due to the work involved rather than the rarity of the animal as most are made from deer, which is common place. But it has to made by hand without any machinery or modern chemicals, which makes it very costly.

The next most expensive is alligator, with Australian salt water crocodile being next. After that comes other exotics like shagreen (shark), elephant (usually the ears of animals killed because they were violent “trouble” elephants). Shell cordovan, which is actually a tanned muscle from the rump of horses and donkeys rather than actual dermis, when you can find it, is somewhere between the crocodilians and elephant.

Of the more standard leathers their relative cost in ascending order are (generally), lamb, goat, cow, calf, and American bison. That being said I have seen book binding goat leather is is far more expensive than calf by square foot.

 

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https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-most-expensive-leather

 

 

Edited by JC2019

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It's brain tanned (or maybe tawed) deerskin, smoked and heavily staked by hand. I felt a sample about 10 years ago. Very soft, like a really nice suede.

I know that some people sell some every now and then but not aware of any commercial manufacture. Google would be your best bet if you wanted to buy a hide. Perhaps look at primitive skills discussion groups.

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1 hour ago, Matt S said:

It's brain tanned (or maybe tawed) deerskin, smoked and heavily staked by hand. I felt a sample about 10 years ago. Very soft, like a really nice suede.

I know that some people sell some every now and then but not aware of any commercial manufacture. Google would be your best bet if you wanted to buy a hide. Perhaps look at primitive skills discussion groups.

Interesting, I see a few garments made with it online. Never heard of brain tanning

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I have a book on brain tanning that I bought 40 some years ago, but never got to try it!  If you look around, there are some vids on youtube about brain tanning as well - and some use eggs, etc in addition to or in place of brain.  It is a labor intensive process, and for the most part deer or elk skins are chrome tanned now.  The result is very similar from what I can tell.

- Bill

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Just a little FYI I was taught when I was younger is that every animal has enough brains to tan it's own hide 

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8 hours ago, Kolton45 said:

Just a little FYI I was taught when I was younger is that every animal has enough brains to tan it's own hide 

Whoever said that never saw a kangaroos or crocodiles brain size. A 3.5m crocodile has a brain the same size as a walnut .

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On 5/9/2019 at 4:54 AM, kgg said:

This link is of a video showing  Lynn Macnab of preparing and brain tanning a hide that you maybe interested in.

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/relying-on-brainpower-leatherworker-gives-the-boot-to-modern-methods

kgg

Thanks, that was an interesting video

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