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how to preserve animal pelts?

This is a discussion on how to preserve animal pelts? within the XDTalk Chatter Box forums, part of the XD Talk category; ok i was wondering if anybody had any info on how to preserve the skin and/or the pelts of small animals like squirrels and fox ...


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Old 12-16-2007, 01:14 PM   #1
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how to preserve animal pelts?

ok i was wondering if anybody had any info on how to preserve the skin and/or the pelts of small animals like squirrels and fox and coyotes.

it doesnt have to be nearly as good as the professinal shops but i think it would be cool to do this at home. being able to use almost all the parts of an animal with out haveing to have somebody do it for you would be a very good skill to have. if the world goes to crap it would be nice to be able to make a blanket
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Old 12-16-2007, 02:37 PM   #2
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Brush Wolf Lady should be able to answer this!
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Old 12-16-2007, 02:53 PM   #3
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I keep squirrel pelts for tying fishing flies.

I just remove the skin in 1 piece, lay a plastic bag down, spread 1/4" to 1/2" of table salt on it and lay the pelt, skin down on the salt. Keep an eye on it and after a couple days throw out the salt and put fresh salt down. Once it's dry I just scrub off any salt with a rag.

It makes the skin hard and stiff but I only keep them for the fur so it's fine for me.
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Old 12-16-2007, 04:08 PM   #4
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http://www.braintan.com/

I've done it a few times the natural way. Results have always been good. That site has a lot of articles on how to go about it.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:26 PM   #5
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There numerous tanning kits you can buy if you want to try the modern way. Otherwise if you just want a wall hanging, take the skin and flesh it really well, wash it to remove any blood or other soiling, fluff the fur up with sawdust to get it dry, then coat the flesh side well with borax and stake out or use a fur drying board to dry the pelts. When the fur is dried, fluff borax through it well then shake it out. The borax will pretty much bug proof the hide, thus preserving it. The hide will be stiff though.

Brain tanning is a great way to make soft deer leather if you have a SHTF situation. Its alot of work but all you need is to dehair the hide, dry it on a frame, sand down the side that had the fur on it to remove the whole epidermis, cook the brains up and mash em into paste and let cool, immerse the hide into it, squishing it around well, then remove, wring the watery brain mixture out, then work the hide for like 20 mins, then resoak and kneed it again in the brain mix. Repeat 4-5 times, make sure you really wring the water out each time. The last time you then work the hide till its dry. Once you get several hides dried and soft as flannel, you need to make a smokey fire with old rotted wood and smoke the hides on both sides. There is a right way to do this too, the braintan websites should have full instructions on smoking. There are also variations of the actual braintan process too, I just listed 1 that I used one time that worked well.
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Old 12-16-2007, 08:05 PM   #6
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I've tried to tan a couple elk hides over the years. Talk about WORK!

Brush Lady ... I've heard you can use fabric softner as a modern day way to avoid some of the "gross factor" of using brains to soften and tan the hides. Any thoughts on that?
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frenchy View Post
Brush Wolf Lady should be able to answer this!
That was my instant thought as well.
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Old 08-17-2011, 01:29 PM   #8
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presercing pelts

once the pelt is removed completely submerge it in a 50 50 mix of turpentine and alcohol for 5-7 days then take it out and let it dry when its about half dry clean it with soap and water to remove the chemicals then when half dry again apply mink oil to the leathery side then for a softer leather work it with your hands or a rolling pin and reapply mink oil to the same side and make what you please
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:43 PM   #9
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Dad tried a chemical tanning kit when I was a kit. It was a stinking putrid mess that got tossed.

I'd always heard that an animals brain was big enough to tan its hide.

I think that would fit what the OP wants to do to a tee.
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:30 PM   #10
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I've picked up a couple of roadkill coons to practice on. Don't worry, they were fresh I would find them on my bus route and I knew they hadn't been there the day before. I've gotten pretty good at skinning, and tried a chemical tanning process. They came out stiff but they haven't gone nasty. I've wanted to try the brain process. Maybe next time.
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