Tanning fur

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Powder monkey
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:23 pm

Tanning fur

Post by Powder monkey »

I have a raw fur skin I need tanning, it's white and I'd like to keep it white.
I'm having difficulty finding someone to do it. Help

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Brother Ranulf
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Posts: 963
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: Canterbury

Re: Tanning fur

Post by Brother Ranulf »

Tanning on the one hand and "keeping it white" on the other are sadly incompatible - unless you know some historic Native Americans who can do brain tanning in the old way. Apparently the Crows of the Northern Plains made the softest, whitest buckskin and buffalo hides - but nobody today can replicate the time, effort and skill involved in doing that.

Tanning in English terms historically meant using oak galls or bark (or bark from certain other trees) which results in a tan colour; the other process, known as TAWING, was a method involving alum, salt, egg yolk, flour and other ingredients which leaves the leather white, but stiff as a board. Softening it after this process would be a time-consuming and laborious piece of work.
Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

40/- freeholder
Posts: 165
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:59 am
Location: Tow Law

Re: Tanning fur

Post by 40/- freeholder »

With respect to the good Brother, plenty of smallholders during the "Good Life" revival of the'70's/80's tawed their own skins using the egg & alum method. They can be made very soft and supple, just needs plenty of elbow grease. I still use goat skins I tawed back in the day. If you are not looking for an authentic method, then it certainly used to be possible to purchase the necessary chemicals for the modern immersion curing but the skin still needs working to make it supple. Alternatively, a taxidermist would be able to do a professional job, at a price, if it's a small skin. It's still possible to send sheepskins to small commercial firms for curing.
While Google should find relevant information, let me know if you need the egg & alum recipe.

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