I would like to try brain tanning. Any info would be appreciated. I have tried chemicals, but the expense is prohibitive for me. I will be doing furs. Thanks!
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I've done several garment quality (hair off) hides using the braintan method. I learned that time and elbow grease are what you pay in exchange for the low cost alternative. On the upshot, when you get the process down, you'll have an extremely soft and pliable product without the use of harsh chemicals. Success is related to the amount of time you spend on the fleshing and stretching stages. You have to be absolutely meticulous in your attempts to remove all of the membrane on the flesh side so that the brains can penetrate the hide evenly. Once the hide is saturated, you have to work it constantly until completely dry. Pulling or stretching for several hours can be quite a workout - so be prepared. If you quit stretching early, you'll end up with a rawhide texture in areas that didn't dry thoroughly. Finally, the braintanned hide or pelt is NOT waterproof. After all of those hours of work, dampness will cause the hide to harden in spots unless reworked again until dry. For clothing, waterproofing is accomplished via smoking. I've never done a pelt and am not sure what the smoke would do to the fur. I hope these insights helped. Best of luck.
Well first find someone who has a big brain!
Really....what type of brains are you using?
If you dont want to spend alot on your tanning, think and look up how it was done "BEFORE" there were stores to buy expensive chemichels!
It was done soooooooooooooo many years before there is a way!
brains work for buckskin. the Sioux had a saying that every animal has enough brains to tan its own hides. In the past, I've used pig brains with great success. You can get them at any food store that sells stuff for asian cuisine, etc., or at a packing plant.
I braintan for a living. It is work and although there are some shortcuts that aren't commonly known, they don't take away the larger part of the labor. But on furs-my personal opinion is that pickles are cheap and ph paper is too. So, unless you just want to go traditional-pickle, neatralize, and then brain and soften hide. Smoking it is a good idea, esp. if you want to do more than just hang it on the wall. After doing a few deer, furs will seem easy, unless you want to do beaver, which really need to be thinned, IMO, to come out soft.
Oh, and for softness and durability, braintan buckskin is the best, hands down.