Rehydrating dry tanned bear for rug

Submitted by Kathy on 10/12/04 at 11:45 AM. ( )

A customer brought a nice dry tanned bear in and wants a rug made. How do I rehydrate it so I can set the head ect. and can it be streached after rehydrating? Archives weren't much help.

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Soak the head first

This response submitted by Leslie on 10/12/04 at 12:29 PM. ( )

I normally just wet the head and mount it first. After your head has dried, wet the rest of the skin and stretch and tack it out till dry.


This response submitted by Frank E Kotula on 10/12/04 at 7:50 PM. ( )

First off how old is the hide and how was it taken care of? From there you can determine if it can be done. If it's an old hide you can try it but there is no way you can guarantee that it will turn out right.
But the proper way to rehydrate a hide is the old proven method of
4 oz. of salt to a gallon of water. You can add some downey to the water just a cap full. All the downey does it makes the water softer so it rehydrates a bit quicker. Now soak the head and feet in the water for no more than 20 minutes. Also take a sponge and wet the rest of the hide skin only. Drain the hide and then place it in the fridge over night. By the next morning it should be ready to make a rug.
Like I'll say there can't be any guarantees


This response submitted by kathy on 10/13/04 at 11:33 AM. ( )

the hide is only a year or so old, so I guess I'll try your suggestions. Thanks again!

Head first only!

This response submitted by Mary Hilliard-Krueger-wholesale rugmaker on 10/13/04 at 3:17 PM. ( )

Hi Kathy, NEVER soak the whole skin.Only soak the head area and mount that first. Lay the skin flat on the table or floor to check that the nose and tail are in alignment after head is mounted. Always lay the head and skin on a flat surface,so as the skin dries it won't curl under the headform, making it difficult to rehydrate when you are ready to rug. When the head is dry and you are ready to rehydrate the skin, soak the feet first in a gallon bucket of water with a teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent to help expediate the rehydrating process.Usually 1-2 hours is sufficient, check them after and hour.Always check the bucket for the occasional claw that comes loose, before you throw the water away. Now lay the rug hair side down on your stretching table and sponge on water (use gallon bucket again with a teaspoon or so of liquid laundry detergent). Sponge on well, but don't let it pool on skin. You may need to reapply the sponging technique one or two times. Now place some heavy plastic over the skin and allow the plastic time to sweat the water deep into the leather pores. preferably overnight, but 2-4 hours may sometimes be sufficient depending on the thickness of the leather. If you need any furthur assistance , just e-mail me. Hope this helped you.

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