I have been wondering about tumbling my hides as a method to soften the leather. I know you tumble hides with the fur out to remove the excess tanning oil and to fluff the fur. But if you tumble hides with the leather out for a time will that soften the leather to a greater extent?
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I wrote an article on softening skins and capes that may be of interest to you. Go to http://www.taxidermyweb.com
Go to the bottom of the website and click on the article "softening skins"! You hopefully should find some helpful information there.