Is there any easier way than the old way of pulling and tugging etc? Was wondering how a dual action sander would work? Relaxing agents,etc? I have 2 elk rugs to tan and make into rugs but the customer doesn't want to spend alot of money so I won't be sending them to a tannery.
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If there were "easier" ways, professional tanneries would be out of work. "Sanding" grinds away hide but does nothing to "break" them and "chemicals" got the hide to that condition in the first place. Your comments fortify my belief that home tanning is too highly emphasized in the first place.
Look at the price tanneries charge. Its not that much. If the customer whats to save some money tell him to do them.
Call Art in Dodge City @ Mid-Kan Tan.
You are going to put at lest 12 to 16 hours tanning and breaking the hide.
So what is your time worth? $5.00 per hour 12 hours? $60.00 before taxes Plus you then have the expense of chemicals and oil.
Whats left after taxes? $40.20 now count $20.00 in oil/chemicals
OUHHHHH $20.20 cent for you after chemicals/oil.
$20.20 / 12 hours. That lets you make $1.68 per hour.
Wow great wages per hour $1.68 so yes, you are saving the customer a lot of money. Whos going to have fun? whos doing you the favor?
I would tell them the cost of the hide is double what the tannery charges. You are entitled to make money, after Shipping both ways to a tannery, your salting, packing time, tannery cost. Even doubling the tannery cost may not be enough.
Good luck and think about it.
IS Myron your fathers nam?
I did a Buffalo hide last year.... I thought what the heck, something new to do. 1 day spent scraping it thin, another day stretching and breaking, then it got away on me, so I had to rehydrate, restretch, etc. I ended up looseing money! If your customer doesn't want to spend the money, have him go else where, unless you have nothing to do. I personally would rather pull my own teeth out with a pair of pliers then do that again! It will not turn out as nice as sending them in! John C and George are right ( Dang it, I hate saying George is right!) If you are still going to do it, there are some helpful hints if you look up brain tanning on the web.
Yes, they are a lot more work than deer, because they are somewhat thicker. But use a GOOD tan, and a GOOD oil, plenty of oil, dry SLOWLY, over a period of about 5 days, pulling every day, or twice a day, whenever needed. It will be just fine. I probably put in about 45 min to 1 hr. pulling time in the 5 days total. Tricks are: thin good, use plenty of oil to lube fibers, dry slowly to give yourself more pulling time, meaning not how long you work it, but how many times you can work it. Not to be compaired anywhere near a buffalo, that is too much for most any one man (or woman) in my opinion.
Have at it, it's a real learning experience.
but I still have to shave the hide don't I or do they do that for you? What is the cost for an elk,$150 or so?
You dont have to shave them if you are sending them to a tannery. But you must flesh off all (or most all) of the fat and flesh, split the tail, and salt, drain, resalt and hang to dry before shipping. Costs are usually around $6 to $9 per sq. ft. (A little over priced in my opinion, when some charge the same for an elk skin and a buffalo skin per sq ft)Look up the tannery links in the suppliers section and check out the prices and who is closest to you. If you are close to Idaho, Mohle (spelling) Mink and Tannery are reasonable.
The only "easy" way to finish Elk skins is to Drum them, and let the Drum and the 100 Lbs. of sawdust in it do the work for you. But - the Drum should be at least a minimum of 6' high and 4' wide! Otherwise your wasting your time.
If you dont have a Drum that size - you're in for a lot of very hard work! Send them out to a reputable Tannery!
I called last night and it is $4.50 sq. ft. with about a 6 month wait. $150 and it will be done. Since I have two of these rascals,I am not even going to attempt it! They will flesh and salt the hide for $35. Can't beat that!