I am thrilled. First of all, this forum is awesome. What a resource... I just did my first whitetail rug, and while I've been anxious/nervous about it (being my first), I'm pleasantly surprised. I think the acid bate in the pickle really did wonders for the softness of the hide.
I let my hide dry for a little over 2 days. I think it was about 95% dry today before I started the actual "breaking" process (the elbow grease method). I've been debating over investing the time and money to build a tumbler, but I thought I'd just try it the old-fashioned hard way first. I thought I'd be wrestling with that hide all night, but actually I was quite satisfied with it after only about an hour and a half! It really wasn't that bad...I'm surprised.
I'm sure tumblers are a great time saver, and I'm confident that they do a great job. I still plan on getting one. But I just wanted to tell others that you can get the job done well with a bit more effort and time without one.
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You do know, I hope, that your tumbler needs to be 8 feet in diameter to work in breaking a hide? The tumblers we talk about on here are for drying birds usually and they consist of smaller drums.
Yes, I know that. You told me that when I posted several days ago. I asked what size you had or if you tumbled deer skins yourself, but I don't believe you responded. Rittle supposedly has plans on how to build large tumblers fairly reasonable.
I have access to a machine shop, and my husband's a mechanical engineer... he'd enjoy this project. I'm just not in a huge hurry to build a huge tumbler after breaking this hide was so easy.
you will want a tumbler! Either that or you will have world class muscles.