when I hear of tanners using a tumbler to soften bear hides for rugs, at what point do they tumble it? does the bear go into the tumbler after it has been oiled (when the hide is damp)? Or do you tumble it after it has dried? Basically Im wanting to know if hides are broken when they are still wet after been oiled and tanned.
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THIS WOULD BE THE 95% MOISTURE RULE. THAT IS WHEN MOST EFFECTIVE BREAKING TAKES PLACE. PERHAPS DAVID PATTON COULD EXPLAIM MORE BETTER.
You want to drum bear after they have been oiled and dried. I would not recommend drying them totally stiff for the drumming. If you are not using a kicker and don't have dryers to tumble them dry in, then basically you want them to have some moisture content(Thanks EJ). Your next question is probably "How do I measure moisture?" Well, that is experience in knowing how the hide feels before your drumming. I personally don't use gauges to determine. I can generally tell by how the hide feels and looks coming out of the drying rooms. I have hides that were still fairly moist go into sawdust and rehung in the drying roms to finish drying after drumming. This tends to get them processed quicker and keeps them from becoming too stiff. The drumming not only helps break them after the oil has done it's job, it also cleans the hair.
What size drum are you using Jeff?