prepairing a deer hide

Submitted by boo ra on 9/24/1998. ( )

how would I do a deer hide to hang on a wall

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Wall Hanging

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 9/24/1998. ( )

Hi Boo Ra (?), The first thing to do is scrape any and all remaining red "meat" off the inner surface or "flesh-side" of the skin. This is best done over a "fleshing-beam". It must also be done with great care, as the actual skin itself is very thin and fragile. The thick hair underneath will make the entire skin-side "feel" thick - but it is not. After "beaming" (fleshing) you will need to "salt the skin". You will need a good, clean, non-iodized salt for this step. Lay the skin out flat (on the floor or on an elevated flat surface), and cover the entire surface - every square inch - with a good layer of salt. It's not unusual to use 5 or more pounds of salt at this point! After salting, fold the skin in half - lengthwise - and place it on a slanting surface, tail-down. This will allow many fluids to drain out of the skin. Let it sit overnight. Next day, open up skin, scrape off old salt, and apply second layer of salt, fold again, let drain overnight. Following day, repeat resalting steps, but leave skin open flat with a little heavier layer of salt. Third day, scrape off salt, place layer of un-printed paper on salted side, roll skin up from head-end to tail, box it up, and ship it to the tannery. **Unless you're set up with the room and the proper equipment, trying to accomplish a "soft-tanning" is futile at best.** It doesn't matter what ad you read for "home-tanning" kits, the art of turning a raw skin into a useable leatherized item is beyond the average, or above average persons' reach. Seriously, you will never get the same results, either in the softness of the final product, or in the wonderful aroma from a freshly tanned hide. Upon recieving the hide back from the tannery, attach small metal (or plastic) garment or shower rings (available at any fabric store) at various points on one side of the skin. Sew them on, making sure to keep the hair out of the stitches. Hang the skin on the wall. Any "flaps" that won't lay flat to the wall, can be secured using Velcro - one piece on the wall and its' matching piece on the skin. That's it! Good luck to you. John.

Don't send the tanner wet skins

This response submitted by Fur Dresser on 9/24/1998. ( )

John,your advice seems quite right on but one point I beg to differ on is that most fur dressers do not want wet skins shipped to them,two or three days is not enough drying time. Being a fur dresser I do NOT want wet skins shipped to my location. I prefer once your salting procedures are followed that the skin is hung until drying is started, folding as it dries until the skin is completely dry and small enough to fit into a box for shipping. The fact is if you are shipping moist skins you are shipping water for no reason at added cost to you. Also the tanner will have to dry the skins you send to properly store before tanning begins. This extra procedure could end up costing extra if the tanner receives too many wet skins. After John's salting procedure hoist or hang the skin over a beam, two by four, or sawhorse to begin the complete drying procedure, folding as it drys. If you salt room is too moist you need to work to find a place where your hides will be able to dry completely before shipping. Some animals never seen to get completely flint dry, i.e. bear,carnivores,and other greasy specimens,so 4 or 5 days of low humidity drying should be sufficient. So consider drying your skins completely before sending to the fur dresser. You ship less water and in warm weather run less risk of having mold build up on the wet hides which could lead to hair slippage at rehydration for the tanning process. The Fur Dresser

AAAHHHHHH I Goofed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 9/24/1998. ( )

Sorry Fur Dresser, I screwed-up. If you look again at the number of steps I wrote, the "third day" should really have read "the fourth" day. I was typing my response in so quickly I lost track of my days. I haven't lost track of days like that since I quit drinking - ha :)! I also stand corrected on omitting the importance of creating "circulating air" by hanging the hide up. I skin deer using the short-Y incision - "case" skinning them (I know you fur dressers LOVE this). In fact, when I dry my deer scalps, I pull them over fur-stretchers and HANG THEM UP - letting plenty of air circulate around them. I also should have mentioned that the humidity of a persons particular area where they are located, has much to do with the amount of time required to dry. I did mention this in another related response - why I omitted it here is beyond me. Here in the southwestern area of Ohio, three to five days is really all that is required for me to dry a hide for shipping. Our fall season is fairly dry here. Again I stand corrected for my bone-head miscalculation of the number of days that I actually wrote about. Thanks for catching my boo-boos.

one more thing

This response submitted by Bill on 9/25/1998. ( )

Did you guys forget to mention the spot on the wall you'll get from the oiled hide touching the wall? I know the hide shouldnt be greasy or oily but I've seen the discoloration, especially on painted drywall. I guess once you hang it, don't ever move it, then you won't see the mark. ha ha Anyway, any ideas?

Any Ideas? Are You Kidding??

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 9/25/1998. ( )

How's this for a thought. "Line" the bottom of the deer hide - either as thoroughly as a bear rug, with foam padding, etc., or more simply with either the cotton-duck material, or with felt alone. How about a double-layer of burlap -- on the underside of the deer hide it really doesn't matter. Burlap would probably be the least expensive way to go. Attaching the liner is easily accomplished with the use of hot-glue. You could either pattern-out the material and pre-cut it for a pre-fit, or you can trim it up after the hot glue cools and sets. That's up to you, and what you're comfortable doing. Well there's my ides. Any other "opinions" out there? Huh? Huuhh? Be cool. John.

prepairing a deer hide

This response submitted by Boo Ra on 9/26/1998. ( )

Thank you John for your help.As you can tell this is new to me.Could you tell me what a fleshing beam is And what is the best thing to use to scrape the meat off with? Also I am in Fl. would that change the process any. Again I thank you all for your help Boo Ra

A Fleshing Beam Is...

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 9/28/1998. ( )

Okay Boo Ra, here it is.
A fleshing beam is a "beam" of wood, usually a 2"x8", 3"x8" or a 2"x10" or 3"x10" board, about 6 or 7 feet long. One end must be tapered to a blunt point, by first cutting it to shape and then "rounding" the entire upper surface of this tapered end with a combination of a heavy-duty bastard file or "Farrier's Rasp" (a horseshoer's rasp sold by WASCO), and a belt-sander using coarse and then medium grit paper sanding belts. This will become the "working" end of the beam.
This beam is propped-up at on end by a couple of pieces of either 2"x4" or wider boards. The tapered end is set at a level whereby when you lean into the beam, it comes to a height of just about your belt-level. You don't need it much higher, and you REALLY don't want it any lower!! (OOOUUUCHH!!)
The support boards can be set apart about 3 feet on their base or floor-end, and a spanner-board or "stabilizer" is secured in between the foot-ends. These support boards then come in to each other at the top. There they are screwed together, then joined to the main "beam" that rests on them. Now here's the tricky part.
The tapered end that you will be leaning in to, needs to be set at the angle-height described, as well as sticking-out past the upright supports. That's why I didn't give a specific height for the support boards. When all that is established, another stabilizer board can be secured from the front stabilizer cross-board, to the underside of the floor-end of the fleshing beam.
Its' use is best done with the floor end, butted up against a wall. It just keeps it from moving all over the place. Now this was a description of my own basic fleshing beam. It's not gospel or anything, it's just the one I know. I'm sure some of the forum regulars out there can add their "beaming experiences" to this spot, for even more confusion :)
As with many items, a double-handled fleshing knife is available from WASCO. They're available from almost every other supplier as well. There are also books and video tapes that illustrate its proper use. I believe that Bob Elzner's "Tanning with Lutan-F" video provides some instruction in its proper use. I know it is available from Research Mannikins, and you have to ask - I think WASCO carries it also.
As far as you being in Florida - you have to use your own judgement as to the amount of time it takes to salt dry a hide for shipping to a tannery, what with your states' humidity level and all.
That just about wraps up this installment of "You Bet Your Knife!". Really, good luck to you. All the best, John.

Out of avg person's reach???!!!

This response submitted by Vaughn Terpack on 12/1/1998.

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Hold on now! I'm the average person and I make leather all the time with the braintan method. This is the same technique used by primitive made for untold centuries and it works like a charm. The reason most people can't do it right with the chemicals is becuase it's tooo complex. Just use brains and elbow grease and you almost can't fail to make a buttery soft hide every time. For more information on this technique, go to,, and These sites will show you just how easy it is to do things without relying on big companies or expensive chemicals that only do one or two hides. Out of my reach? Not hardly!!!