HELP Tanning a deer rug

Submitted by Samantha on 10/9/1998. ( )

I recently recieved a deer skin to experiment in tanning for a rug. I have already skinned and gotten all the red meat off and salted. But not sure on what type of stuff to use to tan the skin. Would like the skin to be soft not hard as a rock.Any info on it would be great. I am trying to learn...

Return to Category Menu

soft rugs

This response submitted by bill on 10/9/1998. ( )

hi samantha, you'll see a few tans mentioned repeatedly here in the forum and the rittels is probably the best, but for what you want you'll need to break the skin to soften it and in my opinion thats a job for a commercial tannery. They have the equipment to break the hide so it's soft and supple. Kieth, are you around to suggest your tannery?

Not a Good Choice for a Rug!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 10/10/1998. ( )

Samantha - there's one thing about Deerskins that limit their use. Their hollow hair becomes brittle with age, and begins to break off at the base. Lanolin sprays slow it down - but inevitably, it happens. The best of tans can't prevent it. Instead of a rug - pick a use where the skin recieves very little wear. A decorative or hanging on the wall type of thing. Avoid a over-the-back-of-a-chair situation, or a rug! As for tanning it - you can buy a tanning kit and do it yourself, but it may not be as soft as a Tannery tanned skin. They shave every inch of the skin, which in turn produces a truly soft, supple skin. For only one skin, I'm sure it wouldn't justify buying a shaving machine. And learning how to use it would consume a few skins in the meantime. To be honest, I usually tan the skins from the Deer my hunting buddies take, for free. But up front, I tell them, I'm not shaving them. I use our EZ-2000 Kit ingredients to tan them, and I've never had a complaint. They are soft, but not thin and extremely supple like a Tannery. But they DO qualify as tanned and soft! They are only a bit thicker fleshed than the tanned types, but usable for trophy wall skins. Anyway, I think you should consider buying a Kit and providing you follow the directions - it should produce a very usable skin. Happy Tanning!

to clarify

This response submitted by bill on 10/10/1998. ( )

Bruce, hope you or samantha didn't take me the wrong way, I just suggested the commercial route because I assumed she wanted the soft flat hide and I figured it was easier that way.Your tan would definitely do it, but would a beginner break it sufficiently? OK?

Hold on, I'm here.

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

( )

braintan that sucker to get a wonderfully soft rug. The hair is brittle and will continuously shed, but if you don't walk on it, it will last for years. Go to,, and for more information on this wonderful technique. It's cheap, safe, fun and makes the finest leather you'll ever imagine. If you have any questions, just drop me a note and I'll try to help you as best I can. Til then...

Return to Category Menu