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Smoking a Buckskin

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by humphreyjm, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. humphreyjm

    humphreyjm New Member

    What is the purpose of smoking a brain tanned buckskin? I know it makes the skin dark, is this the tannins? Is it also preserving the skin somehow? Thanks.
  2. Boxie

    Boxie New Member

    Suppose to make it waterproof.

  3. crazycrow

    crazycrow Sure ucan trust the government,just ask any indian

    Smoking doesn't make the skin water proof, what it does do is make it so that if it gets wet all you have to do is rub it between your hands when it is dry and it will be as soft as the day you tanned it. It also prevents decay and bugs from devouring it.
  4. Hartung

    Hartung New Member

    That is right. Smoking doens’t make buckskin waterproof. But it is a real tanning procedure contrary to braining which is not. Even if it’s called brain “tanned”. It’s the aldehydes in the smoke that will permanently tan your skin. To succeed, your skin has to be perfectly softened so that the smoke and thus the aldehydes can reach even the fibres deep in the skin.
  5. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Smoking creates crosslinks between the collagen strands. These bonds are permanent and will not wash out, hence the term that brain tanners know as "waterproof".
  6. humphreyjm

    humphreyjm New Member

    Thanks guys, I think that answers my question. But it brings up another one. If you have a brain tanned skin that has not been smoked, you should be able to tan it with something else, like Lutan or crowtan, Is this right? I suppose you might want to wash out the oils first from the brain tanning? The reason I ask is I have some brained tanned skins that I want to re-do with a more permanent tan.
  7. MHTaxidermy

    MHTaxidermy (307) 640-2602

    Hart, Braining IS a real tanning procedure. Its the brain that tans it. Not the smoke, Cyclone stated the purpose of smoking.
  8. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    On the contrary Mark, Braining only supplies the oils needed to soften the hide. It is faltliquering, nothing more. It is indeed the smoking that makes a permanent tan..


    As far as tanning goes from a chemist's point of view...tanning = crosslinking of the collagen fibers.

    This can be accomplished by smoke, tannins, metals or synthetics.
  9. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    I would smoke them, you aren't going to get more permanent than that. You can run a properly smoked hide through the washer many times without washing out the tan.
  10. MHTaxidermy

    MHTaxidermy (307) 640-2602

    Alrighty then Cyclone, guess I'll trust you. :D I've been on that site, and I've read the guys book several time. I thought it was the brain that tanned it, and the smoking made it permanent and unable to wash out. I have brain tanned some hides before, but not smoked them.

    so will fatliquering a raw hide with Protal tanning oil, instead of brains, preserve the hide?
  11. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Neither will tan a hide. Either way, if the hide gets wet it will lose it softness and revert to rawhide. Try it..

    I've used a combination of peanut oil, murphys oil soap and bar soap to fatliquer and soften hides instead of the brains. .

    Once properly smoked, however, and it is a permanent tan.
  12. MHTaxidermy

    MHTaxidermy (307) 640-2602

    I have tried that. Just getting it wet, you just have to go through the whole process of softening it again. If you wash it though, it turns back to rawhide. I've tanned with Ivory bar soap, And I have used eggs.

    oh, btw, Dudadiesel has pretty fast shipping, I bought a gallon.
  13. msbraintan

    msbraintan New Member

    I find that brains work the best. Sometimes tough to get good brain penetration. Skins need good preparation.. any of them, including FUR.. don't ask me how I know this. My skins do not feel slimy before braining them. If they do feel slippery prior to oiling well they won't be able to soften or tan up properly.. too much junk in there.. ground substances, etc. Breaking them is and should be easy and simple 'providing' there is an ample amount of oil in the skins to begin with. Truly oiled. Sounds like your skins may not have been brained and softened well to begin with Mark D. It actually takes very little smoke for a well oiled and softened skin to tan. If it turns back to rawhide it could be because it was rawhide before it was smoked. It should never 'turn back to rawhide' ever. One can however wash out the oils. Using harsh detergents to wash a brain tanned skin, reoiling will then become a necessity. Just a bit of common sense here, no need for a chemistry background to understand this.
  14. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Of course not, Even a cavewoman can do it... ;)