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26th of March 2015


Now if I could find a hat like that, It'd serve me well on my walks around the place :D

I'm in the process of gathering rabbit pelts for a new winter hat, preparation has started early in anticipation, my main source of pelt has come from road kill...seems a shame to leave an animal to rot on the road side, the meat feeds my ferrets, the pelts are mine aha.

Random I know :)

I bought that hat from a flea market, back in the 1990's =)

I think using road kills is a rational thing to do. What method do you use for tanning those rabbit pelts?

Forgot to ask as to what you do with your skins after you've retrieved them from an animal, I know you culled your sheep population from a previous blog I read, do you go for the brain tanning? I heard its a very long process, I find the fleshing can be a pain also, rabbit pelts are so delicate sometimes, its very easy to pull fur from the pores aha

I tried tanning once, using kind of a sour dough. But there was something wrong with my process - it only turned all the fur loose... Due to lack of time (read = problems with managing by timetables) I haven't tried since, so I've been giving the pelts away to friends who have been tanning them for themselves.

For these last of rams what I now have, I feel that I really should try tanning.

There are couple of tricky parts when skinning a sheep, but otherwise it is rather easy.

Sour dough is a new one on me, not looked into that at all, but I may have a read up, the process I use with Aluminium Sulphate and salt is very easy, feels somewhat too easy and cheatish aha but the results are good, I think it would honor your rams to try tanning the last pelts, even if the fur slips you could easily make regular leather with it :)

If in doubt, freeze the pelts until ready, no wastage that way :D

I've scraped the meat side clean enough, dried the pelts and stored them outdoors - which is nearly the same as freezing =)

Yup I think I could try that Aluminium Sulphate thing first, and if it works with two or three pelts, then if I feel bold I can try some more primitive methods =)

I can imagine the outdoor temperatures are sufficient for safe storage of pelts! We've been having nothing but wet and sometimes quite humid weather in the Midlands of the UK.

There was a very good guide to brain tanning on youtube that I plan to try one day, the guy uses pig brain on a beaver pelt which I've heard is easy to get from a butchers, seems not many people eat brains nowadays! They say every animal's brain is exactly enough to tan its own hide...

I'm not entirely sure but I think that in Finland, since the outbreak of mad cow disease, brains and spinal cords of cow and sheep has to be burned - in the official food production chain, that is. As I'm completely outside all the regulation, I can do as I please, as long as I don't sell the meat =) I don't know what they do with pig brain - well but yes I'd guess there isn't a big market for them either...

Well, but I must say that I often feel slightly nauseous in the beginning of the butchering, so I haven't felt like trying to remove the brain (also, the stun gun often pierces the skull, and a mixture of blood and brain paste splashes out - that moment I always ask myself if eating meat is really worth all this stuff =) )

Wow, I have never killed something with a stun gun. I usually shoot things in the head with a .22 before I butcher them. There isn't any brain goo that splashes out. =:O

I am ok if I eat a nice big calorie-filled breakfast before butchering. But if I am weak and hungry, I get buzzing-ears (and sometimes even faint) when the carcasses start making that slurping noise when removing the guts, lol.

Tried brain-tanning once, but it didn't turn out. I think my mixture was too cold and didn't soak into the hide properly. There were patches that seemed ok,, and then other patches that didn't take and rotted. The hair stayed in the good places ok (at least for the short time that I kept the hides). But I have had even "professionally tanned" 'coon skins and stuff start slipping hair after several years. I am not sure what to do to make them stop....

I have never tried the aluminum sulphate. If it is indeed easy, I might have to give it a shot. Assuming that our over-reaching nanny government will let me buy it in sufficient quantity without paying them a huge tax to obtain a "special license"... Papers, please! -_-'

I've never had the experience of butchering anything large, or even medium sized before, the smells and sounds do get to some people, its easy to ask yourself why your'e going to the effort of it all while your'e digging guts out aha though I thank the animals I kill for they're meat and pelt, I have an over active conscience with things sometimes.

On the note of Aluminium Sulphate, I purchased mine from ebay, I think in the US its sold as Alum or something aha, its as simple as soaking the fleshed pelt in Salt and Alum, getting the correct measurements etc, with the brain tanning I hear you really have to rub it in several times and if you get the solution on the fur side at all it'll slip the fur over time, a good oil for aftercare and you'll keep a skin going for years :D

Hehe - "to splash" is slightly exaggerated to describe what actually happens =) As, the stun gun delivers a fierce blow of a piston, and then a string pulls the piston back into its chamber. Although, sometimes the piston gets stuck inside the skull of the animal, and I have to pull the entire stun gun away from the skull, which then releases the piston and allows the string to pull the piston back. And it is exactly that returning piston which retrieves some red-white goo out of the skull.

Well, but since this tanning business is interesting, and generated a nice discussion, I set a goal of trying actual tanning this spring, and then writing a blog entry about it, so we can continue the discussion in a fresh comment section =)

Much like 'No country for old men' I imagine...that one scene with the cow stun gun, sent a shudder down the spine reading that aha!

I've quite enjoyed our group discussion, I wonder if our ancestors sat around a fire teaching each other these skills :) Looking forward to a future tanning blog, its time for wine drinking for me, have a good evening my friend.

I'd guess the ancestors had discussions like this, too. The internet is a modern camp-fire, which gathers a bunch of people sitting in a circle and sharing their experiences =)

But sadly, the internet won't cook my food. I tried stuffing some raw meat into my DVD drive, and it just made a mess. :(

Try putting it on processor while playing europa universalis IV or some demanding game. If it won't work, try eggs(they demand less heat to cook). :D

See - the internet even gets people joking as the fire sends sparks up into the dark night sky =)

When I was teenager, Commodore 1541 floppy drive was called "a toaster" for the amount of heat it generated =) The cat used to sleep on the floppy drive, because it was a cozy warm place.

I was always a little jealous of the all the colors (was it 16 or 8? I can't remember) and the fancy sound that my friend Chris's C64 had. In hi-rez mode, my Apple 2 would only do 4 colors (including black) and only simple 1-note music, no simultaneous tones.

But that 1541 drive was sooooooooo sloooooowwwwwww, compared to the Apple Disk2. The 1541 was 9600 baud daisy-chain serial, I think? Whereas the Disk2 was 8-bit parallel and like 10x faster.

I think the 1541 was way easier to access from assembly language, though. Not totally sure, never did any asm on the C64, just read a book about it back in the day....

Ah, computers were cooler back when they sucked. But the internet is cool, too, so I guess it's a toss-up in my mind. :P

I'll have to keep my eye out for one I think, though the flea markets in England are dominated by flatcaps and trilby hats.

For the pelts I've always followed a guide that I found on Motherearth News with Salt and Alum (Aluminium Sulphate) the result is always amazing, never had any fur slip or any other issues with them, they come out immensely soft.


I have yet to try brain tanning, that's something I'm going to look into when I have the time and space to experiment, first I need to relocate from where I live aha.


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