Brain tanning Elk, Moose and other BIG hides: page 5
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Tips for smaller Folks


Billy & his completed Moose hide

Being a full time tanner, I can't always get right on a hide when it's fresh, so I have to salt them and store them until some other time. Which means re-hydrating in water, and having to drag a sopping wet 150 lb. Moose hide to the fleshing beam. For a smaller person this could be much more than just inconvenient. Also the amount of upper body strength needed for wet scraping the grain could be prohibitive for a smaller person.

My ideas for dealing with big hides for small tanners are first, flesh them while they are fresh. That way you're not heaving that heavy wet hide around to the fleshing beam. Then string it up on a frame, dry it and dry scrape it. This way a smaller person is at no disadvantage when it comes to graining. Then you can re-hydrate the hide and buck it in order to get the benefit of the increased brain penetration. For wringing, a longer handle for twisting will give better leverage.

When it comes to softening there's not much that can be done to level the playing field for a smaller person. I rely on my weight to lean into those hides quite a bit. I definitely recommend frame softening for a small person. Cabling 25 sq. ft of thick Moose would wear me out in no time.



I hope that my experiences have helped some of you who want to tan a Moose or Elk. My goal here is to provide some encouragement and maybe some tips to help you work with these big beautiful hides. Good luck, and remember, it takes brains to make buckskin!
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