Bark Tanning Glossary
As much as possible we like to use plain
English rather than specialized terms, but sometimes these terms are so
useful or so predominant in a tanner's vocabulary or the literature, that
you really ought to know them.
Bucking or Liming: To soak the hide in an alkaline
solution made of wood-ash or commercial lye (bucking) or lime (liming).
The preparation of
tanned skins for the purpose of imparting to them the necessary smoothness,
color, luster and suppleness
Back: Taking a totally dry hide and by one means or another getting it to
be uniformly damp so it is ready to absorb oils and be softened.
The more tannin is fixed to the fibers of the hide, the thicker and firmer
it gets. This is the "fullness" of the hide.
Hides: Hides that have not been tanned or worked in any way.
or Neutralizing: Rinsing the hide in running water to remove the
alkalinity from bucking or liming. The alkalinity is released slowly, so this
must be done for 12 to 72 hours. It is faster in warmer water and when acidity
is added to the water (such as vinegar).
Scudding: Working (squeegee-ing) liquids out of skins by pressure and
Skiving: Thinning the thickness of tanned
skins with a sharp tool.
Staking: Using a tool with a
canoe-paddle shaped edge to help soften the hide. The tool is often embedded
in the ground, in a vice, or some other contraption so that you can work the
hide over it. The edge should be distinct but not actually sharp.
'through': Getting tannins to penetrate and fix themselves all the way to
the center of the thickest part of the hide.
Used Incorrectly by Many Tanners:
Epidermis: The epidermis is a (usually) thin layer of
keratinous skin cells that lays on top of the grain of a hide. The epidermis
contains the skin's pigments (melanin), so in the summer it is darker. Animals
with a lot of hair generally have a extremely thin epidermis....in deer it is
only a few cells thick. In humans it is much thicker. Many brain tanners
mistakenly use the term to mean all the layers of skin (epidermis and grain)
that need to be removed in brain tanning. This is because the term was used
this way in some of the early brain tanning guides. It wouldn't matter except
that it does cause a lot of confusion.