abos hunting gear period clothing scraping smoking softening miscellaneous
The Wild World of Brain Tan

Hunting Gear

What could be more complete and satisfying than using the product of the hunt, to make your hunting gear?! Here are some good shots....

 

Bows & Buckskins

Bob Kursawe built these bows and tanned the skins too. Notice how gracefully the hides hang. Them's is soft hides!

Here's Buckskin Slim, the man who Jim Riggs' says "started it all". Slim wrote the first instructional guide to brain tanning back in the early seventies, and taught Riggs' and Robert Earthworm the dryscrape method of brain tanning. Most tanners in the US, especially the west, learned how to tan from Riggs', Earthworm, or someone who learned from Riggs and Earthworm (like Matt Richards or Matt & Molly, or Steven Edholm, or....). 

Slim's grandson, Gordon Smith, sent me this never before published picture of Slim via the internet, combined with a request to find him another copy of Slim's book (his had burned up in a fire). Gordon said that a limited edition of Slim's book "The Indian Art of Tanning Buckskin" had had a brain tanned cover! Now there's a collectors item! 

What I love best about this picture is the quality of Slim's clothing. That is some nice work. You can click on the photo to get a more detailed view. While Slim had obviously never worn this jacket while sleeping in the dirt along-side a campfire, his grandson said he never heard of Slim wearing anything but brain tan buckskin 

Ken Smith with hides and they're owners

 

Ken Smith with two mule deer bucks he hunted in Wyoming and Colorado. Their finished braintanned hides are large and heavy.

Buckskin hunting coatside view of coat

 

Ken in his brain tanned buckskin hunting coat. Hides tanned by Dave Christensen. "Coat is cut so I can swing an ax, or shoulder a rifle with no binding and will still fit 2 heavy shirts underneath."

 
Ken Smith

"This rifle bag was made to accompany a North West Trade Gun. It is made from some cow elk I tanned and then smoked well with punky Ponderosa Pine. The bag is sewn with deer sinew. Three hide lacing holes (from lacing the hide into a frame) were left in the edge of the flap. The relatively small powder horn is made from a 2 yr old bull buffalo horn. Red earth paint has been rubbed in the base plug and the spout plug. There are brass tacks decorating the base plug. The powder horn strap is made from spinning wheel spun buffalo hair with 4-ply strands that are "rope twisted". The back side of the bag strap has a half tanned mule deer scrotum that was cut from a tanned hide, fringed, rubbed with red earth paint and tied to the bag strap for hunting medicine. The simple, early style bead work is done in lazy stitch with pony beads."



abos hunting gear period clothing scraping smoking softening miscellaneous

 

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