We aren’t the only buffalo robe tanners out there, and you can certainly get perfectly good buffalo robes other places. But before you buy, we encourage you to consider three things:
We get calls every year from people who bought their robe elsewhere and had bugs devastate their hide when the warm weather came. Hide beetles live in all 50 states and they chew hair roots for a living. If your hide isn’t smoke tanned, or sprayed with insecticides, or put in a freezer for the summer, this is what happens. If you buy your hide from a random seller on Ebay, or from a website with a 7-day guarantee, this is your risk. Make sure they guarantee your hide at least through the summer.
Disasters happen. Most tanning methods result in hides that can only be dry-cleaned. Ours can be washed in warm water just like a wool sweater.
Tanning is a highly toxic business. So toxic, that the majority of EPA Superfund sites are tanneries (more than nuclear sites!). Currently, the only known non-toxic methods for tanning hair-on hides use plant tannin, alum, or smoke. Unfortunately terms like ‘ecofriendly’ and ‘nontoxic’ aren’t regulated. So one prominent tannery (Merlin’s Hide Out aka Montana Buffalo Robes) that uses standard tannery chemicals is marketing their hides this way because they define these terms to include any chemical that the EPA hasn’t explicitly banned. So if you care about what you and your kids are wrapping up in, make sure that the company’s claims are real rather than marketing. We don’t advertise it up front, but our method has been certified organic since 2007 (Certification #OR-OTCO-CO-07-00955).