What could be more complete and satisfying than using the product of the hunt, to make your hunting gear?! Here are some good shots….
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
He hunted these in Wyoming and Colorado. Their finished braintanned hides are large and heavy.
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.”
"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."