We’re going to tell you our straight out honest opinion of these resources. We’re going to name names, point out the faults, and probably get ourselves in trouble. But the honest shameful truth is that there is a lot of crappy information out there and the result is a lot of people who think brain tanning is much harder than it really is.
There are two types of books that don’t work. The most common ones are written by professional writers who decided to choose tanning as their next subject. They tanned a few hides, wrote a book and confused a lot of people. The other problem books (and videos) are written by very skilled, talented tanners who either grossly over-simplified everything into a twenty page tourist book, or simply forgot some important details. Some of these can be worth owning as a source of additional information and options.
|Tan Your Hide!
by Phyllis Hobbes
Probably the best selling book on home tanning in the last twenty years, this book is primarily about chrome tanning. There is actually nothing wrong with the information, there just isn’t enough detail. This is an example of a ‘writer’ writing about tanning. We’ve never met anybody who has successfully brain or chrome tanned a hide using this book.
|How to Tan Skins the Indian Way
by Evard Gibby
I know and like Evard, so its hard for me to include his book here, but it is little more than a cheap tourist guide. What really bothers me is that it is advertised as a complete guide to brain tanning! I have never heard of, nor can I imagine anyone successfully tanning a hide using these instructions.
|American Pioneer Video
narrated by Mark Baker
I wouldn’t say that you should totally avoid this video, but it does have a major flaw. Paul Dinsmore, a very experienced tanner, teaches the ‘pre-smoking’ wet-scrape method (commonly used on Moose in Canada). They tried to make everything look pre 1840’s, so Paul pre-smokes his hide over a tripod, above an open fire. He normally does it in a smoke-house at home and this was one of his first tries doing it this way. He clearly scorches the hide in the video but the producer says that hide was the same one that turned out soft at the end. A case of a good tanner with a good method showing it with a technique he doesn’t usually use in an extremely popular video. I encourage you to check out the Dinsmore’s online guide to pre-smoking for more about how they usually do it.Click here for Paul’s comments on this
|Brain Tan Chapter in The Book of Buckskinning Vol 2
A large chapter in a very popular series, this was plagiarized from Jim Riggs’ Blue Mountain Buckskin. While the info is good, there isn’t enough of it for any success.