Rabbit fur

booker81

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If you salt it well until it's dry, you can stop worrying about trying to break the hide down/soften it. Just salt it dry and put it where it won't get bugs to it.

Alum can be purchased at the grocery store, in the spice aisle.

I'm not sure of the quality of the tan with a simple alum tan, but it would be interesting to try. After tanning is when you would start breaking/softening the hide down to make it pliable. As for "quality" I don't mean it would be "bad", but it might not be like a nice white hided soft skin you get at the store. It would still be tanned and preserved, but I honestly can't remember what the characteristics of the tan would be like. I like the soft, malleble tans that are waterproof and white skinned, hence the kit I like.

Pretty much, the steps to tan a hide are:

1) Fleshing - you need to get all the excess "gunk" off the hide - all the flesh, fat, and connective tissue. A good scraping tool - which can just be a dull knife, is good. It's important to skin, flesh and salt quickly after the animal has died as natural reactions take place which will cause the hair to "slip" or fall out in chunks. If you start getting slip, you better hurry, but sometimes it's a bit of a lost cause at that point. Soaking in plan water is a good way to get slip FAST - which is also a good way to make just a hair off tan, if you're looking for that.

2) Salting - this pulls out all of the water and extra fluids from the hide - making a place for the future chemicals (be it natural or synthetic) to go to preserve.

3) Pickling - sometimes this is skipped. It's done to change the pH of the skin to make it more receptive of the tanning chemicals (again, natural or synthetic). Usually it's a mix of acid and water.

3b) Neutralize - if you pickle, you have to take the pH back up to neutral - done with a baking soda and water soak.

4) Tanning -this is where you're actually preserving the hide. Brain, smoke, alum, synthetic tan, etc, is either rubbed into the skin, or the skin is soaked into a solution. This changes the skin's properties to make it preserved. Some things have a short soak time, some have a long time.

5) Oiling - some tan types require some sort of oil to finish the tan to make it soft and pleasant smelling and feeling. There are specific oils to use, can't name them off my head, but it's just putting some only on the skin side, and rubbing into the skin really well.

6) Stretching or "breaking" - this is where you get a soft skin. If you're just making a "Wall hanger" - a skin that can hang on the wall and be stiff, you can skip this.This is also skipped in taxidermy, since you're putting the skin on a mold. If you want to handle the skin or have it for garment use, you need to break it. Your 2x4 is perfectly fine for this. It's just trying to stretch the skin fibers out and break them slightly to allow a nice, flexible, soft tan. Tanned well and broken well, the hide will take on a nice white color that is very soft.
 

annamolly

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That is so beyond helpful. Thank you so much!!!
 
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