I have done quite a bit of internet research and have quite a few books on the subject. They are mostly ... Is it supposed to look like/ be doing this sort of questions lol.
For my first attempt its not bad. Ratty and full of holes but its a learning experience.
Its been fleshed and soaked in bucking solution and I'm trying to grain/membrane it now.
Its quite stained from god knows what... Dirt and such.
The hair came off quite easily and I really couldn't figure out how deep to go. Im not sure how to explain this...
From all ive read people commonly remove the hair and don't remove the layer of (grain) dermal layer the hair attaches too. When I removed the hair it pretty much just fell off and took the scumy layer of flesh it was attached too... The layer under that is a little bit textured... But its white and seems impossible to remove. The little of that I was able to scrape off looked more like cutting into the hide than anything. I think the sludge that came off with the hair was all that had to be removed... Could somebody correct me here ?
Now the flesh side after a soak in bucking solution is a mess... Is stained dark from the dirt on it and I left quite a bit of at and meat that I couldn't remove. Now I'm trying to membrane the hide... I pulled it put of the lye bucking solution and spent the day trying to peel off the dirty membrane layer from the flesh side. It is taking forever and its damn near impossible... The membrane is TOUGH! Im pulling it and using a small knife to cut it... Very slow going. Did I do something wrong here or is this because I left too much fat and such on there ? I can get the membrane off slowly to reveal the smooth white hide underneath but it is taking HOURS! At this point the hide is a mess and kind of nasty smelling but its starting to see like a real hide lol.
Im trying to do a brain tan but its actually hard to get brains in this area lol... Nobody will part with animal brains for fear of health risks. Im probably going to try a mix of marrow eggs and ivory soap.
You need to remember that there are two sides to the hide. The outside with the hair just needs to have the hair removed - it is a fairly easy task. The inside of the hide needs to be fleshed (removing any meat and fatty tissue) and that requires scraping the hide carefully so as not to cut into the hide but making sure it is free of the fat and bits of meat that will cause spoilage. Once that is done you have rawhide. It is white, dries hard, and is used for drums, rattles and anything that has to have a very hard or "plastic" surface. To turn rawhide into leather you need to get some oils back into the leatherand then loosen the fibers of the hide to make it flexible - the oil keeps it soft and flexible and also water proofs it. The traditional oil is that which is in the brain of the animal itself. Mineral oil is a good second choice but you have to be careful jow much you use. Mineral oil does not turn rancid like animal and vegetable oils do.
The "tanning" process is the arduous task of stretching and twisting the hide and then stretching it repeatedly to loosen thos fibers. If you have holes in the hide then you have already made some very serious errors in the scraping of it and when you try to stretch it for tanning it will tear and be lost. I recommend that you rinse the hide and lightly stretch it to let it dry. Select pieces of it that are without holes and of relatively even thickness to make into leather. Cut them and then tan them individually. It will be a learning experience and you will likely learn as you go how wet it must be to work it and how much oil to use.
Marrow eggs and Ivory soap will not make the hide into leather - if you can't get the brain then use small amounts of mineral oil which is available at the pharmacy or grocery outlets in the baby supplies area. Don't use scented oil - use the pure mineral oil.
Good luck and don't give up.