Hunters - How do you cure your rabbit furs?

Discussion in 'Hobbies' started by MichiganWoods, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. MichiganWoods

    MichiganWoods DD (Artistic Digital Diva)

    Oct 6, 2008
    West Michigan
    Since I'm going to be hunting them this weekend, I want to know how to preserve the furs. My FIL normally just takes the meat (rabbit is his favorite), but I don't want to waste any part of the animal. I love the feel of soft bunny fur. I'd like to be able to preserve it so I can make blankets, hats/boots/mittens and kitty toys with it. I also would prefer to keep the smell to a minimum. What are your suggestions?

  2. Acre of Blessings

    Acre of Blessings Canning/Sewing Addict

    Apr 3, 2008
    Axton, VA
    Here is some directions I pulled up online but the way my daughter tanned hers is posted at the bottom. Hope this info is helpful [​IMG]

    Soak and rinse hides in cold water. Do not stretch or dry. Squeeze out excess water and dry with a cloth. Remove all fat. Hides can be put on a stretcher to remove fat if this makes it easier for you. Don't remove the layers of membrane, just the fat. Slit the pelt down the belling and legs, so it lays flat.

    Mix together two parts salt, one part saltpeter, and two parts powdered alum. Measure parts by volume, not weight. Saltpeter and alum can be purchased at the drug store. Sprinkle on the skin and rub in well. Roll up the skin starting at the head end. Roll individually in several layers of newspaper to absorb the excess water. Place in a plastic bag and fasten with a twist tie. Keep in a cool place for fourteen (14) days. I put mine in the back of the bottom shelf of my refrigerator.

    After fourteen (14) days, rinse well several times. Squeeze out as much water as you can and immediately begin peeling off the membrane layer. It seems easiest to start at the neck edge and work your way down. This is the only hard part of the entire process. Use your fingers to separate and pull the membrane. If the hide starts to dry, it will be harder. In this case, rinse and squeeze, again. Be careful not to tear the hide. On some hides, there seems to be an especially difficult spot at the pin bone area.

    Now, allow the hides to dry very slowly by putting them hide-side down on a sheet of plastic (a large garbage bag works well), or a vinyl or oilcloth tablecloth, and on a large, flat surface such as a table or the floor. Be very careful NOT to put them in the sun or wind where flies or animals can get to them.

    The drying and working process takes about a week. Once or twice, or even three times each day, turn the hides over, one at a time, and rub with a pumice stone. You can purchase a pumice stone at the drug store, also. Get a natural pumice stone --- not on a handle and not synthetic. The first day, the hides will be so wet that not much will be accomplished, but as they begin to dry, you will see how pushing and rubbing with the pumice stone stretches and softens. As areas become almost dry, pull with your fingers and see the leather turn white and soft. After working each hide, immediately return it to its hide-side-down position on the plastic. If it dries too quickly, it will get hard before it can be worked soft. It should take about five to seven days to dry and be worked smooth and soft.

    But this is what my daughter did and it worked great.................

    My daughter took a rabbit fur and tacked it onto a pallet with small nails. She stretched it but not a lot. She let it dry out for a couple days. Keep it in the sun but don't let it get wet. Daily she would pull the fat & membrane off with her hands.

    You need non-iodized salt for the curing of the fur.

    My daughter wants enough to make her a blanket with. I'm not sure of the site but it shows how you can braid rabbit fur into a blanket. Cool.

    Hope you can get it done. It would make a very warm piece to cover with.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  3. MichiganWoods

    MichiganWoods DD (Artistic Digital Diva)

    Oct 6, 2008
    West Michigan
    I wanted to follow up and say thank you for the post! Seems like a long procedure but I am sure it is well worth the effort.

    Did your daughter notice much smell to the pelt when she was done with the process?
  4. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    If you google rabbit fur tanning there are a lot of articles on the subject. I read a good one in an old mother earth news magazine. I purchased a kit online for home tanning but am still saving up enough hides to try it with.
    To save the hides I just roll them up (skin to skin/fur to fur) and put them in the freezer in a ziplock bag. Now mind you I use a dedicated MAN fridge/freezer in the garage so there are no unfortunate accidents.

  5. Acre of Blessings

    Acre of Blessings Canning/Sewing Addict

    Apr 3, 2008
    Axton, VA
    Quote:No, actually there was really none at all.
  6. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    You can go over to our sister site,, and search for the thread "Tan My Hide" and get some real good, and quicker, methods to tan. And also take a look at the Fels Naptha threads, as there was one in there using this soap. [​IMG]

  8. Blue Knight

    Blue Knight In the Brooder

    Mar 11, 2009
    Gainesville, Georgia
    Borax purchased at pharmacy (not the soap) works extremely well, skin usually stays soft and plyable. Remove the fat layer and wash the skin first in a good grade degreaser (ie. Dawn Detergent). Coat the skin in the dry Borax and allow to dry... some shrinkage does occur but you can always stretch and frame it before hand to prevent some of it.
  9. Tailfeathers

    Tailfeathers Songster

    Dec 31, 2007
    Washington State
    I've tanned many hides - I've got four kids but I was really talking about rabbit hides.

    I used the tanning solution sold by Cabela's. Worked well. But be advised, rabbit hides are very easy to tear.

    God Bless,

  10. sunnyslopechickens

    sunnyslopechickens In the Brooder

    Feb 28, 2009
    Waterville, Mn
    I have been sewing with rabbit furs for about 20 years. my husband tried many tanning processes, but the hides never got nice and soft with a nice shiny fur. I send mine to be tanned by a professional tanner. I use Rex furs primarily. Reg. rabbit I buy from a company in New York. all ready tanned. I have a website that I sell my products on.

    It is

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