I was asked to make a bear vest for a relative. I have tanned fur before using paste type solutions but that stuff just hangs on walls.
I was wondering if anyone suggested a tan for clothing ?
Bear hides are very difficult to home tan...the skin is thin so hair loss (slippage) happens easily, there is fat within the fibers of the skin not just on the surface so if not degreased properly it will 'bleed' grease for years and because the hair is so long and thick it's almost impossible to get clean and remove odors. I would suggest sending the hide to a tannery that does garment tanning.
If you insist on doing it at home then I'd suggest cutting the hide in smaller pieces first so it's more manageable...maybe lay out your pattern and do a rough cut on the raw hide leaving extra on the edges for shrinkage. Any good quality tan will work...success will depend on how well you flesh, salt, degrease, acid bath, wash, etc.
The baking soda (a base) is used to neutralize the acid so that in years to come the hide does not disintegrate from 'acid rot'.
I've tanned a dozen or so bear hides in my taxidermy shop over the years and it never gets easier. That's why I've sent hundreds of others out to the tanneries to be professionally done. If you do a good job then the 'deodorizer' will not be needed. At this point the best thing you can do is make sure all the dish soap is rinsed out. I made a five foot tall sawhorse to hang the hides over and rinsed with a garden hose for hours...maybe you could put a 2x4 across the back of a couple chairs to put the hide on.
If you're sewing by hand use a Glover's needle and 'backstitch' a narrow 1/4" seam. This will probably be the easiest part of your whole project. You could sew bias tape to all the raw edges to cover them and keep the hide from scratching skin or you could sew in a complete lining.
Found this post...
I have a frozen deer cape that I want to tan for my SIL. It was frozen immediately when he dressed the deer within an hour of kill. He had the 12 pt buck head professionally processed English.
I've never attempted this before, but I make soap and I'm a retired art teacher...willing to learn or attempt new projects. I use power tools and can make the stretching frame. I've sewn fur and made purses from tanned leather
Hubby is a great craftman in the shop and can help with tool fabrication.
I've checked out Knoblochs website for information and have emailed them for some information on their kits. I can order a cape tanning kit which will have the basic chemicals and instructions. They offer two kits...shown below.
Do I need to purchase tanning salt or is it the same as canning salt (no iodine)?
Does a deer cape need the deodorizer?
I have several big stainless steel pans as well as plastic containers which can be used for the different processes.
What suggestions/tips would you have for me.
These two kits are offered by Knoblochs...which would be better for a beginner...?
LIQUA TAN TANNING KIT
The industry's leading tan is now available in a kit. Fast penetrating and easy to use, this kit comes with complete instructions. It contains: 1 pt. Liqua Tan, 1 pt. Tanning Oil #1 (for softening), and 1 lb. of citric acid. You will need to purchase your own salt and baking soda. This kit will tan 2-3 deer capes or 2 back skins, depending on size. You can use Liqua Tan to tan anything from Antelope to Zebra skins.
1 pint Liqua Tan
1 pint Tanning Oil #l
1 lb Citric Acid
PARA TAN TANNING KIT
The same great product that many tanneries are using is now available in kit form. The Para Tan kit provides enough product to fully tan 16 lbs. of shaved, drained skins, or approximately 3 deer capes or 2 back skins. This tan works great on either North American or African animals. It provides great stretch, a nice soft white skin, and can be used for taxidermy or rugs. The Para Tan kit can be used for both hair on and hair off tanning and comes with complete, easy to use instructions.
16 oz Para Tan
1 pt Tanning Oil #l (for softening)
16 oz Citric Acid