Tanning Hides

Discussion in 'Historical Re-enactment' started by waenlotien, Dec 2, 2003.

  1. waenlotien

    waenlotien Healer/ Magicuser

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2003
    Messages:
    367
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Oregon
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0
  2. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0
    How you tan your hide (is there a joke in there?) depends upon what you are going to use it for. Modern leather can be purchased in two main tanning methods, vegetable tan (called veg tan) or chrome tan. Veg tan leather works for tooling or stamping. The leather is not water proof so can be wet prior to tooling or stamping. It is then water proofed after worked. Chrome tan is very common today. It can sometmes be stamped but tooling is nearly impossible. Chrome tanned leather, while not water proof does not take water, soaking, like veg tanned leather and is much more difficult to work. If you cut the leather and the cut edge is beige its veg tanned leather. If the cut edge is grey it's chrome tanned leather.

    You can also buy deer taned cow hide which has the strength of cow hide and the softness of deer hide (also elk, moose, etc.) The furniture industry uses leathers tanned in a deer tan like method resulting in leathers that are strong and very soft to the hand.

    Veg tanning is done using vegetable tannins. Chrome tanned leather is tanned using chromium salts. Chrome tanning takes a few days. Veg tanning takes about two weeks. Deer tanning is done over a smoky fire. It's the particulate matter coming from the smoke that tans the hide, plus the hand working of the leather that makes it soft. You can also brain tan a hide. It's exactly as it sounds. You create a puree of animal brains then smear it on the hide. Roll the hide up and in a few days you have a tanned hide that is soft like deer hide. The brain used does not have to belong to the original hide owner. You could go to your grocery store and purchase cow brains and they work fine.

    Soft tanned leathers are not good for tooling or stamping but are great for clothing, shoes, or pouches. Chrome tanned leathers are used a lot for armor because they are typically stiff and don't get as wet as veg tanned leathers. Usually they are not hardened. Veg tanned leathers work for armor but in thicker weights (1/16 inch equals 1 oounce in leather measuring). Usually they have to be hardened for good armor. The advantage is that they can be shaped better than chrome tanned leathers.

    Christophe of Grey
    Leather drafter of Medieval Accessories
     
  3. waenlotien

    waenlotien Healer/ Magicuser

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2003
    Messages:
    367
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Oregon
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0
    The object of this was to learn how to tan your own hides, without having to purchase them. You know, to help make it cheaper. LOL
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2003
  4. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0
    OK, understand. But the question remains, do you want to do some carving/tooling on the tanned hide or make clothing out of it? I can share with you tenchinques for deer taning hides or recipes for veg tanning hides. Unfortunately I seldom, make that never, use chrome tanned leather for any of my projects so don't know a recipe for chrome tanning. Realize that if you are going to tan your own hides, I still think there is a joke in there, that it is a smelly labor intensive job.
     
  5. waenlotien

    waenlotien Healer/ Magicuser

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2003
    Messages:
    367
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Oregon
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0
    I think I would use the leather for both. I have been buying my leather for ages and then tooling it. I have made my own traditional indian dress. I have also made pouches and bracers. I had asked others earlier if they knew how to tan hides and they sid no. So, I looked and found the articles and was sharing them with others.
    If you have an easier way of tanning then what I found please share. I recently joined the SCA and I want to make more things for wear. to include armour and things like that. Though I am an adult, most teens are bigger then me LOL I am a hopping 5'2" LOL
    If you have ideas or patterns you cn or want to share, please feel free to help me out.
    Waen
     
  6. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0
    Waen,
    Here are a few sites I dredged up for you that deal with tanning leather. The first set, as marked, deal with brain tanning which is the Native American method of tanning hides. It is typically used to produce buck skin - soft hides used for clothing. If you are in the SCA and are going to be making leather armor then the second set of sites may be more useful as they deal with vegetable tanning of leather. The Marc Carlson site deals with several methods for tanning. Carlson is pretty much recognized as "the guru" when it comes to leather in the SCA. I took a class from him at Pennsic one year - a most intersting guy, at many levels. Read into that what you will!

    Enjoy.

    Brain Tanning - to make buck skin
    http://www.braintan.com/toc.html
    http://www.nativetech.org/tanning/tanning.html
    http://www.braintan.com/articles/furs/george1.html
    http://users.potlatch.com/bluethistle/bnb/tan.htm
    http://www.nativetech.org/ - follow the link for Leather and Clothing

    Vegetable Tanning sources
    http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/leather/pl.html
    http://oror.essortment.com/leathertanning_rdcu.htm
    http://www.cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/_l/l-103.html
     
  7. waenlotien

    waenlotien Healer/ Magicuser

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2003
    Messages:
    367
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Oregon
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0
    Wow,
    Thanks very much!! I am planning on attending Pennisic in 2004. I cannot wait!!
    Thanks for sharing those wonderful sites with me.
    Waen
     
  8. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0
    Waen,
    Slightly off topic for this forum, or perhaps not......
    Will Pennsic 2004 be your first?
    [Not entirely off topic as this is perhaps the very best place to see people wearing and doing the things discussed on this forum.]
     
  9. sefranox

    sefranox New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2003
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Dirmingen / Germany
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0
    a little more off topic :

    what is Pennsic 2004 ?
     
  10. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0
    Sefranox,
    Staying off topic, Pennsic is the world's largest gathering of the Society for Creative Anachronism - a group that studies and attempts recreating life in medieval times and known as the SCA (www.sca.org). Pennsic lasts for two weeks in August and is hosted in Pennsylvania. Typically it is attended by some 15,000 to 20,000 folks, all in period dress and persona. The web site is http://www.pennsicwar.org/ If you liked the movie Braveheart and wanted to be in battles, Pennsic is where you can make that dream come true.
     
  11. sefranox

    sefranox New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2003
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Dirmingen / Germany
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0
    oh well, i know events like that, im going to them for two years now, too (but in germany).

    the last one i went to was the New Order in last august, the biggest larp event on the european mainland, but there were "only" about 3000 people and it was 4 days long. and talking about braveheart, the last battle, when 300 of us ran against 2500 of them, was amazing.

    does Pennsic have a plot, a story, and are you playing characters ?
     
  12. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0
    Pennsic has no plot. The only character you play is your personna that you have created for participation in the SCA. However, Pennsic is not an officially sanctioned SCA event, even though most of the attendees are SCAians, therefore there are lots of other folks who are "characters" other than what is typical for the SCA. For example, there is one group called the Tu Chux who base their "game" on a book. They wear only animal furs. Tu Chux fighters are called dogs. They camp by themselves. The battles at Pennsic typically have upwards of 1,000 per side. For the past two years they have had a fort, or most of one, which some of the battles are fought over. Very cool!

    Gulf Wars, coming up in March in Lumberton Mississippi http://www.gulfwars.org/, is one week long and smaller than Pennsic - about 3,000 to 5,000 in attendance. The fort at Gulf Wars is cooler though. It has a gate and a walk over with two towers on each side. Real nice for combat archers! GW is an officically sanctioned SCA event so folks are "playing" their SCA personnas. The battles usually are made up of about 1,000 individuals total, fighters, archers, and seige weapons.

    You are free to create any personna you would like. Only stipulation is that it can not be a person who really, or was thought to really exist. i.e. you can't be King Arthur or Robin Hood. However you can have a personna based somewhat on these characters as long as they "could have actually existed" in period. The SCA has knights, squires, counts, contesses, barons and baronesses, etc. These are awards merrited to individuals for contributions to the organization. You can become king of your kingdom, there are 12 world wide. Europe is Drachenwald. To win this honor you must win a one on one heavy weapon combat. Heavy weapon means fighting another with a rattan sword, lance or spear (weapon of choice) while in full armor. Armor is typically a metal helmet and body armor of leather or metal. Blows to the head or torso above the waist are considered a kill. Blows to arms or legs between hip and knee cause loss of that limb. The queen is the winning combatant's consort. There have been queens who have won the position by their own hand - they won the one on one combat. Kings and queens serve for six months. If you have been king once, you become a count upon stepping down. King twice becomes a duke on stepping down. Queens are countess or dutchess respectively.
     
  13. waenlotien

    waenlotien Healer/ Magicuser

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2003
    Messages:
    367
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Oregon
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0
    Christophe,
    Keeping this slightly off topic, yes in 2004 it will be my first Pennsic attendance. I joined up because a friend of mine told me about the SCA. She lives in NY. I red up on it and had to wait and join because I was in the process of moving. But now I have gone to a few functions here and I am really enjoying it. I haven't heard of the Gulf Wars, that sounds like blast. Recently, at a rennasaince fair, the jousters were there, that was an excellent choreographed show. I have made some of my outfits and things like that. My friend in NY has made me some too. So far, it has all been good.
    Kym
     
  14. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0
    waenlotien,
    As an outside chance and being ever hopeful is by chance your friend in NY who introduced you to Pennsic and SCA named Magpie, maker of extrordinary meads and friend of Dragon's Den?
     
  15. waenlotien

    waenlotien Healer/ Magicuser

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2003
    Messages:
    367
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Oregon
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0
    Nay that would not be my friend. My friend is the steward of the Shire of Hartstone