Skills: Tawning a Sheep Hide

This past year we raised two sheep. We had originally bought three but one didn’t make it. I wasn’t sure what to do with the hide and when the first one passed I tried to “cut” off the fleece. My thought was that I could learn to spin the wool.  I found on the internet how to wash the wool and then packed it in a bag and put it in my freezer. It took me 4 hours to cut all the wool off with sissors. We were not sure we would like to eat lamb and we didn’t know how much meat it would give so we felt it pointless to buy shears.  They were expensive and that would be a waste of money if we were not doing it again.  Anway, I ended up not being able to find cards to borrow and it all kinda fizzled out.  I threw away the wool when I cleaned out my deep freeze.

I still had two more lambs and I knew cutting off the wool was out of the question. I searched the internet again. I was going to tan the next hide, or at least try.  Turns out it wasn’t that hard, but the overall process made the hide smell um..not so desirable. Partly because I didn’t deflesh it as much or as well as I needed to. I think with a more thorough defleshing it would be much better.  It still is awesome and the directions are easy to follow.  The wool stayed intact and it hardly smells at all now.  You can wash these hides again but you might have to go through the process of drying it while stretching and applying oil again. Not sure. I really haven’t had the need to wash it.  Here is the picture of my first tawned hide. It’s tawning, not tanning.

It's about 3 foot by 2 foot. If folded in half you could make a couch pillow out of it.  I have it on top of my piano.

It’s about 3 foot by 2 foot. If folded in half you could make a couch pillow out of it. I have it on top of my piano.

I was going to do the last sheep but decided it was getting too cold out and I just didnt want to stand out there and freeze my butt off defleshing.  I’ve tried to do a deer hide this way also, but I was having my son stir the solution and he didn’t do a good enough job. You really have to make sure it doesn’t settle on the bottom of the bucket. It has to be moved around all over the hide and sloshed really good.

Here is the link to the page and directions I used. 500 g= about 1 pound  Sheep Tawning Directions

I am going to use this process again on a deer and see if I can get the hair to stay on. I hope to do it with a cow hide one day. That would be so cool!  We’ve done it with a squirrel and it turns out ok.  This was the skill I decided to learn this year 🙂

Have fun and Happy Homesteading!! 😀

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Categories: Homesteading, Skills | Leave a comment

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