More home-tanning...
The final stage of hide-tanning is to smoke the hide. This makes the hide water-repellent and allows it to remain soft after it gets wet. It also gives the hide a nice colour and smell.

I didn't get around to smoking the hide until June. I sewed the hide into a bag and sewed on extra fabric on the bottom to keep it away from the fire. I hung the hide and fabric bag from a tripod made of  3 poles in the back yard. I built a small fire in an old pot. 

When the fire was down to coals I almost smothered it with sawdust. This creates lots of smoke but no flames. Then I put the fire pot under the hide so all the smoke would go up into the hide. I smoked the hide for about 10 minutes and then took the fire out and looked at the hide. It was hardly smoked at all so I put it over the fire again. I ended up smoking it for a couple of hours. At one point I turned it inside out to smoke the other side.
Here's the finished hide with the edges trimmed off. It is a nice warm orangy brown colour. It's not as good as I would like but I learned a lot from my first attempt at hide tanning and maybe I'll try again this year...
  Vaughn Terpack sent me some helpful suggestions for improving my hide.

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Copyright © 1997, Judy Kavanagh -- All rights reserved
Last updated October 22, 1997