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How to Prepare Cow Hide For Crafting

Preparing a cowhide for use is simple. There are three basic steps: salting it, applying brain paste, and drying it. Salt is very effective in drawing moisture from a hide. Afterward, dry the cowhide by air-drying it and rubbing it with wood ash de-furring solution. The skin must be flat and wrinkle-free, otherwise, predators will chew the edges. Then, add the salt if the skin has liquid on low spots.

Preserving cowhide by salting

The simplest method of preserving cowhide is by salting it. This process involves applying a generous layer of table salt on the flesh side of the hide. Afterward, the cowhide is folded so that the flesh side is facing the center. It is important to keep the hide in a bucket that is five gallons in size. The bucket will catch any excess water that drips out of the cowhide.

Applying brain paste to a cowhide

The application process involves rubbing the paste on the cowhide and allowing it to dry. Then, you must scrape the hide of any follicles or fur. You should also remove the hide’s grain. This is a labor-intensive process, and any patches or streaks will not allow the brain to penetrate. The scraping tool of choice is a bison hump rib or an elk ulna bone. Deer ulna bones are also suitable, as well as a scraping tool.

Drying a cowhide

If you want to dry cowhide for use in crafting, it’s important to avoid putting it in direct sunlight or heat. After scrubbing it clean, you can cover it with a clean, old towel. If you’re able to get rid of the dirt, you can also use heavy books to help keep it from curling. However, be sure not to cut corners here. If you do, you risk ruining the cowhide’s quality.

Using wood ash de-furring solution

Using wood ash de-furring solutions to prepare cow hides can save you money and time. They can be made from the ash left over after wood stoves. This solution contains lye, which is great for removing hair from cow hides. Several times a day, stir the wood ash solution and add more water until the hide is about half-full. The hide should remain in the wood ash solution for at least four hours. Using a flat rock to weigh down the hide is a great way to loosen hair and make it easier to de-fur.

Softening a cowhide

If you are in need of a new cowhide, you may want to know how to soften a cowhide. Typically, the process requires soaking the hide in warm water. Once soaked, the hide should feel pliable and soft, and it should be able to be squeezed. If the hide is stiff or hard to squeeze, the inner layers are too dry. A short soak will not soften the hide much, and it may end up looking a bit mangy.

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