How to Preserve Cow Hide
If you’re wondering how to preserve cowhide, here are some tips: Avoid direct sunlight, keep it away from high-traffic areas, and use tannic acid derived from tree bark. The skin will be more stable once it has dried. Keep it flat and free from curled edges. If you need to transport your hide, make sure that it is flat. Salt draws moisture from the skin. Add more salt if you see any low spots. The salt will eventually dry the hide.
Wet scrape technique
The wet scrape technique to preserve cow hide uses the scraping process to smooth the surface. A spring steel bar, approximately one and a half inches wide and one to two feet long, is used. The bar should be covered with padding and have a 90-degree unnickered edge. If you nick the bar, it can tear the hide. After the scraping process, allow the hide to dry in the sun.
The cowhide is soaked for two weeks or more, if possible. Then it must be dried again. Once dried, apply saddle soap or mink oil to replace lost oils. Then work the oil into the leather until it is pliable. Use the same procedure for preparing hides for the leather industry. For more detailed instructions, read our leather care guide. You can also find more information on the wet scrape technique to preserve cow hide here.
Avoiding direct sunlight
If you want to keep your cowhide rug in good condition for years to come, avoid displaying it in direct sunlight. During the day, the cowhide will be exposed to light, and it will begin to fade faster. Avoid placing it in high-traffic areas, and try to avoid displaying it in a sunny room. The direct sunlight will fade the cowhide, especially if you have dyed it.
Once you have conditioned the cowhide, it’s time to keep it out of direct sunlight. The sun can bleach the cowhide, so make sure to hang it in a dry, well-ventilated place. Avoid placing the cowhide in the sun for extended periods, as it will fade the leather. Once it’s dried, wrap it in a cotton cloth and store it away.
Avoiding high-traffic areas
Using cowhide is a unique way to add a touch of rustic charm to your space. Avoid placing the cowhide in high-traffic areas, including the living room, bedroom, and kitchen. Store your cowhide flat or folded when not in use. Clean it outdoors with a broom or vacuum without a spiral roller. For tough stains and odors, mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and apply the mixture to the hide. Allow it to dry thoroughly on both sides to avoid curling or wrinkling.
Using tannic acid from tree bark
There are many ways to preserve a cowhide, including by using tannic acid from tree bark. This method can take up to six months to complete and can stain the animal’s fur. It is not recommended for preserving a cowhide, however, because it can discolor the hide and take months to complete. To begin tanning a cowhide, you will need at least 100 pounds of tree bark, as well as a 100-pound cow or deer hide.
This process involves dehairing the hide to remove the grain (outer layer), scraping off excess fat, flesh, and membrane, and rinsing. After two weeks of curing, the cowhide will be rehydrated and cleaned in clean water. Then, the hide is ready for the tanning process, which involves soaking the hide in a tannic acid solution that gradually gets stronger, but is gentle enough to prevent damage.