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How to Tan a Cow Hide the Old Fashioned Way

If you’re looking to learn how to tan a cow hide without a tanning booth, then look no further than this article. Here are the ingredients you will need to successfully get the job done: egg solution, salt, wire brush, and cowhide. You can even use a drawknife to flesh the hide. The first step is to wash the hide, removing any hair or thick, sticky goo.

Egg solution

A simple yet effective way to tan a cowhide is to use an egg solution. You can make a hide tanning solution at home using a few ingredients. An egg yolk, a few teaspoons of water, and some deer or pig brain. You can find a recipe for the brain solution by following this link. You can also use a mixture of egg yolk and Fels Naptha soap. Once you have made the solution, simply grate the soap and mix it with water. You can also add Mink or Neat’s foot oil to a natural hide tanning solution. The hide is then slathered in the solution, rolled up, and covered with a damp cloth. The hide should be ready to wear within 48 hours.

Once the hide is thoroughly cleaned, add a small amount of saddle soap or mink oil. The hide should remain in the solution for two weeks, and you may want to keep the hide soaking longer. You will want to rinse it again with cool water to remove any residue. The final step is to apply saddle soap and mink oil to replace the lost oils. Once you’ve completed these steps, you’re ready to start tanning your hide.


Salting your hide is the easiest way to get a nice tan. You can choose from rock salt, pickling salt, or even sea salt. Whatever you choose, make sure to cover the hide completely with salt. Use a quantity that equals the weight of the hide. After two to three days, it should be dry and crisp. To ensure a long-lasting tan, make sure to shake off the excess salt on the ride home.

To tan a cow hide the old-fashioned way, the animal needs to be skinned. The hide must be scraped of fat and flesh. The meat needs to be removed from the hiding because it prevents the salt from penetrating the hide. Special tools are available at tanning supply stores. But if you aren’t able to afford them, you can use a knife to scrape off the flesh. After a week or two, you can store the hide in your deep freezer for up to a month.

Wire brush

Before you can begin, you will need to clean the hide. It will need to be washed several times, so make sure to get help if you are working with a big hide. You will also need to remove any visible fat, sinew, or flesh that could ruin the hide. You should hang the hide to dry out in the sun, but bring it inside if it rains. In the summer, afternoon thunderstorms can occur, so make sure you plan accordingly.

Using a table knife blade will do the trick. You can use a rib bone to flesh the hide. If you are really serious about tanning, you should invest in a farrier’s tool. You can also buy special brushes to use in the process. Then, use these brushes to apply the tanner to the hide. While the procedure is time-consuming, it is a fun and rewarding hobby!

Ungulate brains

If you’ve ever heard of the process of brain tanning, you’ve probably seen the results of the process before. This traditional method involves cooking the brains, then rubbing them on the hide either cool or hot. This method works well because the brains are soft and retain their pliable properties after being wet. The process of brain tanning is labor intensive, sometimes gory, and is definitely not for the faint of heart.

While every animal has a brain, bison are thought to be lacking enough intelligence to be able to tan their own skin. Another risk is the potential for CWD, a rare prion disease like mad cow disease. But so far, the Centers for Disease Control says that there is no proof of CWD transmission to humans. But before rushing out and purchasing a hide to try it out, make sure you know what you’re doing.

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