How To Make a Buck Skin Rug

Making buck skin rugs takes a lot of soaking, scraping, stretching, and tanning.  Those who conquer these steps will enjoy the buck skin rugs they've made.

  • Skin the buck, keeping the buck skin in one piece.  Remove the legs, head, and tail (or leave the tail attached) and remove the bones.
  • Place the buck skin on a flat surface, fur side down.  Scrape off any flesh using a sharp knife.
  • To remove the hair, combine one gallon of hardwood ashes, two pounds of slaked lime, and five gallons of water in a large plastic container.
  • Place the buck skin in a container, stirring twice a day for two to three days.
  • Remove the buck skin and rinse with clean water.
  • Return the buck skin to the flat surface, fur side up.  Scrape off any loose hair using a knife.  Rinse the buck skin with water when finished.
  • To tan, combine ten gallons of water and two quarts of vinegar in a large container.
  • Soak the buck skin in the container for 24 hours, stirring often.
  • Remove the buck skin, replace the contents with clean water, and return the buck skin to the container for eight hours.
  • Combine one pound of alum and one gallon of warm water in a  small bucket.
  • Combine four gallons of water and two pounds of granulated salt in a large container.
  • Pour the alum mixture into the salt mixture.  Soak the buck skin for six to eight days, stirring twice a day.
  • Remove the buck skin and rinse with running water for 15 minutes.
  • Combine two pounds of salt and two gallons of water in a bucket.  Wearing gloves, add eight ounces of battery acid or full-strength sulfuric acid.
  • Place the buck skin in a bucket and store in a warm room for one week.
  • Make a small cut in the thickest part of the buck skin to see if is tanned all through.  If not, leave the buck skin in the bucket and check a couple days later.
  • Once tanned, remove the buck skin, wash with mild detergent and lukewarm water, and remove excess water.
  • Tack the buck skin to a flat board and hang it in the shade until it is almost dry and stiff but not hard.  Spray the buck skin with water if it gets too hard.
  • Stretch the buck skin over a smooth surface using a sawing motion until it is dry and soft.  Spray the buck skin with water if it becomes too hard.
  • Dry the buck skin in a clothes dryer on “no heat” for 30 minutes.
  • Use a wire brush to scrape off any bumps or loose hair.

Another effective method of tanning is a mixture of buck brains and water instead of the salt, water, and battery acid mixture.  Regardless of which method is used, the buck skin rug produced will last for years and be a source of pride to the owner and maker.

 

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