Hides of animals are usually used in making shoes, jackets, rugs and gloves. This is because it’s hard and doesn’t break easily. However, tanning hides is also a hobby for some hunters and animal keepers. These are being used as decorations and serve as memories for hunting trips of hunters. If you got a cow and want to tan the hide, the materials you will need are alum tanning solution, curing shed and table, salt, mink oil or saddle soap and scraper or a knife.
Here are the steps you need to follow in tanning a cowhide:
- Lay the hide on a big table with the furry side facing down. Using the scraper or knife, remove the flesh and fat attached to the cowhide. Since a cowhide is huge, you need to be very patient in scraping it. To make the work faster, you may want to ask others to help you in doing this.
- Once done scraping, place the cowhide under a shed to keep it from the sun. Make sure that furry side is facing down then pour salt onto the side without fur. Make sure that the whole part is covered with salt. Salting is done to prevent the cowhide from spoiling.
- Cure the cowhide by leaving it under the shed for about 2 weeks. Liquid will go out of the cowhide in this process. You can slightly tilt the table where the cowhide is laid so that the liquid will be drained.
- Put the cowhide in a tub and remove the salt by washing it with clean water. Drain the water and wash the cowhide again. Do this until all salt has been removed from the cowhide.
- Add clean water to the tub and let the cowhide soak. This will make the cowhide soften.
- Get the cowhide from the tub and place it in a big flat table. Using a scraper or knife, remove all the remaining flesh and fat from the cowhide.
- Once all fat and flesh has been removed from the cowhide, soak it in a container or a tub with alum tanning solution. Leave the cowhide soaked in alum tanning solution for about 2 weeks.
- After the specified time, remove the cowhide from being soaked, gently squeeze it to remove excess alum tanning solution and wash it with clean water.
- Apply mink oil or saddle soap to the cowhide until it’s soft and pliable. Mink oil brings back the oil lost by the cowhide after the curing and soaking process.
You now have your tanned cowhide that you can use as a decoration in
your house. You can hang it on your wall or put it on your room’s floor
like a rug. Tanning your cowhide may be a long process but this will
serve as a remembrance from your hunting trip, which will stay with you
for years. You can do the same process on other animal hides that you
will get from your hunting trips. Each tanned hide that you make
will add to your hide collection.