How To Make A Buckskin Shirt Part 4
By Toby Trigger

Posted: December 20, 2014

This is part four of a multi-series how-to project. In real time, I am making a buckskin shirt from two deer I shot earlier in November.

 

RE-CAP – I shot two deer, skinned and fleshed the hides and soaked them in a solution made with hydrated lime and water. I scraped the hair and grain off from the hide and rinsed the hide for three days in a bucket of water with a small flow of water to remove the alkalinity.

 

TODAY (FRIDAY)

I wrung the hides using a 2×4 and a handle from a broken hoe. I wrapped the hide to form a circle where I could place the handle inside the circle and twist. I twisted very hard in both directions to remove the water from the skin. Then I move the hide around and twisted it again, and again.

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To wring the hide start by lying the hide over something like 2×4 like this.

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Then fold it over itself like this.

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Then roll the edges over like this.

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IF you roll it up right it will form a ring like this.

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To wring the hide the author just used an old hoe handle and twisted the hide repeatedly until no water squeezed out.

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After wringing the hide the hide was re-opened and it appeared white with definitive “wing marks” on it.

After wringing the hide I stretched it open with my hands and by rubbing it across my fleshing beam. The hide was surprisingly stretchy and turned white as I worked it. This opened the hide and made the hide feel damp to the touch.

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After wringing and opening the hide the author used his fleshing beam to further stretch the hide and remove any excess water.

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The hide had a soft feeling to it at this point.

As I was wringing and stretching the hides I had the container with brains that I took from the two deer thawing out in a bowl of hot water. I mashed each brain up and made separate “dressings”; one for each buckskin. The mixture was made into a paste consistency before adding about one cup of warm water and mixed it thoroughly.

I had to repeat this process because my dog ate the first batch.  Never leave the dressing out were your dog can get into it!

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Brains from the deer were mashed up to make a paste. Eggs can be used as a substitute.

Next I added about two quarts of warm water to the mix and then added one buckskin to the dressing. I made sure to get the hide completely wet and left it in there overnight. I repeated the steps with the other buckskin.

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The buckskin hides will soak up the dressing overnight.

This week I will work the hides to a dry and tanned state in preparation for the final step of brain tanning which is smoking.

The wringing step was fun compared to graining the hide which required a lot of physical work.