Making A Buckskin Shirt Part 3 [PICS]
By Toby Trigger

Posted: December 14, 2014

Part three of a multi-series how-to make a buckskin shirt project.

In real time, I am making a buckskin shirt from two deer I shot earlier in November. To re-cap I shot the deer, skinned and fleshed the hides and soaked them in a solution made with hydrated lime and water. The solution froze solid and I had to move it inside to thaw. The hair was slipping easily on week two.

Today I removed the hides from the solution and the hair was slipping out easily.



The hair came off easily with the authors hands after two weeks in a hydrated lime solution.

Using a hardwood beam I laid the first hide over the beam and removed all the hair with my hands. Next I scraped what is referred to as “the grain” off the hide. It was a very tough process. I methodically scraped each section of hide until all the grain was removed.  Each stroke of the fleshing knife overlapped the previous one. On the edges I simply continued to scrape off the hide onto the wood.



Photo showing the effect of proper graining.



This photo shows the grain left on the hair side of the hide. The author left membrane or “grain” on the hide after scraping some off from either side.


For the second hide I left the hair on as I began scraping. I am not sure why, but this made the graining process A LOT easier. I could see the area where I had removed the grain much easier and it seemed to come off more readily.



Graining the hide at the same time as removing the hair was easier than removing all the hair first.


Once the grain was removed from both hides I scraped the flesh side one more time and held them up to the light.  The hides are translucent.



Photo showing the properties of a grained deer hide.


Next I rinsed them in water. I will leave them overnight to neutralize in a bucket of water with a trickle pouring in to keep the water fresh and to remove alkaline substances from the hide.



By allowing a trickle of water to pour into the bucket overnight it will help the hides to neutralize after being in an alkaline solution for two weeks.

Learned: Leaving the hair on and scraping the hair and grain simultaneously is the best approach.



The color of the hide in natural light.


Next week I will dress and work the hide with a dressing made with warm water and the brains of the deer. Nothing goes to waste! If you have comments questions or suggestions I’d love to hear them!