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.



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.


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


Then fold it over itself like this.


Then roll the edges over like this.


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


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


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.


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


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!


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.


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.

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