Tanning References

Eldholm, S. & Wilder, T. Buckskin: The Ancient Art of Braintanning, Paleotechnics, Boonville, CA, 2001. - Excellent book on brain tanning. Can be tough to find used, but last I checked it was still available new from the publisher.

Hobson, P. Tan Your Hide! Home Tanning Leathers & Furs, Garden Way Publishing, Charlotte, VT, 1977. - Good basic book on tanning and working with furs and leathers. Cheap and readily available.

Reed, R. Ancient Skins, Parchments, and Leathers, Seminar Press, London, 1927 - Great documentation for how tanning and related processes were done in pre-modern times! Unfortuanately hard to find and expensive, if you have a university library near you, they may have a copy.

Smith, C. S. & Hawthorne, J. G. (translators), "Mappae Clavicula: A Little Key to the World of Medieval Techniques," Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 64, Part 4, 1974 - Collection of instructions and recipes from roughtly 1000 AD. Does not include tanning, but does have instructions for making parchement, dying skins different colors, and making inks. Should be avaible at major libraries, and also has been published as a facisile reprint.


Van Dyke's Taxidermy - best place I've found for tanning supplies. They have aluminum sulfate (and other forms of alum), quebracho bark powder (for vegetable tanning), citric acid (pre-tanning pickle) and lots of other stuff. If you have a supplier you like better, let me know and I'll check them out.

Sodium carbonate (washing soda) can be found in most grocery stores in the detergent section.

Salt - don't use salt from the grocery store, it usually has iodine (which can interfer with the tanning chemistry), sodium silicoaluminate (keeps salt from caking; insoluble so will tend to gum up your hides). If you have a feed store near you, ask for "hay salt" or "solar salt" which are big sacks of pure salt (pretty cheap, too).

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