Monday, February 14, 2011

Tanning a Goat Hide - Part II

Why I ever decided to tan a goat hide is beyond me but now that everything is done I'm very happy that I gave it a try. I can see myself doing this again someday.

I'm especially proud to be able to give my kids a wonderful keepsake to remember my mid life crisis (a.k.a. The 100 meter diet). I'm sure they would have preferred a vintage red convertible but that just isn't my style.

Originally I thought that I could hand stretch the hides as they dried but I soon realized that they really needed to be nailed to a large board and allowed to dry. That meant that I had to repeat the washing and hand stretching steps again.

So after the hides were completely dry I sanded the hides softly with fine sand paper and then shampooed and rinsed them thoroughly before leaving them to soak for about 30 minutes in the bath tub.

Next I hung hides over a rod to dry out for a few hours (hair side out). Once the hair was drier, but still moist, I hand stretched the hide in every direction to get it ready to be nailed to the board.

I used small finishing nails and spaced them about 1 inch apart all the way around the hide (very near the edge of the hide).

I gently stretched the hide as I placed each nail. When you're done the hide should be smooth and tight.

Once the hide was securely nailed I applied a liberal amount of Neatsfoot oil with an old cloth. The hide should absorb the oil quite easily. I left the hide on the board for 5 days to fully dry out before removing the nails.

After I removed the nails I carefully trimmed out the nail holes to remove any rough edges. I then worked the hide by hand to soften up the leather side.

It' a good bit of work but it's worth it because the end result is two beautiful goat skin rugs!

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