27 degrees

You guys. It’s cold. But. I did hide work for a couple hours after dark today.

This bad boy, who is definitely getting split into 2 pelts after smoking, finally doesn’t have wet wool anymore.

I was getting a little worried about this one because the skin side felt a bit strange – like a little extra greasy from the tanning dressing maybe. I worried it wouldn’t soften or the leather dry correctly. But it’s acting just as I expect it to.

That’s just from hand stretching. Pulling on it, basically. Where it’s white, it’s done. Where it’s yellow- brown, it needs to be broken and softened. I used my hands and my ulu to work it tonight.

You can see the difference that softening makes. It really transforms it.

This sheepskin isn’t even dry in the leather yet, so I’ve got much more stretching and breaking to do. I’ll need to keep doing it – softening with hand and tool – until the leather is totally dry. Then it will (finally) be ready for smoking.

Final result for today

I also started dry membraning the custom deer skin.

Basically I just sat on the floor with it and scraped it with my dull tools. I needed to scrape off the stuck salt, and then get at the membrane. It’s not as dry as I thought it was (thanks weather!) so I didn’t get all the membrane off tonight.

Hopefully you can tell from the photos what the membrane is, if you’re not sure.

The membrane is that thin, papery layer. It lives between the flesh of the animal and the actual skin. If you think of the skin as an organ (because it is…) it makes sense that it would be encased in its own membrane. Almost like the skin’s skin. Technically you can tan with it on, but removing it yields a softer more supple result.

I’d really like to get it off before I tan this deer. I just don’t enjoy wet membraning as much, and the cold isn’t conducive to it.

Next time I’m able to get back to it, it’ll be even drier and I’ll get the rest of the membrane off. I have some pumice coming, which I’m excited to try and expecting to be a tremendous help.

Progress is happening, but for the sake of my purse I wish it was faster.

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