A simple leather tunic

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by beast, Jun 17, 2011.


  1. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    im gonna do this right from the very start so anyone can do it right from scratch
    1. right after you skin your deer, bear, rabbits, squirrels, cow or whatever...
    scrape the flesh side of the hide totally clean, remove all meat and fat
    use an axe, hammer or a rock and crack open the animals skull
    scoop out the brain, all of it, do NOT mix it with water or anything else
    just spread it out on the bare hide, work it in and keep rubbing
    dont worry theres just enuff brain to do the whole hide, even if it doesnt look like it
    make yourself a pole frame thats larger than the hide and stretch the hide on it
    when i say stretch, that means pull it tight, like a drum head, you dont want less hide than you started with
    so keep it tight while it dries
    if you want the fur off you can do that while its stretched
    make a thick paste of wood ash and water
    rub it deep into the fur, let it set a day or 2 then scrape the fur off
    what doesnt come the first time, repeat the process for, itll come eventually
    if you want a dark hide, smoke it over a very low fire
    getting an unfinished or green hide hot will shrink it like you wont believe
    the indians used to wrap people in green hides then heat them
    it will crush bones
    once your hide is all dry and cardboard stiff you can take it off the frame and soften it
    the squaws used to chew on it a bit at a time, this made it nice and soft
    im sure most of you would rather not do it this way :)
    set up a strong pole on some sort of saw horse frame
    make sure the pole is nice and smooth, no knots or stubs sticking out
    dont want to ruin your leather with rips
    drape the hide over the pole, doesnt matter which side is up
    youll be flipping it over later anyways
    get someone to help with this part
    each of you grab a side and start sawing the hide back and forth over the pole
    go full length strokes, you want to work the whole hide
    turn it occasionally so youre working from a different angle
    as it starts to soften up nicely, flip it over and do the other side
    repeat this whole process over and over until you have a nice soft flexible hide
    2. if you have a large animal hide, lay the hide on the ground or a table, fold it in half using where the spine was as a fold line
    this will give you the heaviest part of the hide laying across your shoulders where its needed most
    (note: if youre using smaller hides youll need totally dif instructions)
    3. measure and mark the center of the hide on the fold then measure and mark out both ways to an inch wider than your shoulders
    4. from your shoulder marks cut straight down to the bottom adges of the hide, cut through both layers of the folded hide
    try and make it a nice straight even cut, less hassle as you connect it all together
    5. mark and cut a head hole using the center mark as your guide, most of the hole will be on the side facing you
    very little will need to be on the back part, also slit down the front facing side several inches so your collar expands easily
    6. from each shoulder, measure down about 8 inches and mark it, this will be your arm holes
    from this mark down, poke holes with an awl, poke through both layers at once
    slide an 8 inch strip of leather lacing through both holes and tie it
    make your holes about 3/8 inches apart
    this will give you a nice sleeveless leather tunic
     
    Dunerunner, zulufoxwo and chelloveck like this.
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Leave the hair on?
     
  3. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    you can for warmth, removing the hair is in there tho if you want it off
     
  4. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    [worthless]
     
  5. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    since i dont have any hides atm, will drawings do?
     
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Ooops, missed that.

    BTW, you can soften the hide with one person. Set a log of convenient size in a hole and round off the top end. Pull the hide back and forth over the round.
     
    beast likes this.
  7. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    It would probably help some. It is an interesting thread on primitive crafting skills. Using Flemmish Giants might reduce the amount of stitching needed. ; )
     
    Ganado likes this.
  8. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    I meant this....[​IMG]

    Not this

    [​IMG]
    From Western Flanders
     
    Ganado and Witch Doctor 01 like this.
  9. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    chelloveck and smithcp2002 like this.
  10. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    chelloveck and Dunerunner like this.
  11. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Monkey

    No reason to tan a politician's hide after you've skinned them, anyway.
     
    oldawg, kellory and chelloveck like this.
  12. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Politicians are a waste of skin.
     
  13. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    and a Politicos Carcass is only good for Crab Bait...... Oh Yea, King Crabs love to gnaw of Politicos.....
     
    Yard Dart likes this.
  14. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    you can use eggs if the brains won't stretch far enough.
     
  15. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Naw, get them near enough to policies, and they become deviled eggs.
     
  16. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    It's the proteins.
     
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