SHEEPSKIN—TO TAN—What is a good way to tan a sheep skin with the wool on without damaging the wool?
This recipe is one of many given in the Farmer’s Tanning Guide, which we sell at twenty-five cents: “Wash in strong soapsuds, two or three waters if necessary, until the wool is clean. A little kerosene put into the suds will help the cleansing. Then put the skin into cold water, enough to cover it; dissolve ½ pound of salt and 1/2 pound of alum in three pints of boiling water; pour the mixture over the skin, rinse it upside down in the water, and let it soak twelve hours. Then hang up to drain. When well drained tack it to the barn, wool to the boards, stretch well, and when nearly dry, rub into the skin one ounce of powdered alum and saltpeter.
“If the skin is very large double the quantity. Rub for an hour or so. To do this the skin should be taken down and laid on a table, then fold the skin sides together and hang away to dry. Rub it every day until perfectly dry, then rub with pumice stone. Color with anything that will color well. Use a shallow pan large enough to spread the skin out, wool down, so that the skin will not touch the hot dye. Anything that will color wool will color furs.”
Harding, A.R.. 3001 Questions and Answers. Columbus, Oh: A.R. Harding, 1913.
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