Many modern homesteaders keep rabbits for their meat. However, some keep rabbits for their hides because they are useful in making hand-sewn items. If you are one of these modern homesteaders who would rather run a needle through a rabbit’s hide than a fork, then this article is totally for you.
If you’ve ever tried this before or want to try it, you know by now that tanning the hide is an important part of the process that gets it ready for use.
It makes it possible to make skins that would have been otherwise thrown into items that anyone can be proud to own. Being able to do this will also give you a sense of pride and satisfaction.
This article delves into the inner workings of how you would go about tanning a rabbit’s hide to make it into a useful by-product.
How to Tan a Rabbit Hide
Why tan a rabbit hide
Suppose you didn’t know before this article. In that case, tanning (which is sometimes called tawing or pickling) is a process that converts raw hide into leather.
This summarily means tanning helps convert animal hide from its raw form to a much useful form – leather.
Raw animal hide is unattractive and hardly makes anyone go ‘wow!’ when they see it.
The process of tanning has aesthetic benefits because it makes it attractive enough to become a commodity.
The process of tanning rabbit hide permanently alters its protein structure, and this alteration makes it difficult for it to decompose.
It also makes it more durable than if it was in hide form. As described earlier, tanning has aesthetic benefits, and your rabbit’s hide will also possibly get colored.
Several tools and supplies are required from the basic stage of butchering the rabbit to the stage that involves tanning the rabbit’s hide. Below is a list of these tools:
- Rabbit Pelt
- One bottle of dish soap (optional)
- Dull knife
- Sewing Needle and thread
- Clean bowls or buckets
- Olive Oil
- A board
- Small nails or thumbtacks
- A hammer
- A sharp knife
Step by Step Instructions
The first step is killing the rabbit. Unless you are an evil character from a horror movie, you should not skin a rabbit alive for its hide.
You will need a very sharp knife to kill the rabbit. The sharper the knife, the more painless it will go for the rabbit. Remove its head and hold it up by its leg to drain out the blood. Once that is done, you can proceed to flay the rabbit.
This step is difficult because rabbit skin is very thin. It can easily tear up, which pretty much renders that batch useless.
For other animals, you’ll hear of their hides being fleshed with a fleshing tool, but the rabbit cannot be treated this way because the skin would get destroyed if you tried.
The only possible thing to do is to work as slowly as possible.
If you can flesh the rabbit as carefully as possible and you’ve got the hide off its back, you can then nail the hide onto the board with the nails and hammer or thumbtacks.
The purpose of nailing the hide in place is to enable you to scrape off the flesh with the dull knife.
Here is when the olive oil comes into play. Once the flesh has been peeled, take out the nails or thumbtacks. The hide should be lowered into a bowl with a cup of olive oil added. Work the oil into the skin with your hands but make sure you do not tear into the hide. Do this until it turns translucent.
This is optional. Soap up the skin as gently as possible. Use something mild and non-abrasive.
For this step, you have to wash the skin thoroughly. If you added some soap, please ensure it is rinsed out completely before proceeding.
6. Sew and Trim
Make a small knot at one end of your thread and run the opposite through your needle. A simple whip stitch is what you need to close the holes on the skin.
This is the longest stage of the tanning process. It can take about 24 hours to dry off the hide completely. Please keep it away from pests when you put it out to dry.
The rabbit hide can be softened during the drying process or after it has dried up. It is done so that the hide will be easy to work with.
It is a step that can be skipped like a rabbit’s hide isn’t all that complicated to work with. You can roll it into a ball to soften it up, as stretching it will tear it. Another step that you can pass the hide through is smoking. Smoking the hide dries it even further.
Once you’ve tanned your rabbit’s hide, you can make it into several articles of choice. You can make little blankets for your kids’ dolls or something that requires creative thinking.
Decide on what you want to do because the possibilities are endless. Tanning your rabbit’s hide protects it from decay if done right, which means you can display your finished item anywhere in the home without the fear of a foul smell arising from its decay. Visit the OutdoorWorld Reviews homepage for more expert information & reviews including how to tan a deer hide.