A Different Kind of Self Tanner.

I’ve been pretty absent from WordPress, as I still haven’t picked up a new laptop cord, and blogging on this tablet sucks. I hope to pick one up in the next couple days, as I’m off work after hitting my monthly hour cap yesterday, but if I forget, I can still put up quick, short posts of what we got done over the weekend. This is one such post, just to keep up the arbitrary schedule I’ve given myself of posting at least each Monday. If I don’t post, I feel guilty. It’s the same mechanism I use to drag my ass to the gym 3 or 4 days a week.

I’ll start with the first thing that happened this weekend. Remember those hides we were self-tanning (tanning ourselves, I suppose)? Well, after having them thump around in the dryer with old tennis shoes, they were still stiff. We left them for, what, two or three months? They still didn’t smell, so they were tanned, just not soft.

Matt ordered a bunch of taxidermy stuff from a distributor about a week ago, and when I got home from the gym Thursday it had arrived. There were a few things in the box, including a panfish mounting kit, but what we needed was the 50 pound sack of sawdust, and a bottle of stuff called Relax-R.

Matt made the water dilution the stuff called for, and once it sat for long enough, the hides loosened up. By quite a bit. Then they were supposed to tumble with the sawdust to dry things up.



Skins in solution

Well, the motor in that old dryer was fried. So, we did what any normal people would do after a brainstorming session. We purchased a mini cement mixer. Matt located one at a local store, Harbor Freight, which sells all manner of neat stuff. Most of it you assemble at home, so it’s a bit cheaper. We got it home and got right on that.



It holds 1.25 cubic feet, which ended up being just one hide plus sawdust. We carried it out to the garage to get it going. It ended up plugged into the house because it kept blowing its own fuse. But eventually, it started turning.


We replaced that cardboard with bungee cords and a garbage bag to keep the dust in. But after going off and on all weekend, the doe hide is soft, supple, and dry, if a bit discolored.

The buckskin is in there now. I’m glad we were able to rescue these things from our amateur tanning attempts.


3 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Self Tanner.

  1. You may want to locate a sawmill near you, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t at least a small one close to home. The sawdust would be a lot cheaper that way. Great idea to use a cement mixer!

    • It would be worth it, I agree. I know there’s plenty near matt’s home town, but the closest to us might be up in Portage or Baraboo. Still, not bad, only 30 miles. And the moxer worked great, we just left the blades out.

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