Well folks, after a long while ... I'd say I've finished with the WT hide! Sorry or the long wait, ladies and gents ... spring kinda sprung unexpectedly here and I got busy starting seeds for the vegetable patch!
After about 60-ish days in the tea (I've also added some spruce bark tea to get the more golden highlights and the preservative qualities) the hide was taken out, washed in mild soap (in a washing machine, if you must know!) and rinsed.
|Dove body soap (1/3 cupful) with a squirt of betadine surgical scrub.|
Just so it can cover the hide, I've diluted it in half a litre of WARM (not hot) water. Work, agitate, pummel, massage, rub, stir, etc for 30 minutes. Kinda wring it the best you can, let it drip off excess dressing, then repeat the work/agitate/pummel again. Then let it sit in the dressing for an hour.
After an hour, take it out of the dressing and let it drip off the excess overnight.
After dressing the hide, I folded it and plonked it in the freezer overnight. Took it out the next day, let thaw outside (8 deg C in the sun that day) let it dry off excess moisture from drippy slippery hide to just damp, and let it freeze outside at night, and prepare to work it the next day.
|Even with all the holes and missed grain patches, it looks pretty darn good.|
The hide contains just enough moisture that it WON'T freeze solid - more like a very stiff pair of un-broken jeans. For working the hide, I lashed a canoe paddle onto the deck's steps and used the edge. You can also lace the hide onto a frame and work it with a paddle in your hands -- but I like to be able to rub n' fluff the hide in my palm in between edge working. Plus a hide on a frame won't fit in a freezer all that well .....
|After 2 hours of working ... 1.362 kg|
|After 6 hours of working .... 0.743kg. Nearly half of it's original weight was water!|
|After 8 hours of working ... only 3g difference. Yup it's dry. Bear in mind that you also scrape a heck|
of a lot of membrane off the hide when you work it ... so you'll lose maybe 2-3 grams of fibres per 2 hours.
Once it's dry, I change technique ... and used a deer scapula for finishing. The way I do it is to sit on half of the hide, lift the edge with my left hand until you have a bit of tension, then use the scapula in my right hand to scrape/fluff the stubborn areas like the back, neck and edges into the softness I want - in this case as soft as a broken in denim fabric feel, as I'm thinking of making a quiver and bow case.
|It's funny how well the deer scapula fits in my hand and works so well to fluff up the fibres!|
|Rough un-pumiced on the top half, smooth silky suedey pumiced on the bottom half.|
|Grain side. Nice golden brown with the odd light tan patches from bad graining.|
However, the flesh side looks amazing! Maybe I should finish off the grain side with the pumice stone, too, to even the surface a bit more.
|Silky suede smooth!|
|Soft enough to sew without pre-punching with an awl, yet stiff enough to hold it's shape once sewn into ...|
dunno yet. Quiver and bowcase, maybe?