Moose Hide Project
by Shelby Blackjack
October 05, 2011
For this blog, I have decided to write about the latest activity I am doing.
An incredible thing happened and I was gifted with a moose hide.
I have decided to tan this hide to create slippers and mukluks. I am learning this process as I go from numerous books and the advice of my aunties and my sister. My Grandmother Bessie Blackjack knew how to do this, but passed away before any of us could learn directly from her.
So far it is an incredible amount of work, but I love it.
Please feel free to ask any questions, and I will try my best to answer them.
Step 1: transporting the hide to the site, unwrapping and seeing how giant this hide was.
Step 2: building the workspace area, and getting the moose hide up onto the pole to drain a bit of the blood, and to let it air out. Thankfully the hide was beautifully prepped by the hunters, and was so clean that it made this step so much easier. The site we are using was already well equipped with cut poles, a large fire pit and a workstation table. Between three of us, and some hemp rope, we were able to get the hide up onto the pole to hang. This was incredibly hard work. Don’t let the angle fool you about the size of this hide … I can barely reach the top of the hide on the pole with my arms fully extended, it is quite a large size hide.
Everyone has different ways of starting the hide, I am attempting, through some sound advice, to scrape the flesh side first, so that the hair of the moose acts as a cushion, helping to prevent cutting through the hide.
Soon after hanging, we were able to start experimenting with different knives and scraping tools to see what would work best on the flesh. We worked on this till fatigue and the loss of daylight led to a few slip ups with the knives, causing some small gouges in the hide. It was time to stop for the evening.
We were able to enclose the hide within fencing to try to protect it from predators and keep it safe through the night.
Change of plans, decided to work on the hair first
Step 3: Carved and cleaned a tree down to the size we would need to drape the hide over to start scraping the hair off.
Step 4: rebuilt our cage to protect the hide that is now draped over the cleaned tree for scraping.
Once the hide was draped we started scraping the hair off. With two of us, this process took 7 days.
Updates to follow soon ?