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Tanning is about treating animal skins to preserve them and make them available as clothing etc. The purpose of this page is to provide information and references regarding tanning.


I once knew a Marine we called "Colonel Roadkill". If he encountered any roadkill he would stop, throw it in the back of the truck, and skin it, stretch it, and tan it. Tanning is a skill with a variety of uses:

  • make your own clothing
  • make other tools such as wineskins
  • make a profit
  • give your Marines something to talk about for the rest of their natural lives


Tanning is essentially a chemical reaction. If you've ever been to a market in Tijuana, you'll quickly realize that most of the leather has been tanned with urine. Tanning using brains is another centuries-old method.


Marjorie Wildcraft's "Grow your own groceries" DVDs have a very good section on butchering a rabbit.

Tanning Specific Animals

Rabbit Tanning

Tanning rabbit hide was briefly discussed in Episode 1311 at about the 1:59:43 mark (2nd question from Darlene of Ohio). Jack was able to find an excellent reference PDF and mentioned checking YouTube for videos.


A sharp knife, a place to stretch the skin.


  1. Make sure the skin stretched is away from varmints or pets.
  2. Take care with the animal blood etc in order to avoid parasites (such as fleas) or blood-born pathogens.
  3. Wash thoroughly afterwards, especially if dealing with road-kill.
  4. Consider cutting "fringes" so that when your tanned items get wet, the water can soak (and therefore shrink) the fringe instead of the whole garment.

See Also


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