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Make Your Own Braintan Buckskin!
Books and Videos for Wet-Scrape and Dry-Scrape Tanning

      Now you can learn the magic of transforming raw skins into velvet-soft braintanned buckskin! Braintan is soft and light in comparison to the dense, slick commercial leathers. Lecithin is an oil in the brains that is used to lubricate the fibers of the hides so they can be stretched until soft and dry.

      Some braintanners utilize a wet-scrape process where the wet hide is draped over a round log and dehaired with a dull tool. Other tanners utilize a dry-scrape process where the fresh hide is stretched and dried in a frame, then dehaired with a razor-sharp tool. Wet-scraping is an easier way to remove the hair, but dry-scraping usually allows better penetration of the brains. Scroll down the page to see our entire selection of books, videos and tools for either method.

Stone Age Living Skills Video Classics Series
Disc Two: Hide Tanning
Wet-Scrape and Dry-Scrape Tanning on one DVD!

      The Stone Age Living Skills Video Classic Series brings back to life on DVD some of the best primitive skills videos ever produced on VHS video. Disc Two: Hide Tanning features both dry-scrape and wet-scrape tanning methods with Robert Earthworm and Melvin Beattie.

The Ancient Art of Tanning Buckskin with Robert Earthworm
      Learn to transform raw deer skins into soft tanned buckskin using the dry-scrape method. Robert Earthworm teaches how to properly skin, flesh, rack, scrape, brain, stretch, soften and smoke deer hides. This has been one of the most popular videos ever produced on dry-scrape brain tanning.
      Earthworm has taught hundreds of people how to tan using the dry-scrape method featured in this video. Throughout the video he highlights details that might otherwise be missed and repeats essential points to make sure you remember them. The video is professionally produced and includes the necessary close-ups to reveal the details.
      Matt Richards, author of Deerskins into Buckskins describes The Ancient Art of Tanning Buckskin as "easily the best video on the dryscrape method of braintanning, and probably the best braintanning video available period. If you are interested in learning the dryscrape method, this video is well worth the investment... Earthworm is also a master at keeping things simple, yet telling you all that you need to know. He takes you step by step from skinning to finished, smoked buckskin."

Tanning Spirit with Melvin Beattie
      In 1978 Melvin Beattie brought his brain-tanned buckskin to sell at a black-powder rendezvous with some 300 people. He was the only one there with genuine braintan. At the same rendezvous ten years later there were 3,000 people in attendance, and it seemed that everyone had braintan to sell.
      Melvin was one of a few people around the country who helped recover the nearly lost art of braintanning. Today there are individuals all over the West who learned wet-scrape tanning directly from Melvin, or from others he has taught.
      This 45 minute video features Melvin and his wet-scrape tanning method. Learn to efficiently skin, flesh, scrape, brain, soften, and smoke hides to make your own durable clothing, moccasins, and bags. It is an easy, informative step-by-step presentation of the tanning process. Additional notes on the tanning process are included at
      We recommed using Melvin's Tanning Spirit for an overview of the process, along with Thomas J. Elpel's book Participating in Nature for details and trouble-shooting, for a combination that will easily guide you through the tanning process. This process uses only water for soaking the hides and brains for the tanning agent. No chemical treatments are used.

      "I finally managed to take advantage of the information I obtained from you on brain tanning hides. I found that Melvin Beattie's video "the Tanning Spirit" most beneficial. I have done three hides so far and have been able to pick out the mistakes I have made--all of them are correctable. When I was reading the books---they are all very good---tanning seemed to be a very complicated process and I couldn't help wondering if I really wanted to get into it. Watching Mel's video helped me to realize just how easy hide tanning really is. I would definitely recommend Mel's video to any one interested in tanning hides!" (--Tim B.)

Stone Age Video Classics Series, Disc Two: Hide Tanning   $25.00   Quantity:
Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills     $30.00     Quantity:

Check out the entire Stone Age Living Skills Video Classics Series.

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Blue Mountain Buckskin
by Jim Riggs

      Like Melvin Beattie, Jim Riggs was one of a small handful of people practicing primitive skills in this country twenty-five years ago. Jim learned the art of braintanning from old-timers Slim Schaefer and Sonny Sherman, and went on to produce Blue Mountain Buckskin as the classic book on dry-scrape tanning. First printed in 1979, Blue Mountain Buckskin remains the most comprehensive text available today on dry-scrape braintan. Jim's book includes an in-depth section on manufacturing buckskin clothing, plus good braintan humor and fun illustrations. (2nd Edition, 1982, 2003.) 134 pages. Cost: $15.00

Blue Mountain Buckskin   $15.00   Quantity:

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Deerskins into Buckskins
How to Tan with Brains, Soap or Eggs
Book and DVD
by Matt Richards

      Matt Richards learned tanning from Melvin Beattie and Jim Riggs and favors the wet-scrape process for most tanning projects today. Matt discovered that ashes (lye) can clean the mucus out of a hide to facilitate penetration of the brain material, a significant improvement to the wet-scrape process. Matt also faced the challenge of tanning hides without modern implements, and proved that quality braintan could be produced in the field with truly primitive tools. In this straight-forward manual, Matt leads you through the tanning process using either modern or primitive implements.
      The significantly revised and expanded 2nd Edition includes new information gleaned from Matt's seven additional years of professional tanning, research, and consulting since he published the first edition. Matt has included a new 15 minute step that facilitates the braining process and makes it easier to soften hides. Other new improvements include sections on different skinning cuts for a better shaped hides, how to tan moose, elk, and antelope, improvements to the bucking process, improvements to the dressing step-by-step, to ensure success for first timers, and a step-by-step guide to varying this books' basic method if you want to tan without the bucking step. 2nd Edition. Revised and Updated. 2004. ISBN: 0-9658672-4-2. 239 Pages. Cost: $20.00

About the DVD

      Two years in the making, this video is a very detailed, comprehensive and easy to follow guide to brain tanning. Novices get to see what each step looks like: what it looks like when the grain is coming off properly, how much effort goes into softening, what different textures of the skin mean, and what good, pumping smoke looks like. This kind of stuff is incredibly helpful in learning this tactile art.
      Experienced tanners will appreciate learning the tweaks and improvements that Matt has learned in the six years since he wrote Deerskins into Buckskins, including the 15 minute step that makes a whole series of improvements in the process (easier, more thorough brain penetration, easier to soften hides, and hides that turn out incredibly, incredibly, soft in the end).
      The DVD includes a chapter menu so you can go directly to any step (great for quickly referencing information), plus quick-links to recipes and charts. 2 hours, 20 minutes. Cost: $25.00

Deerskins into Buckskins  $20.00   Quantity:
Deerskins into Buckskins DVD   $25.00 Quantity:

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The Ancient Art of Braintanning
by Steven Edholm & Tamara Wilder

      Buckskin: The Ancient Art of Braintanning (originally titled Wet-Scrape Braintanned Buckskin) is a veritable encyclopedia of the braintanning process. Steven and Tamara first learned the art of tanning from Jim Riggs and Melvin Beattie. They added their own innovations to the process and compiled the most definitive work available on brain-tanning today, with lots of tips for trouble-shooting problem hides. Buckskin: The Ancient Art of Braintanning also includes comprehensive sections on making and using buckskin clothes, dyeing buckskin, tanning deer hides with the hair on, and many other uses of the deer. Steven and Tamara have a casual, fun-to-read writing style. 1997. 2001. 300 pages. Cost: $20.00

Buckskin: The Ancient Art of Braintanning  $20.00   Quantity:

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Dry-Scrape Brain Tan Buckskin
by John and Geri McPherson
DVD companion to the book
Primitive Wilderness Living and Survival Skills

      This is the video companion to Chapter One of John & Geri McPherson's book Primitive Wilderness Living and Survival Skills. In this video the McPherson's detail the tanning process from raw skin to finished Buckskins. They explored many methods of tanning and adopted the most simple, time efficient processes they ever encountered. As with every skill they do, they look for function before art. If stuck in a real primitive situation, they want the easiest, most efficient (both for time and energy) method. 80 minutes. Cost: $25.00

Prairie Wolf Video: Dry-Scrape Braintan   $25.00   Quantity:
Primitive Wilderness Living & Survival Skills   25.00   Quantity:

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Tanning Nature's Way
The Art of Making Leather and Furs
VHS Video by Brent Ladd

      Brent Ladd uses and demonstrates both wet-scrape and dry-scrape methods in his video, Tanning Nature's Way (formerly The Complete Braintanner). He is one of an increasing number of tanners to use the "pre-smoke" process, where the hide is smoked before it goes into the brains. In this video Ladd demonstrates the use of both modern and primitive implements for the tanning process. In addition to tanning buckskin, the video includes an overview of the process for tanning furs, deerskins with the hair on, and even buffalo hides! 89 min. Cost $30.00.

      International Customers Please Note: Do you know that different countries use different video formats? All our videos are in NTSC format, used mostly in North America, Japan and Taiwan. Not sure what format is used in your country? Click here to find out. For our European customers we may be able to special order PAL format. Please send an e-mail to us through our to inquire.

Tanning Nature's Way VHS Video Special Discount (Was $30)   $15.00 Quantity:

Also see these related pages:
Braintanning Tools
Finished Braintanned Skins for Sale
Glover's Needles and Thread
Sinews and Hide Glue
Deer Toes for Crafts

For additional information, supplies, and raw hides
for tanning or finished skins, please check out
Melvin Beattie's
and Matt Richards'

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