One way many people find peace and relieve stress in their lives is by indulging in their creative side. Some people write, others play music and others find their tranquility in creating artwork. There are so many different kinds of art people can create, so don’t think it’s limited to drawing or painting. Creating mosaics, stained glass, carving duck decoys, assembling model automobiles and a plethora of other craft projects are available to tempt you to express yourself. One skill that has evolved from a necessity to an art form is leather craft.
The process of tanning and curing leather is a messy and time-consuming one. If you chose this as a hobby, you’ll need space and patience. Don’t immediately rule this out as a diversion, though, because of the difficulty. Your time and talent will definitely be appreciated by the people to whom you choose to gift your work. If you think belts and wallets are the only things you can create, you should definitely think again. Check out sites around the web for ideas. Did you know you can actually leave the fur on your leather to create something beautiful? These luxurious and unique cowhide bags should be just what you need to spark your imagination with all kinds of ideas for your loved ones. Don’t just think about cow leather, either. Pretty much any kind of mammal’s hide can be used to craft your gifts. Some leathers are more supple and therefore easier to work with than others. For example, you don’t want to start by using alligator hide, which is tough and difficult to manage. You should consider a deer, goat or cow leather with which to start, as those are more forgiving. If you don’t want to invest a whole lot in the skins on which you’ll practice, ask at a slaughterhouse or butcher for hides they won’t be using.
The Tanning Process
So, let’s address the whole messy and time-consuming thing. You’re definitely going to need an outdoor space that’s covered where entrees can be restricted like a shed or a garage. You’ll need access to water and adequate drainage. After selecting and trimming the skin, you enter into the steps of scraping it free of any flesh and then soaking it for a period of time. That time depends on the type of animal from which the skin came. After that, you’re scraping again, then wringing it out, then more soaking and then repeating the wringing and soaking until the hide is in a suitable condition. You see from the basic steps how things can get messy from all the scraping, wringing and soaking. The time involved comes from waiting while your hide soaks for the appropriate length of time. Also, you may want to find someone with experience who can guide you through the process of evaluating a hide for flaws once you get to the point where you’ll be crafting for gift-giving or items you’ll sell. A better leather makes for a better quality of item.
Actually working with the finished leather requires special tools and the patience to learn to use them. Enjoy the process of learning and don’t worry so much about the finished product until you’ve acquired the skills you need. Have fun!