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DM Tips:Crafts - Tanning and curing

Tanning and curing are the methods by which animal skin is turned into leather or fur and is a key industry across all Cerilia.


Tanning has several steps, many of which are foul-smelling and thus cast to the outsides of communities.
1. The skin is removed from the animal without tearing it.

2. The hide is soaked in a lime pit for two weeks.

3. The hide is soaked in bait for a week, bait is made with manure from hens, pidgeons, or dogs.

4. The hides were removed and washed.

5. The hides are then fleshed, draped over beams an all fat, flesh etc is scraped off.

6. Tan is poured onto the hide and allowed to stand several times.

7. The hide is then steeped in pits full of tan.

8. The hide is moved from pit to pit for three months while it absorbs the tan
9. The hides are then laid away to steep in strong tan for 6 months.

10. The hides are hung up to drip.

11. The hides are dried by being sammied ? rolled heavily.

The hides are now tanned, they will not rot if used but are stiff and of poor colour. To make the leather properly useful it must be curred.


Tan is obtained from oak bark, the bark is finely ground and steeped in a barrel of water for a few days while its tannen seeps out into the water. The resulting fluid is then reduced by boiling until the tan is concentrated.


To curry the tanned hide the following method is used.

1. The hide is cut into sections.

2. It is scraped with sleakers (special knives).

3. It is soaked in a solution of dried, cut sumach tree leaves and shoots.

4. The hide is removed from the solution and, when partly dried, shaved on the flesh side with a currier's knife.

5. The hide is then stretched over a table and glassed with steel blades.

6. The flesh side is then rubbed with cod-liver oil and tallow.

7. The the oil and tallow dry the excess is rubbed off and the hide is now leather ready for sale.

An alternate method to vegetable tanning is to pickle the skin in acid and then soaking it in chrome alum, this is mineral tanning and is used mainly by the Karamhul.

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