Leather Working

Editor’s note: If your prepping strategy includes learning new survival skills, check out the info below from Craig Caudill about a skill you may want to pick up.


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Working with leather is not something a lot of people get the chance to do. Leather working is not exactly an immediate survival skill, but it is still a handy skill to have. It helps you get used to using your hands, which is certainly a benefit when you are learning survival skills.

The chance to work with your hands doing something that your ancestors may have done is also a great way to get in touch with your roots. Working with leather and other so-called primitive skills are a great way to get you connected to your surroundings.

If you are learning homesteading or are currently a homesteader, you can certainly benefit from learning this skill. In the old days, every bit of an animal taken was used for something, which is something we can certainly learn to make happen. Leather-made items were great for trading then and can still be sold today.

Today, leatherworking is more of a hobby for most. However, things like carpentry, leather working, sewing and cooking are all skills that are losing favor in our fast-paced world. When you are in a survival situation and all the luxuries of life are gone, you will need to rely on some of those more basic skills. You can keep up your hand and eye coordination by using those skills today.

And you know, sitting around a warm fire and working on a piece of leather during a cold winter storm is not such a bad way to spend the day. You are warm, but still working with your hands. Some of the fairly basic things you can make include knife sheaths, pouches for your survival gear and anything else you could think of. You can watch this video to see a basic tutorial for leather working.



Now that I have you interested in leatherworking, here are some basics about tanning a hide.


Tanning a Hide – 2 Considerations

Tanning a hide may not be a survival skill you would need in any immediate situation, but it can come in handy if you are going to be living off the land so to speak for an extended period of time. Not to mention, learning how to do something that was once a major part of our ancestors’ lives is pretty cool. It puts you back in touch with the old ways that involved using your hands and a little elbow grease.


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This is a very basic guide to tanning a hide. Because we do not live in the good ol’ days, most of us do not have several days to dedicate solely to preparing a hide. This video gives you some tips for getting through the process over a period of time.



  • You will need to scrape your hide. You can use a spoon or a dull knife. You don’t want to use anything too sharp or you could end up cutting your hide. It is crucial you get as much of the fatty tissue that clings to the inside of the hide off.
  • In some cases, you can simply use your hands to pull off some of the larger chunks.
  • Scrape all the way to the edges of the hide.


During this process, you are likely to run into parts that are really tough and do not want to come off. This is normal, you need to just keep going, slow and steady to cut the tiny threads that are acting as the glue keeping the tissue connected to the hide. In the video, you will see a very in-depth view of how to go about removing those stubborn bits.

This is a long, tedious process. You do not have to get it all done in one day. If you want to preserve it from time to time and come back to it, here are some hints to help you.

Dump about 1 canister of salt all over the hide. Spread it out all over and make sure you push it to the edges. Roll the hide up and place it in a bucket and let it drain. This allows you to work on the hide when your schedule allows.


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Craig Caudill is an instructor for Dan’s Depot where he blogs and vlogs. The folks at Dan’s Depot encourage you to have and use a survival gear kit and what better addition to it would it be than a piece of equipment that you have made? Craig also teaches outdoor survival skills at his Nature Reliance School.


Author: DestinySurvival Contributor

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