Well-Known Member
So I love the look of sika skins and thought it a great waste dumping them.
A couple of years ago I tanned a Boar hide myself using K Tan, it turned out ok.
I decided to tan some sika hides, but using raw chemicals not a kit. I did three hinds for trial and I was pleased with the result, but learned from Errors.
This time I did a full size winter stag skin and to say the hard work was worth it is an under statement, its a stunning soft leather rug and is as good as any of my many African rugs..
I must clearly state this would not have been possible without some very helpful advice from Malc, sikamalc.DSC01556.JPG


Well-Known Member
That looks superb - when you have a chance could you describe the process you’ve used as I’m going to have a crack at a fallow one day & would appreciate knowing the best way to do it...


Well-Known Member
Yes also interested, please can you share the details of the chemicals you use, and also the process.

I hate throwing out a good hide. I used diesel and bicarbonate of soda for a few, and got some great results. I then got lazy and was sending them to Devonia, (with excellent results). Now Devonia have closed the doors to deer hides, I will go back to DIY again.


Site Staff
Sika are not the easiest deer skins to tan, due to their thick skins. Tanning can take various forms, but using diesel or salt is not tanning as such, it is curing.

This is the method I gave to levigsp.
Once you have your skin off the beast you need to make sure all membrane, fat and meat is removed cleanly. You can use a shaving beam and a draw knife for this. The skin then needs to be weighed and the formula is based on a dry weight of 3lbs of skin.
The skin then needs to be washed well, all blood and dirt to be removed. Let it drip dry over a wooden pole, never use (metalic bins or poles in tanning). You can then put the skin into a layer of good fine salt if needs be to draw out the mouisture for a day or so or put it back in a freezer if you do not have the time.

The skin needs to be clean and thinned for the next stage and excess salt removed, if its been laying in salt. You will notice the skin has firmed up after being in salt.
You will need a plastic dustbin. The next step is to FIX the hide.
For every 3lbs of skin you need 7galls of warm water, 6lbs of salt and 7.5 fluid oz of Formic acid. Mix it well and place the skin into the solution punching it around with a wooden pole to release air pockets. If air pockets are left under the skin bacteria can live in this and the skin could possible loose hair (slip) in this area. You can re visit the skin and push the skin about with the pole.
You can leave the skin in this solution indefinatly as long as the PH stays at the right level. However 2 days should be enough and you will see that the back of the skin turns white. If the solution has penetrated all the way through the hide it is now fixed. You can now thin the skin again if needed with a draw knife on a beam, but make sure you have gloves on and protect your eyes from any splashes of the solution.

The next step is to neautralise the skin. Take it out of the solution (MAKE SURE YOU USE LATEX GLOVES, MIND YOUR EYES) and put in a 4oz of bicarbonate of soda into a about 3 galls of water and out the skin in and push it about for a few minutes. Then take out and drain.

The next step is to tan the hide. For this you can use various tans, but one of the most efficient is LutanFN.
For every 3lbs of skin you will need 7galls of water, 3lbs of salt and 11.5oz of Lutan FN. Mix it well into the water and then place your skin into the solution pushing it about with a wooden pole, you must keep returning for while to make sure it is pushed about to push the tan into the skin. You can also add an egg cup full of tanning oil in the solution.

After a couple of days you can take the hide out drain it well and then spread it on a clean surface and apply warm tanning oil to the raw side and let it dry. As the skin drys you need to stake it. That is draw the hide over an old spade or axe head held in a vice. This will break up the fibres and the more you work it the softer the hide will become. You can add more oil to the hide if needs be, but dont over do it as it will make it too greasy.

Once fully dried it should be reasonably soft and pliable. Of course it is much easier doing all of this with a fleshing machine to thin the skins down which I have, and also a tumbling machine with hardwood sawdust inside in the final stages as this can also save a lot of manual work staking by hand, but if you want to get reasonable results you have to put the labour in by hand.