Authentically Handcrafted Buckskin Clothing & Wampum Weaving
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Frequently Asked Questions

About Indian Tanned Buckskin

  1. When you say "Indian tanned" do you mean "brain tanned"?
  2. Can Indian tanned buckskin be damaged if it gets wet?
  3. Will Indian tanned buckskin shrink or stiffen?
  4. Does Indian tanned buckskin ever need to be re-smoked?

1.  When you say "Indian tanned" do you mean "brain tanned"?
When I first started offering Indian tanned garments I called them "brain tanned".  Then I learned that, if for some reason the brains are unavailable or unusable, many native tanners will substitute other organs or oils, such as fish oils.  Rather than possibly misrepresenting an occasional hide by claiming "brain tanned" I started calling them all "Indian tanned".  The quality of tanning is so similar we can't tell when we receive hides exactly what tanning agent was used.

2.  Can Indian tanned buckskin be damaged if it gets wet?
No. And it will dry a bit faster and doesn't stick to you in hot weather like commercial tanned.     [Top of Page]

3.  Will Indian tanned buckskin shrink or stiffen?
The smoking of Indian tanned buckskin seals the hide's fibers, thereby preventing them from shrinking to their original size after getting wet.  HOWEVER, if you launder it with soaps, detergents, or leather cleaners you may remove the smoke from the fibers.  In that case it may shrink and get harder when it dries from getting wet.

If you have laundered it the only recourse you have is to again thoroughly wet the hide and constantly pull and stretch it (called "staking") in all directions until completely dry again.  Then it must be smoked again or it will again shrink and dry the next time it gets wet.  This is extremely difficult to do with an article of clothing and restore it to the same size and fit it was before laundering.  Therefore, DON'T launder Indian tanned hides!     [Top of Page]

4.  Does Indian tanned buckskin ever need to be re-smoked?
The items found in museums and other collections still have their original smoking - and they're 200 to 500 years old.  And I'm sure they've seen many uses in harsh weather.  You should never have to worry about that, unless you have laundered them.  In that case you have a $%^* job on your hands (see question 3 above).     [Top of Page]

Copyright Jan 1999, 2015, Gary A. Reneker. All rights reserved. All text, graphics, programming, and coding are protected by U.S. and International Copyright Laws, and may not be copied, reprinted, published, translated, hosted, or otherwise distributed by any means without explicit permission from Gary A. Reneker.