These instructions assume you are intending to preserve a skin for mailing or transportation to our tannery. This is a Dry Salting method.
You must read our Handling Information
- About 20-25 pounds of non-iodized sodium chloride (table) salt per sheepskin
- “Solar Naturals” Water softener salt in the blue bag is what I use since it’s cheap and available, but the crystal size is too large resulting in some waste. Since granulated salt is expensive, I do the bulk of the drying initially with the large crystals, and then switch to granulated salt to finish.
- A sharp knife (see our Shepherd’s Camp Knife)
- A fan
- A flat inclined board
- A covered place out of the sunlight and rain
- Flay the sheep, keeping mind to avoid poking holes in the skin especially in the area of the back and the legs.
- Immediately lay the skin over a rail, following the Handling Information as much as possible.
- Optionally trim off the jagged edges you do not want tanned.
- Use your Knife to remove all excess fat and meat, if these are left on, the final product will be damaged. If there is membrane left, that is fine and it will be removed during processing.
- Lay the skin out on the flat inclined board in a covered area, and make sure that the skin isn’t rolled on itself. Liquid will come out, so be sure it is arranged in a way where it won’t be a big mess for you.
- Put an even layer of salt on the skin, and wait for the salt to become completely saturated with fluid. This may take 12-24 hours. You may have a box fan blow air over the skin to accelerate drying and stretch the life of the salt.
- Scrape off the wet salt and dispose, and put on a new layer. Repeat this until the skin is dry to the touch.
- Put fresh dry salt on the skin, and fold and store in a cool dry place until you are ready to ship.