The following are the directions given in the " Trapper's Guide," by Newkouse, an experienced trapper and hunter. 1. As soon as possible after the animal is dead, attend to the skinning and curing. The slightest taint of putrefaction loosens the fur and destroys the value of the skin. 2. Scrape off all superfluous flesh and fat, but be careful not to go so deep as to cut the fibre of the skin. 3. Never dry a skin by the fire or in the sun, but in a cool, shady place, sheltered from rain. If you use a barn door for a stretcher, nail the skin on the inside of the door. I. Never use "preparations" of any kind in curing skins, nor even wash them in water, but simply stretch and dry them as they are taken from the animal. In drying skins it is important that they should be stretched tight like a drum-head.
1. Make a strong soap lather with hot water and let it stand till cold; wash the fresh skin in it, carefully squeezing out all the dirt from the wool; wash it in cold water till all the soap is taken out. Dissolve a pound each of salt and alum in 2 gallons of hot water, and put the skin into a tub sufficient to cover it; let it soak for 12 hours and hang it over a pole to drain. When well drained, stretch it carefully on a board to dry, and stretch several times while drying. Before it is quite dry sprinkle on the flesh side 1 oz. each of finely pulverized alum and saltpetre, rubbing them in well. Try if the wool be firm on the skin; if not, let it remain a day or two, then rub again with alum; fold the flesh sides together and hang in the shade for two or three days, turning them over each day till quite dry. Scrape the flesh side with a blunt knife and rub it with pumice or rotten stone. Very beautiful mittens can be made of lambs' skins prepared in this way.
2. The following process has been found to succeed very well with sheep skins, dog skins and similar hides: Tack the skin upon a board with the flesh side out, and then scrape with a blunt knife; next rub it over hard with pulverized chalk, until it will absorb no more. Then take the skin off from the board and cover it with pulverized alum. double half-way over, with the flesh side in contact; then roll tight together and keep dry for three days, after which unfold and stretch it again on a board or floor, and dry in the air, and it will be ready for use.
Lay the skin on a smooth board, the fur side undermost, and fasten it down with tinned tacks. Wash it over first with a solution of salt; then dissolve 2 1/2 oz. of alum in 1 pint of warm water, and with a sponge dipped in this solution, moisten the surface all over; repeat this every now and then for three days. Why the skin is quite dry take out the tacks, and rolling it loosely the long way, the hair side in, draw it quickly backwards and forwards through a large smooth ring until it is quite soft, and then roll it in the contrary way of the skin and repeat the operation. Skins prepared in this way are useful in many experiments, and they make good gloves and chest protectors.