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Kickstarter for Permaculture Leather and Clothing Book?  RSS feed

 
Dennis Lanigan
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Seeing the success of Paul's kickstarters it's hard not to say, Damn I want to do that! But I want to gauge some interest here first.

Here's my idea. I'm writing a book on sustainable home scale leather, shoemaking, and clothing. I need time and money to do this project as I should really be getting a job (I'm currently unemployed and working on side projects) and preparing to go back to school. But of course, what if I raised money enough to make the book my job--let alone give it a proper printing--and covered a topic that is extremely interesting and important?

So, are people interested in the following? An illustrated book that would cover:

How to make leather from raw hide to finished leather using tannins, fats, water, and hard work.

How to make shoes and clothing from leather. How to tan furs using brains/fats and hard work. How to make warm clothing from said furs.

How to plan a property (e.g. which plants to grow) to sustain generations of leather creation and how to compost any "wastes". How to adapt the goal of leather to different bioregions (e.g. what tannic plants and animals can grow in my area?). Pros and Cons of different flora and fauna in a permaculture leather plan.

The history and background of leather tanning, shoemaking, and leatherwork (e.g. shoemaking and leather in the 10th Century of Anglo-Scandinavia). And the context of continuing those traditions today.

Would anyone support such a book?

What rewards would you expect at different levels? I was thinking buckskin hides, bark tan hides, knife sheaths, in person hands on workshops, tanned sheep hides, custom bark tan turnshoes...
 
R Scott
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I would be interested in that book. A DVD that showed some of the procedures (you could video the process and grab stills for the book to time-stack) would be a good bonus IMO.

 
Dennis Lanigan
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A DVD is a great idea. I can't say I'm the most engaging presenter but I imagine I could just do a voice over of all the steps, add some music, etc. Ideally I'd like to take people from a deer that had just been hunted to finished leather to finished shoes. All of that might be graphic on video for some, but I think for people who really "get it" that having a moving demonstration of such a technical (and emotional) task would likely be helpful and give a better idea of what they were in for.

Video would also be helpful for turnshoe making or a lot of basic leatherwork I'd be including.
 
Zachary Schrock
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Location: Columbus, OH
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I would really like to see a DVD/downloadable movie on this subject as well.
 
R Scott
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This is one of those things a POV (point of view camera) would be really good for. You don't need to buy google glass, a GoPro and the headstrap forehead mount is fairly cheap and a really good camera. That way the video shows exactly what you should be seeing while doing it. And you don't have to be onscreen most of the time.

You have to be good at holding your head still for it to work. If not, over-the-shoulder shots from a cameraman or tripod are better!
 
Dennis Lanigan
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I decided to go ahead and make a book because I have a lot more experience with professional pre-press lay out on my own than doing any video stuff.

I definitely think a video is a great way to learn but they will have to come later once I finish the book, get established, and can show something to an interested professional videographer.

I am actively working on the book and will let people know when I've started my campaign. Thanks for your interest! I'm really excited about this project.
 
Martin Miljkovic
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Hi,
I saw the polution first hand that the large tanners factories produce. Saw a movie about polution in China a month ago and I was convinced that production of leather must produce heavy polution. Any thoughts on that one? I mean could those procesess you wish to share usable within factories? Is the courent state of leather producing another civilisational blunder or necesity?
 
Nicola Marchi
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I have to admit that would be an awesome book to read. And if you do a kickstarter on it, I will support it.

I would also be personally interested in seeing an example of what is involved in "modern" tanning practices, and the differences in the end product/s between the different tanning methods.
 
Bert de Weert
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I would like to sponsor that kickstarter. I have been thinking about something similar too.
 
Dennis Lanigan
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Hi Martin, You said:
I saw the polution first hand that the large tanners factories produce. Saw a movie about polution in China a month ago and I was convinced that production of leather must produce heavy polution. Any thoughts on that one? I mean could those procesess you wish to share usable within factories? Is the courent state of leather producing another civilisational blunder or necesity?


That's the premise of my book: Leather can be made without creating a stinking mess by understanding permaculture principles, fitting into what grows well in a bioregion, and understanding the limits of the ecosystem. The processes I'll share are not usable in factories, although they could be scaled up to some degree. I'm proposing a distributed permaculture system of creating leather rather than a concentrated industrial system (e.g. there are only two vegetable tanning faciitlies in the US both of which have their own water treatment plants. Here's a tour of the Herman Oak factory in St. Louis, MO). In the system of leather production model I'm proposing the tannery creating the leather would gather/grow most of the tannic material on their own in leaf or pod form. In other words, I would discourage the common use of using bark from trees unless they were being coppiced.

Current forms of tanning use synthetic tannins, factory made bark concentrates, and chromium salts to tan. None of these ingredients or processes have anything to do with a living, healthy planet.

2nd Edit:
Yes, the current state of industrial tanning is a civilizational blunder and needs to be stopped. And I am attempting to create a new model to address this. Having trauma from protesting during the anti-globalization trade era, I don't think I can't fight anymore but I feel I need to do something to stop industrial civilization from killing the planet and this is one of my attempts to undo a small part of the death machine .

 
rowan james
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count me in for support of your future kickstarter Dennis, love the idea of making my own shoes, not to mention the day-dream of care-taking a yak - from your posts in the "In Search of Natural Clothes -- In Particular Footwear" thread - LOVE all the pictures you posted there!

keep us posted, please, and best wishes towards sourcing your own "income" creatively.
 
Dennis Lanigan
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Thanks for the support Rowan. Thanks to everyone else as well. Things are definitely happening before I even get this Kickstarter started. Now that I've settled into the new place I live, I recently uncovered huge sources of hard to find things for tanning: hides, tannins, and potentially land to do these projects on. I'll keep people posted on what's going on.
 
Martin Miljkovic
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I have no clue since I am a consumer only my whole life, so I have to ask.
What is the difficulty "level" of creating a pair of shoes or leather jacket?
I mean that in skill, knowledge and so on.
On unrelated topic I would love to see in the book dose little hints that are now standard within all "for the dummies" books. Those saved me from some real trouble since they were really clear to see.
 
Dennis Lanigan
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Hi Martin,

I would say the difficulty level of a jacket are "Extremely Advanced" or "Difficult". I had a brief consulting session with a buckskin seamstress last Summer. This seamstress is possibly the best and only one in the US if not the world. We were looking at my buckskin hides together (I had made three large hides) and she was explaining to me what it would take to make a jacket. Half way through I just stopped listening as I knew it was way above my skill level and didn't have enough hides (which I thought I did before we talked). I still have a goal of making a jacket out of my own bark tan leather, but first I'm learning how to make other easier projects like buckskin bags like below.



A lot of my strategy towards making a jacket, and this was encouraged by the seamstress I mentioned, is buying a shirt like a denim cowboy style shirt and undoing all the seams. From the pieces you make a pattern. I bought a shirt but now need to tan more hides to make the shirt. One shirt--at least the one I want--will take at least four hides. This is because deer hides only have the best material for clothing up the spine; a lot of the edges will work for sewing thong material but are not great for clothing.

I learned how to make shoes in a four day workshop in Portland, OR taught by Jason Hovatter. I learned a style he calls Internal Stitchdown (check it out here http://laughingcrowe.com/shoemaking-classes/2014-july-17-20th-internal-stitchdown-boot-making-class/). He also teaches a class for 10th century turnshoes (that turnshoe I made is also in that Natural Footwear/Clothing thread). I never took that class but had friends who did, so I just looked at their shoes and figured it out. But I would have been lost had I not taken that first class. Shoes don't have to be difficult at all, but getting started is rough.

A great place to start is buckskin, or specifically reading Deerskins to Buckskins by Matthew Richards. Not only does this book have instructions on making buckskin it also has instructions for sewing it as well. Essentially it is the inspiration for the book I'm trying to write (but for furs and bark tan instead). Making buckskin shoes (aka moccasins) is a lot easier than bark tan turnshoes and could be completed with bone tools (i.e. all the tools needed come with the deer).

Where are you from? What did the land based people where you live originally use as footwear and jackets? If you live in the US I would recommend going to regional traditional skills gatherings. There's usually lots of hands on skills there, even shoe making sometimes.

 
Dennis Lanigan
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Another update. As Rowan mentioned I have been dreaming of tanning Yak hides. Well, somehow a local Yak rancher found me through an acquaintance I just met. She has both of my favorite herd animals (and hides) Yaks and Icelandic Sheep. I'm looking at the raw hides on Tuesday. I'm really excited.

Maybe I'll make a coracle and float down the Mississippi!


(Bullhide boats were traditional to the Mandan of North Dakota)
 
Martin Miljkovic
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I live within Serbia - Balkans - Europe. There might still be some old-timers with knowledge on how to do it. For now I am too much into couple other stuff to have time and resources needed to start it. As my father told me in stories his grandfather made shoes from pig hides. Every home did that for their residents within the village. Thing is as I recall that there were parts of the hide that were less or more thick and those were used for male/female shoes.
 
Peter Ellis
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The following are all my personal opinions and observations, based on over thirty years of on and off working in leather. Different people find different things more or less difficult, so opinions may differ regarding what is "easy" or "difficult".

Making clothing other the shoes is entirely a matter of developing patterns and understanding fitting. Then you cut according to the patterns proportioned for the subject and you sew the pieces together in the correct order.
Patterning and fitting are challenging, but cutting out the leather according to a pattern and sewing it are relatively easy things.

Shoes are a more complicated subject. Shoes for outdoor use, or for indoors only? You can use much softer/thinner leather for soles on indoor only shoes.
Heels or no heels? Most of us today are not accustomed to walking I shoes without heels. They call for a different way of walking.
Shoes with heels are significantly more complicated than shoes without heels.

'Turnshoes' can be made with very few tools - a knife, an awl, a needle or two and some thread or sinew. You can do one from three pieces of leather and get the "pattern" by tracing the outline of your foot onto one piece for the sole, draping another piece over the top of your foot down to where it meets the sol eyepiece, and a third piece that wraps around your heel. You can use the awl to scratch lines, or a pen or pencil. Cut about a quarter of an inch outside the lines to give you a seam allowance. You put the top piece and the sole piece grain sides facing one another and sew around the edges. Do the same with the heel piece, tack it to the upper with a couple of stitches on each side and turn the shoe right side out. That last part is where the name comes from. And there you have a shoe, probably good for a few weeks of average out door use before you will need to patch the sole. And if you do not have tough feet, you will get beat up feet walking out of doors in turnshoes. The soles are thin and flexible and you feel every rock and stick. But they are easy and quick to make.

Better shoes, with heavier soles, welt seam construction to reduce water getting to your feet, possibly with heels, are much more complicated projects.

I consider a pair of turnstones a perfectly reasonable introductory project for someone wanting to work in leather, and a pair of shoes with welded seam construction and a heel to be something for a dedicated cobbler. I have researched this kind of shoe making and am not prepared to dedicate the time and effort needed to become competent at it. I have made turnshoes, and consider them no more difficult than a simple handbag and much easier than a trifold wallet.
 
Dennis Lanigan
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Peter, I would love to see any turnshoes you have made. Do you have any pictures available?


To bring all back to the book idea: I think all of these ideas about shoe making are important, but ultimately miss the point to me unless they are in a permaculture context. Where is the leather from? How is made? How long is it possible to make that way? What animals? How were the animals raised/hunted? Are the animals fitting into the landscape to help it live? Are steel tools necessary to make the shoes? If a landscape and localized techniques can't successfully support say thick skinned animals or vegetable tanned leather than the shoes--and sewing techniques--will be different than those that can. A lot of the shoes from the American Plains, for example, were tall boots made of buckskin with rawhide soles. Rawhide soles--an amazing and tough option for soles--won't work in all environments but fits very well into a dry climate. (See http://www.allaboutshoes.ca/en/paths_across/index.php for more info and pictures on Plains Native shoes.) Without getting into cultural appropriation and to bring leather into the current context, I want to explore how the living landscape helps determine the what the localized leather culture would look like.
 
Dennis Lanigan
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OK. So I'm just going to see if anyone is keeping an eye on this still and actually wants to pledge money to getting a book done. If you plan on pledging money for a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign for this leather book please click on the thumbs up button so I have a better idea of the actual demand and how successful it might be. I have other weirdo tanner friends who I'm trying to get involved and want to show them actual proof that people are interested so they have to help me out whether they like it or not Thanks.

Here's the rough draft introduction to the book under the working title of Primal Leather: Creating a Leathercraft Legacy.

Recovering earth based, traditional ways of making vegetable tanned leather on your own is really hard to do. A lot of information on vegetable tanning is lost or hard to find as the methods went from a local craft practiced by the town tanner to a large specialized industry done in a city block wide factory. Incomplete, confusing, and old proto-industrial vegetable tanning instructions are scattered across the Internet or collecting dust in out of print books in far off libraries. It’d sure be helpful if someone pulled all of those resources together, experimented for years to find specific methods that work in today’s context, and then reported their results! And as a bonus left out the toxic chemical weirdness (e.g. alum, sulfuric acid, chromium, etc.) common with most tanning. So, lucky you, that’s what I did! I am ready to provide easy to follow methods of Vegetable Tanning in one book. I have also added methods I learned along the way that have similar techniques and use similar tools and ingredients to make: Braintanning Furs, Oil Tanning, and Vegetable Tanning Furs. The goal of this book to allow anyone able to lift and stretch a hide the chance for success. You too can now make the magical transformation from raw hide to strong, safe, and beautiful leather using these simple instructions.

I will explain the Creating a Living Leathercraft Legacy part at the end of the book. Once you have in your bones how to make leather then this chapter will make a lot more sense.

The Four Methods

Method 1) How To Make Vegetable Tanned Leather (Hide + Water + Tannins + Fats).

Method 2) How To Make Braintanned Furs (Hide + Water + Brains + Fats + Smoke).

After we have learned the methods of both types of leather we will then attempt to unravel a third and fourth type, using some of the same familiar techniques:

Method 3) Grain-on Braintan or Oil Tanning (Similar ingredients as Braintan Furs and Buckskin, but with more oils used. The hide is also dehaired, but not scraped of it’s grain much like Vegetable Tanned leather.)

Method 4) Bark Tan Furs (Same ingredients as Bark Tan but without slipping the fur/hair).

The Oil Tanning and Bark Tanning Furs will hopefully come easy to you once you understand the ideas behind the first two methods.
 
Daniel Worth
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This would be awesome, I've looked up some stuff on leather on the internet and I find it very lacking. I've also though about turning hides into rawhide chews for my dogs. I REALLY hate wasting any part of an animal.

Dan
 
Karen Crane
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I LOVE this idea!
I like the idea of the book AND the DVD...TWO income streams!
HEY! WHY are you sweating the cost of the book? ( and DVD)
As far as the book is concerned go with www.createspace.com
you can self publish it with them for very little.
Put everything in a pdf form and send to them
and they will print on demands for you. I did two books like this and
I think the most either of them cost was about $50.
As for the DVD I dont know how to do it or cost, but I am sure
you could ask create space and see if they know.
I would be very interested in getting this book AND DVD.
I made my own patterns from old patterns at the thrift store.
It is not hard to do. I know how to make jackets from cloth, just would need
a leather sewing machine to be able to sew hides.
A group near me in orthern CA, is putting together a growing coop for FLAX
( seed and material) so they can make their own cloth.
The problem seems to be that all the old mills have cloed down and no one can procecc
the raw stuff anymore.
Will you give methods on how to process cotton, flax, etc?
 
Bethanny Parker
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I'm definitely interested. I already have the Deerskins to Buckskins book, but I'd like more information. A downloadable video would be nice too, in addition to the book.
 
Mike Stockinger
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I would definitely contribute and of course buy the book and or DVD. Good luck!
 
Valerie Dawnstar
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Sounds like a great idea for which there seems an interest. As a seamstress and one who has also worked in leather, I offer an advisory word. You mentioned taking apart a shirt to use as a pattern for leather. (Reverse engineering) Certainly you could do this but leather is not going to have the same "hand" as a woven (or knit) fabric. As well as giving considerations for fit, you will need to make allowances for the weight of your leather. Supple deerskin will lend itself better to some garments than others, but will still need to consider the weight of the leather, as Peter Ellis mentioned with footwear.
Good luck with this!
 
Dennis Lanigan
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Thanks for the encouragement everyone.

Valerie, The book would mainly cover garment weight leather--deer, goat, sheep--as these animal hides lend themselves to learning how to tan, making clothing, and are easily obtained. I recently have gotten some thicker hides (Yak and Highland Cattle) but don't have enough experience with tanning these. But I do know to not make garments out of them! The clothing part of the book--if there's any at all--would be covered by my more experienced friends who make buckskin clothing for a living. I don't have enough experience in this area. I also plan on interviewing experienced leather clothing makers to get their name out there. Such as this guy http://laughingcrowe.com/handcraft/brainbark-tanned-jacket/

Karen, I would like to learn more about these folks growing flax. Flax thread is actually a common leather sewing material.



 
Garry Hoddinott
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Hi Dennis

I love dudes with skills! AND I think skills / the whole MAKER / GROWER thing is going to be huge as we transition to new forms of community. Paul's Lab kinda shows that already - like if you can DO"X" come and join us. So SKILLS are great to have.

Please don't construe this as negative but, 1. Books we have. And they are not bad. BUT, whoever made a pair of shoes from a book. 2. People make very little money from books - there's no money it mate. 3. Books are trees on trees - yep paper on shelves.

So that leaves DVD .... nah, you are not there yet.

Anything else?? Yeah - TEACH ME. Please teach me. I'd pay - probably about 30 times what I would pay for a book - (that's about 100 times the profit from a book sale)

I decided some time ago that instead of going to a resort or faraway destination and take a chance I would meet some nice people, I would LEARN STUFF. I studied mycology - now I grow mushrooms, I paid to be crew on a boat to learn to sail. I didn't buy a boat but I had a great time and I met a lov ... some nice people! AND I'd be very happy to pay to learn to be a leather guru - well - maybe to just make something simple. You have 300 million me's in your country - I suggest a 3 - 5- 7 - 10 day leather work holiday (learner chooses their own course length) would be a winner. You can earn extra money by selling the accommodation packages and also starter kits of tools / hide / accessories.

One more thing. A fair to good teacher is a GOD. Students will revere you and tell everyone they know about you. They will post HUNDREDS of photos of their studenting on Facebook and you'll be famous. Presuming they have 50 friends - who doesn't - before the end of the course you'd have 2 or 3 of those signed up - this is network / referral marketing. And you don't even have to type a keystroke.

Even assuming 8 of 10 students just do the course for fun and never take it up - that leaves you with 2 idolizing practitioners you are mentoring AND to whom you sell bits and bobs.

Convinced Already?? Make sure I know about the first course - I'm still single and need another holiday!
 
Dennis Lanigan
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Hi Garry,

I love your post. I actually think you're right. This is the order in which I learned making buckskin: 1) I got the book Deerskins to Buckskins. Read it a hundred times. Didn't really get it. Did one hide that didn't turn out very well. 2) Took a buckskin workshop with an experience expert. My hide turned out awesome. 3) Did five more buckskin hides and used Deerskins to Buckskins mostly as a reference every time.

In other words, I think there needs to be both. But yeah, starting with a book is not really the way to go especially with something so out of the ordinary like hide tanning. Such a tactile skill needs a tactile workshop.

So, OK, I'll bite. I'm going to try and plan a workshop on sheep skin braintanning some time this summer near River Falls, Wisconsin. (I know the location because people at this one farm are trying to get me to do workshops there already.) I know a guy who can basically get me as many sheep hides as I want, so that's why sheep hides. Sheep hides are also easy and doable in a couple day workshop (if I do some prep to them). It would likely take three days. Day 1: Introduction to braintanning furs. Scrapping hides. Drying hides Day 2: (if the hides are dry) membrane-ing the hide. Braining overnight Day 3: Stretching and drying in the Sun. Smoking. Done! I may have to offer scraped and dried hides to speed up the workshop as hide drying can take multiple days.

The key word to this is "try". I can't promise anything but it's my intention to make a workshop happen. When I do I'll let people know. Especially you Garry!

And, yes, I can likely take pictures at the workshop for a book and will likely give a handout for future reference.
 
Garry Hoddinott
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PERFECT!

I'm feeling your enthusiasm.

Go for it.
 
Dennis Lanigan
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Here's something that would really make this book completely different--and 1,000,000x better--than even current tanning books (like Deerskins to Buckskins): learning how to dehair hides with enzymes instead of lime or lye, specifically protease enzymes, and learning how to make those enzymes (from bacteria cultures or fungi) with fermentation on a homescale level.

Recently, industrial tanners have started using enzymes instead of toxic lime/lye to dehair hides. And the leather--and watersheds!--are better for it. I'm thinking, shit, if the industrial guys can figure it out, surely the backwoods tanners can figure it out too!

But I haven't figured it out yet. I was planning on publishing how to just neutralize and compost lime/lye and all the hair gunk (you use baking soda). But, I can't do that anymore becuase it's not the best way really...I gotta figure this out. So, just to give an update this book is on hold indefinitely until I figure out a way to reverse engineer making protease enzymes before I can publish this book in good conscience.

If anyone wants to help with the research or beat me to the punch, search protease enzyme leather. Then notice in the scientific research the organisms they use are the bacteria that makes traditional Japanese Natto (Bacillus subtilis) and the fungi Koji (Aspergilous oryzae) that make Miso and Tamari. The paper is here: www.sersc.org/journals/IJBSBT/vol3_no4/2.pdf

In other words, even though tanning has been done for thousands of years with Lime or wood ash (lye) we can figure out a better folk method using enzymes because Lime water pollutes water ways (especially done industrially). (Enzymes have been used for thousands of years to Bate hides, but that's another story for another day).

Another update is I did get a Yak hide too. Fleshing that thing was brutal!
 
Mary James
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I find this interesting in a sense but also at last check have probably 8 books or so on the subjects somewhere in the book shelves. The reason I do own those books I grew up in the native american culture and learned to tan hides from a couple of grandmothers who have been given awards for their tanning abilities while they were living.I made traditional native and frontier clothing. As my clientele grew I searched out other ways to tan hides for different types of leathers and skins besides brain tan in natural forms.I have tanned everything from fish to bison.I am a seamstress with 35 plus years experience with leather and other materials.And use to teach all this stuff. Guess I fall into that old people area LOL and possibly a grumpy old people..Who has had old skills handed down from generations not because I wanted to learn them but because it was tradition, it was a part of life and in some cases survival since we did live on the reservation in a state of poverty if that is what people want to label it.
I very much respect the concept of this coming from a permaculture based direction.But guess I am loss to how using traditional methods should be relabelled.. And hun, yes I can remove hair with out the use of any toxic materials. Making home-made lye from ashes just used to speed up the process if I needed leather quickly.It also gave me extra lye for making soap. Amazing what you can also do with the burying process and plant materials that make up certain enzymes and fungi that help the hair slip, but also colors the leather some what.
Umm and those heavy hides, if tanned properly use them for clothes for gads sake..We have made some amazing hair on and off buffalo coats.Mocs and mukluks from moose and buffalo..Leather is one great material to work with if tanned properly. If your going to write this subject however from a permaculture aspect you may also want to explain thread and needles made from the harvested animals.How to obtain and break down sinew for sewing with it,How to properly prepare the leather for sewing into clothing .Something that misses in almost all books, hence why people end up with stretched out of shape garments. Not to forget lacing techniques that not only add decoration but are really functional as well.. I preferred to not use the sewing machines for leather work and stitch with sinew or artificial sinew.Threads for stitching leather really hold up much better if they are treated with beeswax..
Wish you well with this book.Be respectful of the elders in this world who have these skills when you write it..
Mary






















 
Dennis Lanigan
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Location: Philomath, OR
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Hi Mary, What are those 8 books? I'd love to hear about them.

I do agree I should provide a historical context for all the techniques and plan on doing so. I don't plan on repackaging and calling them permaculture. The permaculture part is the very end chapter where I explore ideas on getting tannins from leaves, pods, roots, and coppiced limbs -- instead of from cut down trees. I also will explore ways of raising animals for hides in ways that improve the soil--and possibly feeds the tannic plants--rather than strips it. (And is better for the animals, of course.) I do agree calling the book "Permaculture Leather" would seem to repackage everything whether I intended it to or not. I have already been considering other titles that emphasize the leather techniques and not just the end chapter on "permaculture and growing leather". I don't have a better title right now.

The sewing part will come in if my friend who is a leather seamstress of twenty years agrees to share some of her skills (she is writing her own book on leather fitting and sewing right now). Otherwise, I'm not going to include it because I don't have enough experience with it. She is really experienced with creating properly shaped garments. Not many of my friends, or myself, use sinew to sew because it's hard to get it long enough.

Tanning big animals is a new thing for me and won't be included, unless I can get enough tannins, energy, and time. You're right of course that big hides can be used for clothing. I've made shoes out of 8 oz Buffalo hides but the hides were commerically tanned. I don't know if I can make big hides soft enough, personally. I guess I'll find out when I tan the yak and the highland cattle hides I have.

I have also been daydreaming about interviewing old tanners and including those interviews in the book, like my friend the leather seamstress. I do think it's silly when someone writes a manual and provides this air of authority, completely out of a larger context that made all the information possible, as if they invented the techniques themselves. This is a common problem with "earth skill" manuals and even a lot of permaculture books. I planned on interviewing my friends who taught me little tanning tricks along the way and also old time tanners like Doug "Digger" Crist, Stephen Edholm, Bethany Ridnour, and Melvin Beattie (who is also an award winning tanner from Montana).

I would love to interview you if you're at all interested. It seems like you have a lot to say and teach about tanning! Message me on thru this forum if you're interested, or e-mail me at dennis . lanigan at gmail . com

My intention with interviews is getting people who want to teach about leather, and are also selling leather, to get more well known if that's what they want to do.





 
Chris Badgett
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Location: Whitefish, Montana
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Hi Dennis,

My intuition is that there is decent demand in this niche for good educational material.

My main recommendations:

If you do a Kickstarter, make your incentives and price points as giving and enticing as possible. Study past successful Kickstarter campaigns.

If there's any way to create instructional videos to go with the book, I would highly recommend this as well. Don't get caught up in studio quality video. Just focus on capturing the content.

Good luck with your venture!
 
Mary James
Posts: 145
Location: NW MT Zones 4/5 Rollins Mt
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Dennis
I will go through the book case and see what all the titles ore for you when I get a chance.Sounds like your doing well with your concept.Really appreciated reading your paragraph about writing it and giving credit where it is due,, Thank you for explaining that.The seamstresses book will be good for many it seems so many people do not take the extra time to learn to handle this aspect.
Even the really heavy animal hides tan out to easier sewing when brain tanned or worked more..A good brain tanned buffalo is heavy but I have used a size 8 glover needle on them and done bead work with no problem, other then the neck that makes great soles for mocs .Moose is similar to the buffalo for this as well. The chemical tanning does not leave them as supple and as easy to stitch through.I can do bead work with a size 12 beading needle on a properly done brain tan hide where as the same weight in chemical tan you have to break out the glovers needles.
I know others do not like to use sinew..LOL when doing traditional clothing or museum quality remakes it is required,, funny part of that is many people do not realize if your using the entire animal that you can obtain one of the least breakable threads this way..I typically use the artificial sinew or pre-treat my upholstery threads with beeswax when stitching items that do not have to be that grade.I usually do not do the sewing machine and glues and such very often in what I have been creating most my life.
I look forward to following your vision.
Mary
 
Destiny Hagest
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Location: Little Belt Mountains, MT
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I'd love to back a project like this - educational resources are otherwise so hard to come by. I've found one book on tanning the old way that accurately describes the various processes and methods from start to finish (Deerskins and Buckskins: How to Tan with Natural Materials, but even that really great resource doesn't go into how to make products like shoes and clothing out of said hides - something I would be tickled pink to learn!

I think rewards for backers (aside from that kickass book + DVD of course) would definitely be some tools of the trade - maybe an ulu or handmade skinning knife? Tanned products would be amazing too of course! Love this idea, I hope you go for it! I'd be all over that!
 
Dennis Lanigan
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Location: Philomath, OR
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Still working on the book. I decided to focus it on bark tanning for now. Have the writing done. Just need pictures.

Just wanted to mention to I have some buckskin and bark tan for sale. Check it out here: http://permies.com/t/56967/ancestral-skills/Buckskin-Bark-Tan-Leather-sale

 
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