Beaver Tail

Posted by: FLSH ETR

Beaver Tail - 05/24/14 06:44 PM

Has anyone tried to put up a beaver tail? I thought I'd experiment with one. I halved one, much like I would fillet a bluegill, except there was no carcass left. I sliced and scraped off as much of the white fat as I could. There was still a thin layer of it left, but I was afraid of getting too close to the hide. I laid out flat one half of the tail with the greasy side up, shook a very generous layer of borax on it, and capped it with the other half. I placed a weight on top of this 'sandwich' in case it wanted to curl. My question now is 'now what'? I'm not a huge fan of paying thirty dollars to have it tanned. I'm thinking that after it has dried I could bring it back to life by rubbing in some neatsfoot oil. Or not?? Any help here?

Thanks, Frank.
Posted by: Hal

Re: Beaver Tail - 05/26/14 08:33 AM

My son clean skinned one one time and froze the leather. That's as far as he got.

As for a homemade tan, well, good luck with that. I did that for years. Now I bite the bullet and pay for professional services.

Posted by: Georgia Trapper

Re: Beaver Tail - 09/04/14 09:32 AM

I dabble with leatherwork and have been able use beaver tail in some of my projects. If you go to YouTube do a search "how to skin beaver tails tutorial". It is a simple and easy process. He also gives a unique method for tanning the tail skins. It is not a true tanning process but it involves soaking the skins in 50/50 mix of glycerin and alchohol. The skins come out with a rubbery texture and if you use a skiving knife to shave down the flesh side they will become quite flexible. The tails will lose some of their color but they will take a black leather dye to darken them quite nicely. I have glued the beaver tail onto a leather backing to make hat brims on my fur hats, and have used it as a decorative inset on gun holsters. Other planned projects are to use the tail laced onto the grip of my longbow and a laced up grip on my hatchet that I carry in my trappers packbasket. It's some pretty neat stuff that looks nice and wears well.
Posted by: CapnJack

Re: Beaver Tail - 12/29/14 08:51 PM

If you don't want to tackle the tanning process yourself Specialty Leather in Boone IA
has done many for me and have turned out great.
My son has a Beaver Tail Holster made for his Ruger Bearcat along with a custom sling
and a wallet that refuses to wear out. Once tanned Beaver Tail is one of the most durable
products to make unique things from.

Posted by: FLSH ETR

Re: Beaver Tail - 12/30/14 11:32 AM


I completed the task as I proposed. After letting the 'sandwich' sit for a couple of months, I opened the concoction up. All looked well with the exception of the borax coating everything. I dusted both halves off as best I could, then took a wet paper towel to them to remove the last of the powder. Both halves then curled and were stiff. I coated one of the halves with neatsfoot oil. That did nothing for the stiffness, but gave that half a shiny finish and is now somewhat translucent. I'll add them both to the pile of stuff that I'll do something with later. (the pile is located under the 'honey-do' list) smile