Aging brain tanned elk

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cornstalk

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I'm currently sewing up a hunting frock and leggings out of brain tanned elk (smoked). The hides are naturally distressed and have a nice variation in texture and pattern. The color is the typical cream.

I'd like to darken the hides just a bit to give it a more aged look and help the textures and patterns stand out just a bit more. Not wanting to take it to a brown color, just a richer cream towards the tan side. (hope I'm making sense).

Looking for advice on how to accomplish this. Thanks in advance.
 

cornstalk

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Golden is probably a good color description I'd like to attain.
 

andy52

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You can get that effect with smoke as already stated or you can treat the leather something like Carl Dyer's leather conditioner or even Crisco will work followed by a hair dryer or heat gun to get it to soak in. I have used both these methods when I want to give the leather an aged look.
 

cornstalk

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My brain might be more age-ed than your'n. ;-)

Just tried mink oil on a piece of scrap, no change. Tried Neets Foot oil on another piece of scrap and it's not bad, leaving it in the sun to see how it does. Got some Ballistol on order but it's coming from the Netherlands so not sure when I'll get it. Don't have any Crisco but do have lard. Be nice if I could use something that doesn't smell like a food source to the bears. Smoke certainly qualifies, but no pine here, just spruce, cottonwood and birch.
 

andy52

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Lard will go rancid after awhile and smell like heck, what ever you use needs to be none animal based. Not to many things you could use that the bears won't smell.
 

beardedhorse

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Just wear the frock and leggings outdoors to naturally age them. they will be more authentic that way. Aged finishes on knives and guns would not be right if portraying a period hunter or frontiersman. Fake aging is good for counterfeiting. If the hides aren't already cut you could always re smoke them longer with a different kind of punky wood. I have a quilt of 4" square patches of brain tan smoked with different woods. I lean toward using chipped cedar bedding for pets for its color and smell. For really dark you could dye them with walnut dye. There is supposed to be a hunting frock with hand prints or other dark stained pattern to make a camo pattern in an army ranger museum back East.
 

Whughett

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The only tanning I’ve done was with the modern chemicals on deer hide, and that was only once 30 years ago. My son and I still use scraps for various small items like padding gun racks and such.
Out of curiosity does smoke tanned hide smell like wood smoke for ever???
 

tenngun

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It smells very smoky when done. In a few days the skin has to be held to your nose to smell it.
since it’s used at events or treking it smells like ‘voo. But even it warm weather it doesn’t smell of ‘gym clothes’ after wearing
 

andy52

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You might try just setting them out in the sun which will darken the leather just like it does your skin.
 

cornstalk

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Normally up here we have a great sunny summer, with 23+ hours of sun daily. But this year has been cool and rainy almost every day. My persona has me being in the wilderness for 40+ years so I don't want shiny new stuff (obviously don't want it to look fake either). Headed to the city tomorrow to get another elk hide, some Goex, and Ballistol.

I did cut some small test pieces. Put mink oil on one, saw no difference. Neetsfoot on another- not bad- and socking the piece in water after and letting it dry it did return to feeling exactly like an untreated, non wetted piece. I soaked an untreated piece in water and let it dry- still soft but the outside has a rougher texture now. I'll test a piece with the Ballistol as well once I've got it.

I'll try smoking a test piece with spruce and see how that looks before i commit to doing anything to the finished garments.
 

cornstalk

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Okay you guys (and some of my friends) have convinced me to just wear it all the time and roll around in the woods. I've got lots of woods.
 

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