how to make wood ash lye soap

Make Your Own Wood Ash Lye Soap

Almost two years have gone by since I originally set out to document our process of making soap from wood ash lye.  I’m not always sure where the time goes and I often don’t have anything tangible to show for it.  We burn wood as our only heating source in the living area of our house, so turning the buckets-full of ashes into something useful just makes sense.  Previously I shared how we make wood ash lye water for soap making and stripping fur from animal hides and finally I have our soap making process picture documented. Read More

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Make A Coon Skin Hat – Easy, Start To Finish Instructions

Making a coon skin cap is not as difficult a project as it would seem and here we have it broken down step by step, starting with the animal to be skinned and ending with a finished cap.   You can even skip down to step #10 and use the pattern instructions if you choose to make a faux coon skin cap with “fur” from the fabric store.  Our skin came from a raccoon that had been hit by a car just down from our house.  He was really fresh for lack of a better term, so I stopped and picked him up to make use of his pelt.  We respect and make use of all the resources out here so this was a good way to turn the raccoons unfortunate encounter into something appreciated instead of letting his life be taken only to lay in waste. The rest of his remains were returned to the woods to feed his natural predators that live in our area.  For this project, I decided to go the easy route and use a store-bought tanning product instead of brain tanning.   Obviously store bought tanning solutions are super easy in comparison.  Here we go: Read More

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Brain Tanning Deer Hides

Brain Tanning Deer Hides

Buckskin made from deer hides is buttery soft, wonderfully flexible and useful for endless purposes.  It’s also something you can make using only resources that nature provides.  Brain tanning deer hides is an exciting and really, really rewarding process.  The finished product, “Buckskin”, is not named for a male deer (a Buck) but is named for the process of putting the hide in a lye solution called “buck or bucking”, so the hide can be anything, not just a deer.  Brain tanning is one of the more common ways of finishing the hide and oddly enough, the brain of an animal is typically exactly enough to tan the amount of hide it carries.  The ability to make your own buckskin adds value not only for people interested in making use of every part of an animal that will feed their family, but also for the prepper community and as a bartering tool.  I have a tutorial below with Read More

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Making Lye From Wood Ashes

how to make lye from wood ashes

Turning hardwood ashes into homemade lye for soap or stripping animal hides is really easy and is just as effective as the commercially produced product.  There is a difference in the two; homemade lye is Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) while commercial lye is Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) and you’ll need to keep that in mind if you are converting a soap recipe or making up a new one.  Potassium Hydroxide, homemade lye, typically makes Read More

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Rendering Animal Fat

how to render animal fat

When I was growing up, my parents and grandparents didn’t let anything go to waste.  I remember my mother and paternal grandmother in the kitchen rendering fat, using it to make suet blocks for the birds and serving up the “cracklins” with supper.  It makes for great memories, but unfortunately, they’re very vague.  Like most things in childhood, I was only mildly interested in what they were doing and committed absolutely none of it to memory.  So, a couple of years ago, when we we were butchering a particularly fat deer, I had the realization that Read More

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