Diy fur tanning with Oak gall powder

img_3098I need fur for Iron Age and other historial clothing. I will make 16th century gown that was fully lined with fur that looks like European Mink fur. It was Little Ice Age and temperatures in Europe were lower than now. Houses built of stones were extremely cold and it was hard to keep warm. My gown will have fur only inside sleeves and visible edges.

We have In Finland serious problem with an invasive American Mink. They are thriving and causing huge damage to our native water- and shore bird populations. Wild American Mink fur looks very similar to European Mink fur. I bought pile of dried and cleaned mink pelts from a hunter hunting in Finnish west coast. Some of the pelts were from minks that were escaped from fur farms, some from individuals whose ancestors were escapers and some from population that has been wild for long time (brown and smallish).

I used Oak gall, Spruce bark and birch for source of tanning acids. I also tanned few skins with readymade Pretanic solution, but Oak galls produced better skins. Its disadvantage is that it dyes fur slightly beige. I also tested how madder will affect. I got nicely dyed meat side, but I should have had opened skins for this tanning. Now dye did not penetrate inside the pelt where the hair was.

Oak gall tanning and Pretanic + hydrogen peroxideMadder in tanning solution