Cowhide

22 Aug

The time came this morning to take our cow Paint on a one-way trip to the butcher shop.  He was always a very pretty cow, though being a boy, he was unfit for keeping around in the herd.  Beef it was.

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But still, it would be a shame to let such a pretty cowhide go to waste wouldn’t it?  Add to that the fact that my wife has been wanting a new living-room rug and I saw the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.  Cowhide rugs are a legit thing right?  I swear I’ve seen them in Ikea.

I made it back home with an empty livestock trailer and a very-fresh cowhide in the truck bed. After a lot of scraping and skinning and a little bit of trimming with one of our trusty Mora’s I got the hide all stretched out over 4 pallets to dry.

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Keep in mind that a pallet is 4′ by 4′ and you’ll quickly come to realize that a cowhide is quite large.  It’s very nearly 8′ by 8′ after I trimmed of the neck, head and a bit on each side.

The hide needs to be dried out and salted as quickly as possible (or so I’ve read) so I drug out a box-fan and went to pick up some salt.

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A lot of salt.

At this point it’s pretty much a cowhide-shaped pile of salt.

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Once it dries down the real fun begins.  The tanning recipe calls for bran-flakes AND battery acid.  What could possibly go wrong?

4 Responses to “Cowhide”

  1. Kate August 22, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

    Haha, well…I look forward to seeing what happens…

  2. Curiousfarmer August 23, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    You are a brave man, Andrew! The story was my Great-Grandfather skinned his favorite workhorse when it died unexpectedly and made a rug out of its hide. There must be some truth to it as my Mom can attest to the horse-hide rug. Definitely will be a conversation-piece if you are successful. Good luck!

  3. Lee August 24, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

    Interesting project. I hope it works! Did Calina specify that she wanted a ” cowhide” rug? You know the saying…mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

    • Andrew October 6, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

      Happily, she is totally on board with the prospect of a cowhide rug. She’s not too thrilled about my plan to leave the tail on however…

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