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Course Catalog

Course Catalog

Traditional Hide Tanning, Parfleche & Drum Making

Saturday, February 20, 2016 Workshop from 11:00-5:00 PM near Tacoma WA

Scraping A Deer Hide in preparation for Traditional Brain Tanning

Scraping a deer hide in preparation for traditional brain tanning.

Have you ever wondered how to make beautiful leather traditionally, and how to honor animal hides for a plethora of uses? Today, we’ll take hides that were harvested during the fall hunt, and honor them by making sure none go to waste. We’ll scrape them clean, shape some into parfleche, a drum, and other rawhide tools, then follow an ancient recipe using eggs instead of brains to convert at least one of the hides into tanned buckskin leather.


11:00 – Overview: Skinning to Smoking
11:15 – Instructional Tour of Work Stations
11:30 – Egging Prepared Hides
11:45 – Groups Begin Station Work (Fleshing; Wet Scraping; Dry Scraping; Softening)
12:00 – Rotate Through Stations at 15 Minute Intervals
1:00 – Lunch; Parfleche & Drum Making Demonstration
2:00 – Work on your own hide, or continue to rotate through stations of softening, parfleching, and smoking hides.
5:00 – If you want to purchase materials for taking home your own drum or tanning a whole hide, please stay after the workshop to continue working on them with us!

Please note that this workshop runs through the traditional parfleche and tanning processes that good enough for making leather, but there are more advanced techniques that cannot be covered in one day. If you would like to process your own hide from start to finish, and personalize it with some advanced techniques, please enroll in our 5 Day Summer Course: Ancient Artisans: Classic Crafts & Traditional Technologies


$95 general.
$90 if you attended our bow and arrow making workshop and/or register for our upcoming wilderness survival workshop.
$85 for a second friend/family member, or
$80 for a third friend/family member.
$75 for a fourth friend/family member.
$70 per additional friend/family member.
$65 if you attended this workshop or our summer archers/artisan camp or expedition with us in the past.

In addition, if you would like to take home your own hide, the cost will range from $25-$65 depending on type, size, quality and where it started in the tanning process. You can start the workshop with a fresh frozen or salted deer hide for $25, or $65 for a ready-to-tan rawhide, but understand that there will only be time to start processing it during the workshop, and you will have to finish it later. You don’t need to purchase a hide if you just want to work through the parfleche and tanning steps on the demonstration hides we have set up at various stages in the process. You can also purchase a $45 drum-making kit to work on after we show you the process during the workshop.

Registration: Who & How

Our weekend workshops are designed for adults, but youth are also welcome to register with an enrolled parent or guardian.

Check/Mail Registration Option: Send payment in full or a minimum $25 per person check deposit payable to the Wolf College, 1026 14th St. SW, Puyallup WA 98371 with participant name(s), phone number, email address, age of any minors, and any allergies or health restrictions we should know about. Balances will be due upon arrival at the workshop.

Credit/Debit Card Registration Option: Just call us at 253-604-4681 or 425-248-0253 and we will run your card securely over the phone.

Or Use PayPal to register online securely with a credit/debit card or via direct withdrawal from your bank account:
Participant Name; Age if Minor
Cell Phone Number(s):

Our refund policy is that deposits are not refundable unless your registration is not accepted. If you cancel after making additional payment, you may receive a credit for a future program, minus a 25% administration fee of total payments made, in case of emergency. You will receive a full refund if your program is canceled and not rescheduled at a time that you can attend. No refund (and not necessarily any credit) is given if a participant is inappropriate at the program and asked to leave.

Preparatory Information:

Bring lunch, water, work gloves, and wear clothing that can get super soiled for this workshop, and be aware that sparks from the campfire can melt your synthetic clothing, so natural materials like wool might be the best option. If you have materials geared toward working with hides, definitely bring those as well. Join us today and at any of our Weekend Workshops on themes of survival, wildlife and ethnobotany, and please contact us for carpooling information.