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Rawhide has been used for centuries to make saddle trees, drum heads, shields, lamp shades, moccasin soles, storage boxes, and in many other projects. The exact use depends on the animal skin used, and the grade and thickness of the skin. Rawhide also makes strong thongs and laces.
Dry rawhide is very rigid because it is the skin with the hair removed that has been cured, but not tanned. Rawhide will feel stiff when dried, but will soften if you soak it in water.
When soaked in water it becomes pliable, allowing it to be molded or shaped and easily sewn. During the drying process, rawhide shrinks, stiffens and generally retains whatever shape it was given when wet.
If you soak more than you need, you can let it dry out again and reuse it later, but the color will get darker with each sucessive soaking. When wet, it should be used within 24 hours, or at least change the water every 12-24 hours. If you leave it in water too long, it will begin to grow bacteria, which weakens the skin and makes it turn smelly.
Horse rawhide is as thick as, or slightly thicker than buffalo rawhide. It is good for large pow wow drums, parfleche bags, and storage boxes.
Rawhide can be further tanned into leather using traditional brain tan and smoke methods or commercial preservatives, or used as is.
Not produced by or the product of a particular Indian or indian tribe as defined by 26 USA - 605 et Seq