If you want to bark-tan a deer-hide you don't need to scrape away the epidermis (many European bark-tanners let the hide soak much longer than brain-tanners will, until the hair will slip rather easily). You do need to scrape the inside ("membraning"). The you place the hide in a tanning bath.
The tanning solution can be from any of a number of different sources (oak, spruce, salix, etc). Simply boil the shredded bark in water until the acids are leach-ed out, let cool and add your hide. Imagine letting strong tea draw until it puckers your mouth; that's how you want the solution (actually, I've seen hides tanned with tea). Plan on having plenty of time, since this takes time (weeks to months, depending). You might have to change or add to the solution during this time.
You can test if the hide is tanned all the way through by cutting into the edge; if you can still see a line in the center it is _not_ tanned all the way through. This leather is useful for some purposes, e.g knife sheets. When done all the way though you have to work the hide, pretty much as with buckskin, but without the cabelling (etc) which would remove or damage the epidermis.
You can do fur on tanning the same way, just skip the soaking, scrape the inside and let soak. But be aware that the tanning solution will stain the fur.
A very good source of braintanning info can be found at http://www.braintan.com.
The sandals were made by the the bintubi (also known as Pintubi) aborigines and the technique is simple but since a picture is worth a thousand words I'll find the reference to it and you can track it down. I think it was in the Journal "Mankind" and it was written by Thomson.....Naaah I'll try and explain it.
Sit on the ground with legs drawn up near the body, like a loose lotus position...Take a length of string(about 5mm thick), fold in half. Where the fold, is place over big toe of outside foot, take the two loose ends, one in each hand and tie them behind your back. You now have a continuous loop of rope going from the small of your back, around your big toe, and back to the small of your back on the other side (Man this sounds complicated for something so easy)
Now take green cattails (A bark will work better eg. clematis bark, but cattails will work temporarily) and starting about 4 inches from your big toe, weave the single strands under and over and back and forth along the string until you have gone the length of your foot, plus a couple of inches. So basically you have the base of the sandal in the shape of your foot. The end near your toe is the heel end.
Undo the string behind your back, place sandal on ground, with the loop that was around your toe facing you.. Put your foot through this loop(it should be a snug fit)and rest your foot on the cattails. Grab the free ends of string, bring the right hand string up between your big toe and 2nd toe. Bring the left hand string up between your 3rd and 4th toe and tie both free ends to the loop around your ankle. You can improve on this anyway you like, and tie it off anyway you like as long as it works for you.
The Bintubi lived in an area that had large areas of sharp rock as well as
desert sands, and would make these sandals as a temporary measure to get
them over the rocks which could go for considerable distances. They made
them out of a soft bark.
Once upon a time the question: "how many uses for birchbark can we come up with" was asked. Here is the whole list, edited only to remove duplicates and silly answers:
(This is a collection of two posts by Thomas on the topic of flint knapping. Not the pinnacle of the craft, but it will get you started, or allow you to produce something useful in an emergency.
First of all get a pair of leather gloves and a pair of glasses to protect hands and eyes. Those tiny splinters are sharp as hell.... oh sh... my finger's bleeding... no Sir this was just a small fragment of stone that cut my sinew.... Then you have the Chimpanzees way: lay the flint nodule on a hard stone (anvil) and smash it with another one, just like a nut, clean up the resulting mess (in case the nodule didn't fly away) each of the chunks should have a so lala usable edge for striking sparks
The homo erectus way: take a fist sized stone and try to hit a natural facet (in case there is one) If not try to hit a protruding 'nose of the cobble'. Hit it with a circular movement rather pulling the flakes of the future core. The angle of your blow should be something like 45 degrees. Remember the flakes are pulled, not driven into the core. Each of the resulting flakes is usable, those of the crust, called cortex are as well usable.
If finished with removing cortex, take next step (Neanderthal) remove fine flakes with antler hammer.......
Well flint-knapping is something closely related to slicing potatoes, hehe theoretically at least. Imagine you have a fist-sized potatoe (flint nodule) long sides, small head, flat, well a usual sized potatoe. (By the way a German proverb says that the size of a potatoe is in inverse proportion to it's producers intelligence hehe )
First you have to behead the potatoe, cut of the small protrusion, the cut starts at the flat front and ends at the rear side a bit lower than it started. Done ? OK this is your point of impact, the so called platform. Next cut is at the longer side, starting at the flat front cutting of 1/4th of shoulder and rear side, resulting in a so called facet. Now turn the potatoe, former head is still up rear side now being front side. Cut from the new facet (platform) again to the rear side, resulting in a V-shaped edge. From there, cut in the same way back to the front using the flat facet you cut before, to start a new facet. Do this from the virtual head down to the virtual feet of the potatoe. Voila a bit rough but a kind of hand-axe..... hehe I just found a new recreational course for housewives 'The art of carving potatoes' having fun while working in the kitchen .....oh oh have to stop here Ingrun is arming her atlatl now......
OK let's get serious again next cut starts at the top, now taking away the zigzag edge you cut before. The edge was established to give the cut/blow a leading ridge it has to follow. You have now a french-fry with wavy back, about 1,5cm broad (0,6 inches for the folks in the former colonies hehe) 10cm long (4") and 1cm high (0,4"). This is called a blade. The left and right side of the negative form the leading ridges for the next two blades, they are half potatoe-'meat' and half peel. You can start now cutting of one blade after another from the reduction face......
Ok That's the theoretical part of the game.... breaking flint this way will
take about half a year of concentrated labour and practice. Flint knapping
the real traditional way, has a kind of Zen buddistic aspect. Zen or the
proper way to slice a potatoe :-)
I've made several nets. Rather simple, actually. You need a netting needle (made out of a pointed piece of wood with two notches in the middle so you can wrap the string), and a piece of flat wood to ensure that each hole is the same size.
You've got to learn the weaver's knot, otherwise known as the Sheetbend.
Start by tying the string to the left of a stick, (using a clove hitch is fine), and then using your piece of flat wood as a gage, tying it to the stick again and again in loops until you have the width of net desired and you end up at the right of the stick. Then you tie a sheet bend in the middle of the last loop formed and using the flat wood as a gage, tie a sheetbend to the middle of each loop going from right to left this time to make the second row. Then from left to right, you make the third row by tying sheetbends to the middle of the loops of the second row, and so on. Always use the flat wood as a gage so that all the loops are the same size.
I've also made round nets (also called cast nets). These you make by
tying a string in a very small circle of the size of the mesh you want,
and adding loops around this small circle. You have to tie two or more
loops to each loop of the preceding circle, otherwise you will end up
with a bag instead of a flat net.
Tar is made by dry distilling wood. A semi-primitive way to make small amounts of tar requires one large metal container (a gallon tincan or metal bucket), a smaller can to recieve the tar, and a flat piece of metal to use to make a "funnel" for the tar.
---------------- | | | | | | | wood | | | | | | | | | | | --__ __ -- ground level ======================= --__ __--============================= -- -- | | | | | | | | |_______|
If everything went right you know have charcoal in the top can, and tar in the bottom one.
If you want a particularilly fine tar use birchbark instead of wood.