squirrel skin string

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squirrel skin string

Pamunkey
Registered User
Pamunkey
Registered User
Joined: January 21st, 2003, 1:28 am

May 5th, 2010, 8:58 pm #1

[font='ARIAL','SANS-SERIF']Here are a few photos from the squirrel skin bowstring demo at Oregon Ridge Primitive Technology held this past weekend.  The photos do a poor job documenting the process, so I’ll try to explain it as best I can.  Basically, the gentleman conducting the demo says he uses road-kill gray squirrels because they are readily available and a high percentage of them have undamaged skin (most of them die as a result of head trauma), but squirrels taken while hunting will work as well (you’ll just have to avoid any holes).  He skins the squirrels by making a slit from neck to tail along the belly as well as up the inside of each leg, and then just works it off with his fingers.  He then takes the fresh skin and applies a paste made from wood ashes and water to the hair side.  He allows the skin to soak in this paste for a day or two, or until the hair slips easily.  Then, he pulls the hair out with his fingers.  The de-haired skin is rinsed thoroughly and then tacked out on a board to dry.  Once it has dried, the skin is trimmed into a roughly circular shape, and cut spirally with scissors into a long continuous strip 1/16” to 1/8” wide (the one he cut during the demo appeared to be about 1/8” wide).  He discussed cutting the strips with a sharp stone flake set in wood in such a way as to allow the skin to be pulled across it, and he mentioned that secondary beaver teeth could be used the same way.  From the point of cutting the strips on, it’s essentially the same process I used on my deer rawhide string http://paleoplanet69529.y...ide-string-tutorial.html, the main difference being the number of strips used (he recommend that the squirrel rawhide strings be 4 or 6 ply, composed of either two or three 12’ lengths doubled over).  The multi-ply strings supposedly have greater structural integrity than two plies of thicker material. [/font]
Last edited by Pamunkey on August 24th, 2012, 9:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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