Buckskin clothes how are they?
I'm curious how comfortable are buckskin pants and shirts? Obviously yellow is a lousy color for blending in but how are they for warmth or for staying cool? I know buckskin gloves alone are cold. How about staying dry? Tell me all the pros & cons.
Posts: 56 | Location: Montana | Registered: 06 January 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've been brain tanning my own buckskin for several years now and have done many hides. I have also made lots of my own clothing out of the stuff. I'll try to be brief when I give my two cents here.

There is basically two different types out there, one is traditionally made brain tan buckskin which is very time consuming to make and expensive to buy...(I personally enjoy making it though), and the other choice is modern day chrome tanned buckskin.

The up side to traditionally tanned buckskin/braintan is that it will breath, sort of like modern day Gortex does. The chrome tan stuff does not breath as well, becomes very hot and clamy at times in warm weather.

Neither type is really going to keep you dry. You can SLOW the process of getting wet by rubbing in a beeswax/tallow mixture of dressing, but this will only delay the moisture coming in...eventually it is going to get through. I've got much experience in this area. Big Grin

Both types are very soft and pliable and are great for making clothing items out of...not so much though for things like shooting bags and packs which usually call for a stiffer leather. They tend to be too stretchy for this purpose, unless you are just making little bags to hold flints, firekits, etc. That has just been my experience with it.

Traditional brain tan feels a lot like a nice piece of soft flannel. The chrome tan stuff is also soft, but has a more slippery smooth texture to it. Neither really has any super insulating properties like wool, so you use it more for its durability as an outer shell so to speak. In the summer my leggins are brain tan and in the winter they are wool. All my mocs are greased brain tan with wool inner liners.

In my opinion, the brain tan smells better because it is typically smoke cured at the end of the process where chrome tan is not. If you can afford the time to make it, or the money to buy it, I would recommend the traditional brain tan. It is also obviously more HC/PC correct if that is important to you. It is an overall awesome garmet material, and I enjoy wearing it any chance I get, (the brain tan that is).

I hope this answered some of your questions. Best of luck!!
Posts: 265 | Location: Upper Peninsula of Michigan | Registered: 03 June 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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As a braintanner myself, I am in full agreement with Night Owl. I wear my braintan buckskin pants and frock coat all year round. It is a great material for cutting the wind, protection from stobs and thorns, and keeps the flies and mosquitos from biting. It absorbs water like a sponge though, which is it's biggest disadvantage.

I just want to add if you use a commercial leather, that you should look for "smoke" color instead of the orange. And sew it with the fuzzy side out. This will make it look more like the traditional buckskin.

Your Most Humble & Obedient Servant,
Bradley C Bailey
AMM #1980, http://www.rockymountainoutfit.com
Posts: 21 | Location: Centennial, Colorado | Registered: 21 May 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I wear my braintanned leggings and coat year round.The other choice on leather is Crazy Crow sells what they call german tan leather it is tannedwith fish oil and is similar to brain tan except not as light and soft. Smoked it makes an affordable alternative to brain tanned.
Posts: 357 | Location: Colorado Territories | Registered: 20 March 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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another source is Spotted Pony out of Florida i'm sorry i don't had their e-mail address or tel# but they are advertise in some bp mags a very good friend of mine deald with them and is happy with their products
Posts: 461 | Location: SW Okla | Registered: 02 September 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Other than being impossible hot in hot weather and providing no warmth in cold weather, it is the perfect garment material. Wink My elk skin breeches have held up for decades and, when the weather is right, is the most comfortable item of clothing I own. And, an advantage over store bought clothes, it has grown with me to still fit. Big Grin
Posts: 1487 | Location: Mountain Home, Arkansas | Registered: 08 October 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks fo the info.
Posts: 56 | Location: Montana | Registered: 06 January 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Free Trapper
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Properly made, of the right materials as was done in the period, they work quite well......

Made IAW Friendship standards ca 1976, they suck Big Grin

Life always seems to get better when things are done the way the actually were, with the things they actually used. Its Funny that way.....
Posts: 150 | Location: Right where Im standing | Registered: 07 September 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If your buckskins are yellow (or orange/yellow), then they are most likely chrome tanned and/or dyed. You can get rid of a lot of that color with Rit dye remover, then dye the leather to a more appropriate color or leave natural.

"Any day you wake up on the right side of the dirt is a good day"
Posts: 427 | Location: Northwestern California | Registered: 05 May 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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ditto all the props on braintanned hides. I've been wearing the same pair of leggin's (I tanned 10 years ago) about 30 weekends a year for 4 years now and at least 12 weekends a year the previous 6 years. 'zat help narrow it down to how long they might last?

And though I wear mine under my petticoats they have seen tough times. hot, cold, mud, water, rain, you name it, they've been there.

my only advice is to make moccasins out of any chrome tanned hides you have (even if they're currently leggins) and get your self or make your self some brain tanned hides. you won't be disappointed.
oh and although I think Pilgrim might be right about getting rid of the yellow color, you still wont have anything near as soft and comfortable as a good pair of braintanned leggins. (I have tried soaking a chrome tanned elk hide in walnuts and what I got was a crazy looking mottled mess. but hey they make decent moccasins.)
Posts: 15 | Location: United States | Registered: 07 February 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Lads - Ditto Zan on leggins of braintan...they are soft, but seem to hold up very well. Warm too. I have gotten that german tan stuff from a supplier and, though it is better than chrome tan, it is not even close to the real thing.

For leather you might check Kentucky Leather and Hide, they are on line under that name. I have gotten braintan from them, as well as some very good Elk that I used for moccasins - they have held up quite well and are in their third season now. Nice folk to deal with,also.

Col Boone
Posts: 728 | Location: Volcano, Hawaii | Registered: 22 September 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You can't beat braintan. It will be an investment you won't regret. Its just as easy to do it right, as it is to do it wrong.

Posts: 104 | Location: Little River, I.T. | Registered: 06 February 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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