Quick and Easy Rawhide for Urban Dwellers
So you’re interested in learning some wilderness survival skills, and you’d like to make a few projects that require some rawhide; but you live in the city, you don’t hunt, and you don’t have any friends that hunt. How are you going to get any rawhide? Well, you could go on-line and order some, but the easiest way is to go down and buy some at the grocery store. “What,” you say. “Are you nuts? What kind of hillbilly place do you live where they sell rawhide at the grocery stores?” Well my friend, they sell it at your grocery store too.
All you have to do is go to the pet food isle and buy yourself a nice doggy chew bone. These bones are made of rolled up beef rawhide. Pictured below: Small chew bone.
To make the rawhide usable for your purposes just soak the bone in a tub of water over night. Pictured below: Chew bone soaking in water.
The next morning it will be soft and pliable. Untie the knots in the ends and unroll the wet rawhide. You won’t have a big sheet of hide like if you made your own, and it won’t have that nice brown color, but it is big enough to cut into thongs for attaching an axe head or a spear point. Pictured below: top, Chew bone just removed from water; bottom, this chew bone was made of two small pieces of rawhide.
Use small nails to stretch the rawhide out on a board and let it dry for a day or two. I’m going to use these pieces of rawhide to make a neck-knife sheath. Pictured below: Chew bone rawhide stretched out to dry along with the knife that I will be making a sheath for.
I have also seen some pretty nice bullet pouches made out of chew bone rawhide. This type of rawhide is not good for making bowstrings and other small cordage. It is too thick, and it doesn’t seem as strong as deer rawhide. But, maybe this will help you get a few smaller projects done until you can make some of your own rawhide.