Mid America Buckskinners Info Page

Glue and Sinew

Missouri Iowa Nebraska Kansas

No, it's not skinning bucks............ Developed and maintained by JP Finn

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It's coming up on deer season, so I thought I would post a few other uses for Bambi's parents, besides roasts, stews, steaks and ribs.
These directions are like Grandma's recipes - it just looks right. You may have to adjust the proportions to make it look right to you. After a try or two you will start to go by proportions and texture as well as measures. Also, these are somewhat messy and smelly. You might want to try this outside.

How do you make sinew from intestines?
Intestine is made of multiple layers. One of these layers is called the submucosal layer (if memory serves). This is the one you want. It is commonly called cat-gut and was used as violin strings, tennis racket strings and surgical sutures...... hog and sheep gut was the most common raw material until the synthetics appeared
Get a smooth board. Split a length of intestine and pin it on one end to the board. Scrape the inner layer off. You should be at the layer you want. Flip it over and remove the outer layers and then the muscle layers. (I've not had good luck trying to peel it, scraping works better for me.)
Strip the gut into ribbons and let it dry. From there you just treat it like long sinew. Dogs really, really like the stuff while it is drying. (hint, hint)

How do you make hide glue?
Plan on taking 24 to 36 hours to make your glue. I find that works out to 2 or 3 full days.
Scrape or sand your untanned (but dried) hide. I use the trimmings - dangles, the thick edges and irregular pieces on the hide after stretching, fleshing and all, just prior to tanning. The hides are too hard to come by to use the better parts! You want it ground until it looks like thick sawdust. Add the sinew scraps that you have - also chopped and pounded into as fine pieces as you can. You will need about 2 or 3 cups of shavings at a minimum. I try to fill a coffee can to the lowest ring.
Place the shavings in a old pan. (I use a 3 lb coffee can) Add hot water from the tap and simmer for a few minutes. Pour off the water and add new. This cleans out most of the trash and dirt. Or at least it makes me feel like it does. All that is left is to simmer for a couple days. Add water as the old evaporates. After sometime next to forever, it will turn into a honey colored syrup. Let it boil down until it is as thick as you want. I like it to be like warm honey. Strain through an old T-shirt or other cloth to get the parts out that didn't melt. (sinew pieces, trash and thick chunks)
Use as is, or dry and store. I usually make a lot and then reconstitute it and use it as needed.
To prepare the glue for storage:
Pour into a square cake pan - foil lined if you don't have one set aside just for this type stuff. I like it to be about 3/8" thick, more or less. Let cool, then place in the fridge. It will set up like thick Jell-O. Cut it into 1" squares while in the pan and return to the fridge. Leave it alone for about a week. Pop it out of the pan, run a yarn needle loaded with string through each piece (like stringing beads), make sure that they don't touch, and hang it up to finish drying. It will take about 2 weeks. They get hard and then are good forever. Store in the famous cool, dry place in a glass jar.
To use, put one (or more) in a bowl and cover with warm water overnight. In the morning (or whenever) put in a double boiler (or put the bowl in a pan of hot water). Add water and let heat until it is like a thin syrup. It should be warm, but not hot.
Smear it on , clamp the parts together and let it set.


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If you want to plaver, do so. Hey, jp!