Sunday, February 6, 2011

fish leather

Well, it was a day that started with 4 'roo (wallaby) - fortunately dead, from our wallaby shooter. So today has been rather taken up with butchery. I really really need more practice, as I am distressingly slow. Anyway we have dog tucker!

I made some rather tasty little patties for supper tonight - a minced a large leatherjacket and an abalone, the usual egg and breadcrumbs, and lots of fresh herbs, red onion, chili paste, and some ginger paste, light soy and pepper. They were good, very meaty and spicy - but what I wanted to say was that I did a good job of peeling the leatherjacket (which has a very thick skin with denticles - like shagreen - sharkskin - but thicker and is hard on knives if you don't peel it away from the fish first I was left with a very pretty patterned leathery skin about 14" by 10" (but split by a fin). I wondered about the possibility of making some fish-leather. It would make quite a hand-bag (a bit abrasive if the denticles stayed on. Ideal for combat and laddering your opponent's stockings in catfight when out clubbing), good for sword-handles, and for wallets for tight-wads (won't come out of your pocket, easily). Good for watchstraps...

How hard is leathermaking? My ex-boss did it to catfish, but he was rather secretive about it, and besides... he could make the elementary very very complicated.


  1. I know enough about making leather from mammal skins, to know that the longest part of the process is the tanin soak. While I've never even tried to tan fish leather, it sounds like it takes an even longer soak:

  2. When I was seven I made deerskin leather for Indian Guides. We were told that originally they soaked the leather in dog poop before putting in the water and oak leave bath. Instead they gave us a chemical that does the same work as dog poop, then we put it in oak leaf and oak bark water.

    I've never been tempted to do this again. But I imagine that if you set up to do fish you could also do the odd wombat or wallaby that comes your way as well.

  3. Wattle bark is a very useful source of tannin, by the way. Yes: those wattles - the ones that regrow at a ferocious rate the moment your back is turned.

    Oh - and I believe it's possible to substitute animal brains in the place of dog crap. But I've never tried using either...