How to Make Fish Leather

Learn how to tan fish skins into fish leather at home using simple tools and ingredients. This leather can be used for survival, bushcraft, leatherwork, or crafting. Preserve a nearly forgotten and little-known wilderness skill!

Watch Intro Video

Icky Fish Skin to Amazing Fish Leather!

Hank Gevedon

Who is this course for?

Indigenous cultures utilized nearly every single piece and part of a harvested animal - including fish skins! This course is for the wilderness crafter who hates to see any part of an animal discarded and who has an innate curiosity for learning nearly forgotten survival skills. With no previous skills required, you'll likely have everything you need to complete this course already laying around your home. Start with an icky fish skin and end with a lifelong skill-set and a durable piece of leather!
Who is this course for?

Course Objectives

What can you expect to learn?

  • Learn how to make your own custom fish skin scraping tool for $1!

  • Lern how to properly flesh a fish skin for the purposes of tanning.

  • Learn the recipe for making your own tanning dressing using simple & safe household ingredients.

  • Learn how to use a "stake" for breaking in a rawhide fish skin.

  • Learn how to turn slimy fish skins that are normally thrown away into amazing pieces of leather for crafting

Annealing 101

In metallurgy, annealing is a heat treatment that alters the physical and sometimes chemical properties of a material to make it more workable.

In addition to being a wilderness skills instructor, Hank Gevedon is also a seasoned Blacksmith. He takes this opportunity to also teach you how to make your own custom fish skin scraper. This tutorial is backwoods ingenuity at it's finest! (Yes, that's a potato stuck onto a $1 paint scraper.)
Annealing 101

Meet Your Instructor

  • Hank Gevedon

    Hank Gevedon

    Hank Gevedon has a Bachelor’s of Science in technology education, secondary education, as well as a Master’s degree in technical education, and a principalship in vocational education. He currently operates Reptile Toolworks in Mt. Vernon, KY, which manufactures outdoors and survival items and is the home of Whiskey Knives and other small batch blades.

Course curriculum

  • 1
    Welcome to the Course
    • Welcome from Hank!
    • A little bit about leather...
    • Materials Needed
  • 2
    Preparing the Fish Skin
    • Fleshing the Skin Side
    • Descaling the Skin
  • 3
    Tanning the Fish Skin
    • Washing the Skin
    • Making the Dressing
    • Drying the Treated Fish Skin
    • Breaking Fish Rawhide into Fish Buckskin
  • 4
    Final Thoughts
    • Use & Final Thoughts