What to do with the original packaging?
August 5, 2006 7:03 AM   Subscribe

What should I do with a goat skin?

We had a fantastic party a few months ago and, as is traditional here in Kenya, we provided beer and goat meat for our guests.

Seeing as the goat came in nice furry packaging, we decided to keep it. We stretched it and dried it in the traditional way, but now its just sort of lying out in the laundry looking a bit..


Any ideas what we should/could do with it?
posted by davehat to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A canvas for some crazy/interesting art?
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 7:22 AM on August 5, 2006

Consult the local experts. Take your goat skin to a leatherworker and ask him to make you something traditional out of it. Maybe some sandals, or a bag, or ...
posted by Quietgal at 7:24 AM on August 5, 2006

Make a drum
posted by doctor_negative at 8:01 AM on August 5, 2006

I was in Kenya and there seemed to be an abundance of skilled leather craftspeople. I watched a lady make a leather book cover embroidered with someone's name spelled in beads. It was going to be used to cover a photo album. Another cool thing to do would be to have a belt made with beadwork.
posted by Frank Grimes at 8:22 AM on August 5, 2006

Perform the Rites of Pan?
posted by cropshy at 8:30 AM on August 5, 2006

If you've only dried it, it's not leather yet. Leather is made from animal skins by a tanning process, which causes protein chains in the animal skin to cross-link, greatly increasing the strength, pliability, and durability of the skin. Generally, chrome tanning is the modern industrial process applied to goat skin, to make it suitable for use a lining material for footwear and as top grain leather for other articles. During tanning, the hide may also be mechanically split, dyed, or otherwise treated to create a desired appearance or surface finish.

The commercial chrome tanning process is difficult to do on a small scale, but you might find a local leatherworker who can vegetable tan, or maybe even brain tan your hide. These tanning methods won't create as water resistant or as stable a leather as chrome tanning will, so the skin wouldn't be suitable for making articles of clothing, but you might still have it made up into a handbag, or use it to cover a small piece of furniture, make a drum, or such.
posted by paulsc at 8:58 AM on August 5, 2006

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:39 AM on August 5, 2006

Use it to make a cover for a book about the breed of goat you had.
posted by cior at 11:22 AM on August 5, 2006

I second the "make a drum" suggestion. Note: If you're going to make a drum out of it, don't have it tanned first. You want rawhide for your drumhead. There are lots of articles online that will help you make a good drum. Start by Googling "make djembe" or "build djembe."
posted by bricoleur at 12:55 PM on August 5, 2006

Response by poster: Civil_Disobedient: I'd been thinking of changing that, but it's been there since I joined and it does seem to resonate...

I guess that a drum is the bet option, but I've heard that it's not a good idea to have the drum skin set here if I'm going to take it back to the UK. Apparently, there are issues with tension and resonance (my best mate is a keen drummer and my other best mate is a sound engineer, they concur on this).

Maybe we should get it tanned and go the leather route...
posted by davehat at 2:53 PM on August 5, 2006

I just read this article about a palimpsest with Archimedes ideas, that is still readable (ableit only with some extreme techniques) after many hundreds of years. So you may want to write something you think is worth saving for the next thousand years and hope for the best. I have no idea though how the goat skin should be prepared, what ink to use, etc.
posted by rootcause at 3:31 PM on August 5, 2006

Water/Wine skin.
posted by Good Brain at 4:32 PM on August 5, 2006

with a very sharp razor blade, slice the entire goatskin into a thin, continuous string. Then, encircle a piece of land with it. Whatever land is encircled by the goat-skin string, is yours to keep!
posted by jak68 at 9:16 PM on August 5, 2006

Apparently, there are issues with tension and resonance.

You shouldn't just nail the drumhead to the drum if you're planning on taking it home — your friend is right, and the tension will change with the change in heat and humidity.

But really, you shouldn't just nail the drumhead to the drum anyway. Make a rope-tensioned drum like a djembe. It'll be tunable and sound much better. (You'll still have to retension it once you take it home, but that won't be the end of the world.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:53 PM on August 6, 2006

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