Leather Terminology / Leather Hide


Definition of Rawhide

Like the name suggests, rawhide is simply the skin or hide of an animal that has had all the flesh (and in most instances, hair) removed and completely dried.

Making rawhide is a simple but sensitive process that involves five crucial steps:

  1. Skinning: The animal is first skinned, which can be done in several ways as long as the skin comes off in one piece without holes on it.
  2. Fleshing: The most intensive step. The meat residue and fat layer are removed from the flesh side of the skin. When the flesh side becomes a uniform white color, the process is complete.
  3. Dehairing: Involves soaking the hide in a creek for a few days until it's fully saturated, then scraping off all the hair from the hide. Manufacturers skip this step when producing hair-on hide leather.
  4. Drying: The hide is cut into half-inch slits parallel to the hide’s edges, creating a dashed line around the whole hide. It’s then placed on the ground to dry completely, hair side down.
  5. Storing: The final step involves storing the rawhide in a dry area, free from insect damage. Rawhide is more moisture-sensitive than leather and will quickly stretch or soften if left in water for longer periods.

dried rawhide piled together and stored

Did you Know?

For cowhide and other bovine leathers like buffalo, ox, and cattle leather, only about 200–300 kilos of leather are produced from 1000 kilos of raw skin.

Example of Rawhide in a Sentence

"That dog can easily tear apart your tennis balls and rawhides if left unattended."

Related Terms for Rawhide

Written by Ryan Popoff

Ryan Popoff is the creative mind behind Popov Leather wallets, iPhone cases, belts, watch bands and journals since 2013. With a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts, my leatherworking journey began at home. I wanted to create a simple leather wallet that could fit into my front pocket and — to my delight — it was a hit with family and friends. Hopefully you love our honest, quality leather goods too! Read more