Hideworking is the skill of removing hides from animals and processing them into furs and leather.
Fur and leather are valuable trade goods, and are required for crafting tools such as waterskins, skis and ski sticks and many kinds of clothing. They can also be used to craft bandages and tying equipment. Many animals in the game, when hunted, provide far more value in their furs than in their meat.
The command to skin a carcass is also accessed through the hideworking menu. Skinning must be done before a carcass is butchered. A hideworker with better skills will have a better chance to produce high quality skins.
The quality of the skin is limited by the quality of the carcass. Carcasses come in qualities ranging from grisly (which cannot be skinned at all) to decent (no modifier; for instance a decent fox skin will appear as "a fox skin"), depending on how many and what kind of wounds the animal took before expiring. To preserve carcass quality, either use blunt weapons (to any hit location) or strike the head only (with any type of weapon).
Skin quality will degrade over time if the skin is not soon processed via tanning or curing; this also applies to skins in intermediate states of tanning. If a skin is not processed, eventually it will rot and become worthless. Cellars somewhat delay the decay process, as they also do with food.
Command in game: [Alt] + H then [T] (v3.18stable) '[Alt] + J, [T](pre 3.13) '[Alt] + K, [T]'(3.14) Tan the skin
Tanning is a long and complicated process, with the skin in question requiring substantial cleaning, scraping and then beating before the product can be used. Expect tanning of any particularly large skin to take at least three days, possibly more. If a hideworker has a skill level insufficient for the quality of skin being processed, there is a chance during each step of tanning that the quality of the skin will be reduced.
Tanning turns the skin into leather or fur, depending on the animal the skin comes from. It is also possible to obtain leather from fur-bearing animals by de-hairing the skin before the start of the tanning process.
Step 1: Clean the new skin. New animal skin need to be clean before you can do anything with it. You need that skin and 1lbs of water for every 2lbs of skin. [Alt] + H then [C] will give you [clean] animalskin. This is a moderate effort task.
Optional: De-hair the skin for leather. This takes about 6 days to soak a 10lbs skin, and requires an adjacent water tile.
Step 2: Tan the skin. You need a cleaned animal skin, water and tanning material (bark or fat). The skin can be picked up after a few hours. This is an easy effort task.
Step 3: 'Rinse (press 'Tan' a second time) the skin again uses 1 pound of water for every 2 pounds of skin. The skin can be picked up after a few hours. This is a moderate effort task.
Step 4 (final): Beat the skin (press 'Tan' a third time). Needs a work surface (bench, table or tree trunk) and a beater (club, stone, …) this step will take a few hours to complete. This is a heavy effort task.
Command in game: [Alt] + H, [U]cure the skin (for preservation) This extends the life of the skin, but will not turn it into fur/leather. Curing needs water and around 1-5 days to process one skin, although if you are not busy it will make more sense to tan the skin right away instead.
Due to the lengthier tanning times as of 3.13 (patch 3), curing skins is now a decently good idea if you are far away from your base camp, as tanning now requires several passes and a few different materials. If you catch an animal while on a trip, you can set the skin curing and mark it with a shelter and finish your trip and it will be waiting for you when you come back.
You might use curing if you kill a whole herd of animals at once and don't have time to process all the meat and skins before they rot.
If you find yourself forgetting about skins and leaving them to rot, curing might make sense. It really depends on your playstyle, and some players will never end up using it.
- Broad knife - Best hideworking knife.
- Club / Stone - For certain stages in the tanning process.
- Water - Crucial to most hideworking tasks.
- A work surface, for instance a table, bench, or tree trunk.