What is Braintan?

Braintan is an ancient method of tanning hides that involves dressing a raw hide with brains, (or other natural emulsified oils) softening it with manual labor to produce soft buckskin and smoking it to preserve the softness.

Some version of braintan was produced in nearly every part of the world, at some point in history. Here in America, when we think of buckskin, the first thing that comes to mind are the native plains tribes with their long, graceful fringe. And with good reason. Buffalo, deer, antelope, bighorn sheep, and elk hides clothed them, and provided their shelters in the form of hide Tipis. But did you know that buckskin was also worn by those on the Lewis and Clark expedition, the trappers (mountain men) of the 1800s, and settlers in both the east and west?

When they harvested their meat supply, they gained the raw materials for their clothes. All they needed came with the animal, except for wood smoke and a few simple tools.

If you wish to examine our buckskin before buying, free sample scraps less than 2 inches are available. Please email us your address to receive a sample.

On this site you will find pictures of our brain tanned buckskin, a few products we create, customers testimonials, and check out the blog page for braintanning tips. Enjoy your visit and come back often to check for updates.


Braintan Deer

Cost: $17 per sqft.

Average deer hide is around 10 sqft.

Braintan Elk

Cost: $22 per sqft.

Average elk hide is around 20-25 sqft.

*Contact us for availability

Bark Tanned Hides

Cost: $12-15 per sqft.

*Contact us for availability

Custom Orders

Send us your ideas and we’ll do our best to create a bag that reflects your personal style. We can also custom make the following items: Purses, cell phone bags, and book covers.



Muriel Mueller


Fantastic brain-tanned deer hide leather. I have gotten brain-tanned deer hides from Loren and Liza for several years now. Their hides are exceptional! The smoking done on these hides is always done to perfection. Sewing the brain-tanned leather is like sewing through butter, unlike commercial deer hide leather.  My brain-tanned baby moccasins are shared with family and friends whenever there is a new arrival, and they are very much appreciated by the newborns parents…

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Red Hawk of Bakasa Art


“For years, I thought I used good leather for my products until i had enough of the commercial tanned leather cracking and getting weak too often. I found  the Circle s leather website, and right away spirit told me this is the REAL DEAL. I made an order, got the hide and gave away all my old scraps to start a fresh line of products that took my products and  love for leather to the next level. Loren puts his heart and soul into his work, so i thank him for keeping alive a vital craft that touches lives in more ways than i know.”

Kfir Mendel

Facebook | YouTube | Website

“I’m a craftsman and artist, working exclusively with brain tanned buckskin. I need only the highest quality braintan for my art, sometimes with very specific characteristics. I’ve been purchasing buckskin from Circle S leather since 2012 and have never been disappointed. As a former professional tanner I can confidently say it’s some of the best buckskin around.”