Circle S. Leather

Providing Genuine Braintan Products

We live on a few acres in Northwest Pennsylvania with our four children, two dogs, a lot of cats, a diminishing herd of goats, a growing flock of sheep and some chickens.

We have been selling braintan as our main occupation since 2002. Prior to that it was my hobby/obsession while I held a factory job. Looking back, we would probably have never taken the leap into full time brain tanning if my real job hadnt gone to Mexico. But, God has blessed us with great customers who keep coming back allowing us to live this new, simpler lifestyle. Liza home schools the kids and I do my best to keep the hides going out the door.

Besides brain tanning, we are always trying to increase our various primitive skills. Although we have not by any means mastered them, our varied interests include finger and loom weaving, hair embroidery, knitting, spinning, hunting, trapping, fishing, archery, primitive fire starting, bobbin lace, beading and tin smithing, to name a few.

It is a dangerous thing to try to list all the people who have helped you get where you are today by name for you would surely miss someone. So we will not mention names, however, we feel very honored and blessed by all those who have helped us: family, friends, and even total strangers. Some have guided us with a personal touch, yet others have encouraged us through email, phone, or forums. Some have lead us simply by their example, and then there are all those who have guided our search for these forgotten skills by what they have written down in books and articles for seekers to find and treasure. What blessings are passed down as our lives interact with others. Our prayer for those who have helped us is that God will multiply your blessing and return it back to you and your families.

We are also continuously thankful for each customer’s order. From the smallest poke to the largest elk hide, your purchases are what keep our family business running. Many of our customers have become our friends and we look forward to hearing from them. I cannot count the times I’ve ask God to bless those who use our leather.

Loren Stallsmith


I guess I’ve always been fascinated with animal hides and the idea that you can somehow preserve, soften them, and use the finished product for clothing. I started trapping at about 8 years old, and caught my first coon at 10. This was during the fur boom, and I think that little yearling unprime raccoon brought me ten bucks. Maybe that coon ruined me for life. All I ever wanted to be for years afterward was a professional trapper. Well, I never became a pro trapper, and I did work factory jobs, like a normal person, but there was always this idea in the back of my head about making my living from the outdoors, somehow.

One day my sister brought home a book from the Greenville library book sale: “Deerskins into Buckskins by Matt Richards. It described in detail how you could make strong, durable, and soft Indian style buckskin with just your hands, some simple tools, wood ashes. and brains. I’d never heard of brain tanning before and I thought it was the coolest way to tan skins I’d ever come across. It took a long time to get there, but eventually, I found myself tanning buckskins for a living. So, I have to thank a yearling raccoon and Matt for starting me down this road.

Liza Stallsmith


Who am I? Some days I wonder that myself. I am caught between two worlds. I am living in a fast moving communication wonder world, yet have a deep love for the ancient time consuming skills and tools of the past, so I mixed those two worlds together to make my personalized, tiny bubble to live in. I use modern technology to stay in touch with family, friends, and to run our business, however I am grounded with inner peace and contentment when hand spinning wool, weaving, working with my husband’s braintan leather, or simply cooking a meal on my old wood cook stove in the wintertime.

My husband’s braintan has fascinated me since the time he put his first tanned hide in my hands. Everything from how it was tanned, to how it was used not only in the new world, but also in Europe intrigues me. Watching a hide proceed through the steps and end up velvet smooth, (Kind of lost for the words to describe it!) soft, and open enough to take a beading needle even in its thickest part is truly a magical end to a labor intensive process. Sewing and crafting with such a high quality product has spoiled me forever!

Not only do I enjoy learning how to do forgotten skills, but I actively seek out books and information on the tools and methods used to achieve these skills from different cultural regions. Also, I often find myself going a step beyond the skills to understand the whole process. An example of this would be when shortly after learning to spin, I added sheep to the acres we call home. So I not only spin, but have learned many intricacies of raising lambs, shearing, and preparing the wool up to the point where spinning begins. There is nothing in the world like scooping up a young lamb and burying your face in its wool , or the satisfaction of a project that you have nurtured from its very beginning to its finality.

Liza’s Blog: Originative Objects