cchipman at nomadics.com
Thu Apr 10 09:39:08 PDT 2003
Diarmaid, as a follow up, when I buy stuff that is referred to as :
which category do they fall under?
cchipman at nomadics.com
From: northkeep-admin at ansteorra.org
[mailto:northkeep-admin at ansteorra.org] On Behalf Of Marc Carlson
Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2003 11:25 AM
To: northkeep at ansteorra.org
Subject: Re: [Northkeep] HELP!!!!
Mmm. "Tanning" (and for that matter 'leather') is a term that has a
specific technical meaning, as well as a more general definition. Just
bore you (since you should know better than to ask open-ended questions
this :) ) There were essentially 5 ways of processing skin that would
appropriate for the Middle Ages. The first, and easiest, is to just cut
whatever size and purpose you want it for right now, and let it dry that
as rawhide (we actually had an example of a shoe pattern this last week
shoemaking that would have been great, and perfectly appropriate, made
rawhide - and could be made in one day).
The second is oil curing, in which you take the skin, and massage oils
it (the trick here is, I understand, to trigger an oxidization reaction
the skin with the kneading and manipulation). This was likely the most
ancient of the actual processes, but it's hard to know since oil cured
will not last over the centuries).
Then there's mineral curing or tawing. Alum tawing has been described,
is a VERY period way of dealing with hides (and if people are smart,
may want to start trying to talk Montega into teaching people how to do
with classes and such).
The only real problem with any of these preceding methods is that they
not really all that stable, particularly when you get them wet. Most of
them will eventually revert to wet skin [which is why -technically- it
be argued that they aren't "leather", per se - although they are still
generally referred to as such].
Then we get to _tanning_, in which there is a real alteration to the
something that is chemically stable and won't revert back to rawhide
soaked in water.
First is smoking the skin over a wood fire, and application of fat (or
brain) material to keep the skin more supple, which doesn't do a really
job, but is better than nothing. The wood smoke releases various
and phenols into the skin that simulate -true- tannage. There is some
argument that this process dates back as far as the late Neolithic at
based I believe on the Iceman's garments.
True tannage is what we call today "vegetable tan", although even that
should be differentiated between modern vegetable tanned and "pit
leathers. Traditional tanning involved soaking the skins in a rich
solution for months. Today it is done in a matter of weeks with highly
concentrated solutions that produce a similar, but different product.
pit tanned leather has some different properties (it's harder when dry,
softer when wet, is more durable) and is just freaking expensive these
(Sources upon request)
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