[Northkeep] HELP!!!!

Marc Carlson marccarlson20 at hotmail.com
Thu Apr 10 10:36:32 PDT 2003

>From: "Carl Chipman" <cchipman at nomadics.com>
>Diarmaid, as a follow up, when I buy stuff that is referred to as :
>which category do they fall under?

Latigo is a type of chromium "tanned" (or "chrome tanned") material.
Chromium tannage was developed in the 19th century, and is chemical tawing
process (and is NOT period*).  The term Latigo is derived from a Spanish
term for a sort of leather whip or lash (and then transfered to the leather
cinch of a saddle), and was a type of leather that was specifically -tanned-
for that purpose.  The modern stuff is designed to emulate that earlier
process as closely and as inexpensively as possible.

This is not to say that these are not good and useful or anything - it's
just not going to react the same way that medieval leathers will, although
it may be an acceptable simulation.  I will say that *armor* made from the
chrome tanned based leathers won't be as sturdy as even the modern vegetable
tanned stuff, and certainly not in the same category as the pit tanned stuff
(remind me to show you my new shoe soles).

I believe that most "oil tanned" leather that you can buy is really just oil
treated chrome tanned.

Here's how you can tell if it's vegetable tanned.  Take water or vinegar in
a jar - drop in a pad of steel wool.  Let sit a week or two.  Shake
occasionally (or don').  Then after a few weeks, cut open a scrap of the
leather to get away from any surface treatments.  Then paint on some of this
rusty water or vinegar and see what happens.  If it turns gray or black,
it's vegetable tanned, or at least partly vegetable tanned.  If it turns red
or just soaks in not doing anything, it's plain old chrome tanned or
something else.  The iron oxide will only react with the tannins in -tanned-
leather.   [It's actually an easy and authentic leather die for black
leather going back at least to the Middle Ages, and as long as you don't get
too much rust into the liquid, won't stain the carpet if you spill it :) ) -
and it doesn't rub off on your clothes].


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