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unpleasant leathers

  We have one book which may be bound in human skin in our collection.
Aside from the ethics of how to store and handle such a thing, and its
cultural overtones be they the medieval one of the saintly relic or the
more modern one of holocaust, the fact remains that it is very ugly
looking stuff.  If the Dard Hunter story is to a varying degree true, on
the basis of our example I would say the binder would hardly have found
it attractive leather.  We also have some odd bindings that appear to be
unusual leathers, perhaps such things as ray or shark or seal, but I
don't think they were used for their visual appeal, just happened to be
what the binder could get.  I did use sand shark on a few things, found
it very interesting in its visual effect because it has a very deep
grain that resembles gnarled tree bark.  It was very hard to pare,
though, and impossible to spokeshave.  Exotic (that is unusual) leathers
should be purchased with caution since they have unusual and unexpected
  Dorothy Africa

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