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Questions on leather

To the list,

I have to questions regarding leather.

1) I have a book bound in Mexico in the mid 1950's. The book is half bound
in calf. The boards are covered in pig skin. My question is about the
coloration of the pig skin. It is colored in a variety of earth tones in
what I can best describe as a stone marbleized pattern. The dye used
penetrates the entire thickness of the leather. Does someone know how this
effect was achieved? I have taken a couple of stabs at it to no effect.

2) I have had for some time a small stack of vegetable tanned goat skin that
was purchased from a bindery in Germany that was going out of business. I
was told at the time of purchase (1985)that the skins were 50 - 60 years
old. They were not used because the binder simply did not like the color
...... a black-grey. The skins are in great shape. However, I tried to use
one this weekend. Using a standard wheat paste I pasted them up on boards
and low and behold the darn things turned blue! A nice uniform shade of
indigo. There was no apparent leaching of the dye. They just turned color.
Any suggestions as to why would be appreciated. Of course now I wonder why
the binder REALLY did not use them.

Best day

Kurt Klappenbach
Loud Creek Books & Bindery
P.O. Box 405
Ballentine, SC    29002

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