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Re: update on brain tan leather

I'm sorry that Eric Alstrom had a bad experience with brain tanned/smoked
leather, but it should not have come as a surprise.

Brain tanning is oil tanning, and smoked leather contains creosote.

Such leather was never intended to be used for bookbinding.

It was intended to be used as clothing for people, not books. It is
easy to work because it was expected to conform to its environment.

All I can suggest is that if one intends to use natural products
in bookbinding, which were not intended for that purpose, please
be involved in all the steps, or at least understand all the steps.

I have seen Gary & Cecelia's Ethiopian bindings (one is behind me
on the book shelf) and they are excellent exemplars, but Cecelia's
choice of leather this time was unfortunate.


Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Laboratory
Portland, OR

503/735-3942  (voice/fax)


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