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Vellum glue



Greetings to the List,

Some years ago, here in Sydney, Australia, we visited the last vellum
maker in Australia.  He had been operating from the same premises, if I
recall correctly, since 1933.  He was then in his late eighties.  He
showed us all the processes involved, from the various stages of his
current works-in-progress.  'Twas an eye-opener indeed!  (Jack, you
would have loved it).  Much of his business was supplying vellum for
drum-makers and drum repairers all around them world.  We bought quite a
few nice pieces from him, and he cut them up and sanded them down for us
on his enormous drum sanders, to a thickness suitable for bookbinding.
Similar sanders are used by the tanneries for sanding leather down, such
as Harmatans in England.  It was beautiful vellum. Of course, we asked
him if he was passing his vast knowledge on, and he indicated that he
did have a young man to whom he was passing his knowledge, and with whom
he was working.  A few years later, however, we learnt that the factory
had closed, and no-one was continuing the vellum making any more.  The
land was worth a lot, being an industrial area near Sydney Airport.

Back to the story:  In the sanding area were large piles of vellum
powder, looking like deep snow on the ground (except not so white), and
before we left, I scooped up a quantity of this powder.

Question:  How effective is vellum powder for the purposes of making a
bookbinding glue (for use in restoration work)?  Might it be as good as
ordinary hide/skin glue?  Good, meaning grip, flexibility, brittleness,
etc.  Might the process of liming the skins make the glue less
effective?  Short of doing trials, etc, do any of the good folk on the
List have experience in this regard, or know from their readings of the
experience of others?

Peter Krantz

***********************************************
Book Restorations.
Sydney,
Australia.
bkfndrs@ozemail.com.au

Established 1976

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