Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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fleshing

One of the beamhouse operations in leather manufacture. Fleshing consists of the removal of areolar tissue from the flesh side of a hide or skin. It usually precedes liming, and is generally done by means of a fleshing machine, or, in hand work, by working the skin over the beam with a sharp, two-handed knife. In European tanneries, fleshing generally takes place following liming and unhairing.

Fleshing promotes the entry of water from the flesh side, which is important as water is absorbed more readily from the flesh side than from the epidermal or grain side. Fleshing also flattens and stretches the skin, has a pronounced cleaning action, and, in the case of greasy skin, such as domestic sheep or pig, removes a quantity of surplus fat.

Good, clean fleshing is important for the success of all subsequent processes, as bits of flesh or fat on the skin can retard the penetration of tannins, fatliquors, and the like. See also: GREEN FLESHING .

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