Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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pigskin

A leather produced from the skin of the domestic pig ( Sus scrofa ). For use in bookbinding, it is vegetable tanned (or alum tawed). Pigskin has the characteristic grain pattern produced by the hair follicles, which are arranged in (roughly) triangular groups of three. The nature of pigskin is such that the holes remaining following removal of the bristles can be seen on the flesh side as well as the grain side. Pigskin is a tough and durable leather (and is even more durable perhaps when alum tawed) but is somewhat stiff and intractable. In addition, it does not tool readily, except in blind, although very fine bindings tooled in both blind and gold have been produced. It is a rugged leather best used on large books which can more readily emphasize its rugged characteristics. Pigskin was used extensively as a bookbinding leather in Germany from about 1550 to 1640, usually on books having wooden boards.

The term "pigskin" does not apply to leather produced from the FLESH SPLIT (1) of a pigskin. (69 , 236 , 351 , 363 )




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