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Re: [BKARTS] Smoothing Leather



Hello rj
The way to avoid any staining is to thoroughly and evenly dampen the skin. I
prefer using a soft brush to a sponge myself, especially on a smooth surfaced
leather, and distilled water. Tap water, depending on local, can result in a
bloom of dark brown to black spots in the skin. Watch the darkening of the
dampened leather to insure even moistening. The darkening disappears upon drying.
How damp to make it? The moisture should penetrate through the flesh side of
the skin but not run free. Once you have dampened the leather loosely roll it
grain side in and wrap in plastic (I use unprinted bags from the grocery
store) for an hour or so. This will encourage even penetration. What you are going
for is an even expansion of the skin.
Soaking leather in a tub of water is never a good idea; too much risk of what
you might be washing in and out of the skin.
Unmarred formica or plexiglass will work just as well as tempered glass. As
you smooth the leather, grain side down, capillary action holds it against the
smooth surface. The exposed flesh side of the leather dries more quickly than
the grain side, shrinking and thus pulling out creases.
I have found that the working qualities of the kangaroo I have purchased from
Harcourt were greatly improved by boarding the dampened skin in all
directions but I was covering with damp leather not constructing a dry binding.
Best, James

James Tapley
Hand Bookbinder
2077 Thirteenth Street
Sarasota, FL 34237
USofA
Tel 941 366 8248

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