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Larry Kiernan




Location: Ireland
Joined: 30 Jun 2009

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed 01 Jul, 2009 2:56 pm    Post subject: Cleaning a lambskin         Reply with quote

How's it going lads and lassies? New member on board so please be gentle. Big Grin
Firstly I'd like to say what an excellent resource myArmoury is and thank all the posters who have in any way increased my knowledge of our wonderful hobby. Don't worry myArmoury team, my contribution will be in the post. Wink

Now to the matter at hand: I will be taking receipt of a fresh lambskin (unpleasantness attached) tomorrow for use in a scabbard core and, despite some Google bashing, have virtually no idea how I should go about cleaning it without rendering it completely useless for this purpose. Am I to assume that any chemical or saline solution is out of the question?

Any help is much appreciated.
Larry.

"Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to manoeuvre. Situation excellent. I attack."

Ferdinand Foch's communique before stopping the German advance prior to the First Battle of the Marne.
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Peter Remling





Joined: 28 May 2004

Posts: 50

PostPosted: Wed 01 Jul, 2009 4:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you're getting a fresh hide that hasn't been tanned you can google tannig leather, The descriptions are all similar so heres one link:

http://www.alpharubicon.com/primitive/tanningdragoona.htm


There are several ways to tan leather some call for commercail chemicals (available therough Tandy and other leather craft shops) and brain tanning which uses a tanic acid solution made from the brain of the dead animal.

Look up several how tos and become familiar with them before you start. Many lambskin hides are not long enough to cover a sword core, so you may have to cover your core in pieces. This is not always an issue as you can cover the seam with a decorative or suspension strap. Have fun, you will definately learn a lot from this undertaking.


If the hide is already has the hair removed and has been tanned you need do nothing else except dye it if it hasn't been dyed yet. At that point the hide is ready to go and you can follow any one on a number of excellent how tos posted here.
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
Industry Professional



Location: Netherlands
Joined: 11 Mar 2005

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 740

PostPosted: Wed 01 Jul, 2009 4:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Cleaning a lambskin         Reply with quote

Larry Kiernan wrote:
How's it going lads and lassies? New member on board so please be gentle. Big Grin
Firstly I'd like to say what an excellent resource myArmoury is and thank all the posters who have in any way increased my knowledge of our wonderful hobby. Don't worry myArmoury team, my contribution will be in the post. Wink

Now to the matter at hand: I will be taking receipt of a fresh lambskin (unpleasantness attached) tomorrow for use in a scabbard core and, despite some Google bashing, have virtually no idea how I should go about cleaning it without rendering it completely useless for this purpose. Am I to assume that any chemical or saline solution is out of the question?
You first need to scrape all the flesh off the inside, so you only get the white below. A scraper could be a wide chisel with a round cutting edge. When scraping, be careful not to cut through the skin. If the skin is fresh, you may be able to pull off most of the flesh. The older it gets, or when it's been frozen, the flesh is much harder to remove. After that you need to tan the hide. Alum is the easiest. It's not historical, but if you want that, you'd have to look into bark or brain-tanning Happy
Jeroen Zuiderwijk
- Bronze age living history in the Netherlands
- Barbarian metalworking
- Museum photos
- Zip-file with information about saxes
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Larry Kiernan




Location: Ireland
Joined: 30 Jun 2009

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed 01 Jul, 2009 5:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter, my apologies. I may have neglected to mention in my original post that the lambskin is for the inside of the scabbard, so, as Donald Trump is wont to say, the hair stays on. Thanks for that link though, should come in handy in the dark days to come. Wink

Jeroen, cheers for that bit of info. To the best of my knowledge, the skin is straight from the lamb so it shouldn't pose too much of a problem, hasn't been frozen or anything. So, what you're saying is: once it's been cleaned down to the hide & treated with alum, it's essentially a fait accompli? And the alum shouldn't have any ill effect on a blade, what with it being a chemical compound? Historical accuracy is not important to me, not destroying my Albion blade is. Eek!

Thanks gentlemen.

"Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to manoeuvre. Situation excellent. I attack."

Ferdinand Foch's communique before stopping the German advance prior to the First Battle of the Marne.
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
Industry Professional



Location: Netherlands
Joined: 11 Mar 2005

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 740

PostPosted: Thu 02 Jul, 2009 12:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Larry Kiernan wrote:
Jeroen, cheers for that bit of info. To the best of my knowledge, the skin is straight from the lamb so it shouldn't pose too much of a problem, hasn't been frozen or anything. So, what you're saying is: once it's been cleaned down to the hide & treated with alum, it's essentially a fait accompli?

Nothing is ever that simple, but AFAIK, it's soaking the skin in a bath of alum basically. You can find information on alum tanning on the internet for more details.

Quote:
And the alum shouldn't have any ill effect on a blade, what with it being a chemical compound? Historical accuracy is not important to me, not destroying my Albion blade is. Eek!
I've never tried it, so I can give no guarantees. To be sure, you could test a piece of iron and alum, and see if it does anything.
Jeroen Zuiderwijk
- Bronze age living history in the Netherlands
- Barbarian metalworking
- Museum photos
- Zip-file with information about saxes
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Al Muckart




Location: NZ
Joined: 27 Dec 2005

Posts: 309

PostPosted: Thu 02 Jul, 2009 12:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have a look at http://www.braintan.com that's probably your easiest bet for curing a green hide.

It'll take practice though, so be prepared to write off your current acquisition as a learning experience

--
Al.
http://wherearetheelves.net
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Boyd C-F




Location: Nelson, New Zealand
Joined: 08 Oct 2008

Posts: 57

PostPosted: Thu 02 Jul, 2009 12:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Larry

Alum Tawing is probably your best option for leaving the wool on and it is a historical technique *. Plus it will be only a tad less unpleasant than braintanning (ie not having to mince up the brains!) as the hide preparation is the same.

The key to either process will be the straking which makes the skin pliable. You will also be able to stretch the skin a bit but not to much as the wool will slip from the skin.

The braintanning site above is excellent and that's where I got the guidance for the skins I made. I also learnt that your sense of smell can be both a blessing and a curse!!

For the amount of effort involved you may be better off finding someone who already makes alum tawed skins.

The Wikipedia site on leather is pretty informative for the beginner http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leather

Your local library should have a number of books about the subject or your second hand book dealers.

Good luck

* Edit - Historical material used in manufacturing skins Eek!

Boyd
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Larry Kiernan




Location: Ireland
Joined: 30 Jun 2009

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu 02 Jul, 2009 11:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Nothing is ever that simple, but AFAIK, it's soaking the skin in a bath of alum basically. You can find information on alum tanning on the inter-net for more details.


I'm starting to realise that Jeroen. Worried Well, at least thanks to the good advice & handy links you've all furnished me with, I won't be walking into this as blind as I would have two days ago. I'll give it a lash anyway & keep you briefed on my movements. Sure the worst that can happen is the look on my mate's face when I tell him I spent my day off tawing a lambskin in brain matter. Laughing Out Loud

Again lads,
thanks for the direction,
Larry.

"Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to manoeuvre. Situation excellent. I attack."

Ferdinand Foch's communique before stopping the German advance prior to the First Battle of the Marne.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,170

PostPosted: Thu 02 Jul, 2009 12:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Cleaning a lambskin         Reply with quote

Larry Kiernan wrote:
How's it going lads and lassies? New member on board so please be gentle. Big Grin


Nothing technical to add here by me but just welcome to the site and I think you can see that we are a nice and gentle group that enjoy helping when we can. Wink Big Grin Cool

Don't be shy to start new Topics or participate in other Topics if you find others of interest to you: You don't have to be an expert, you only need to have a question or a suggestion.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Larry Kiernan




Location: Ireland
Joined: 30 Jun 2009

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu 02 Jul, 2009 12:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Nothing technical to add here by me but just welcome to the site and I think you can see that we are a nice and gentle group that enjoy helping when we can. Wink Big Grin Cool


Thank you very much for the warm welcome Jean, you are both a gentleman & a scholar. In my time lurking on this forum before joining, I have always found your opinions on a wide range of topics to be as informative as they were well considered. The help I've received so far has been overwhelming, to say the least, and I look forward to our discoursing on all matters historical in the future. Big Grin

Regards,
Larry.

"Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to manoeuvre. Situation excellent. I attack."

Ferdinand Foch's communique before stopping the German advance prior to the First Battle of the Marne.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,170

PostPosted: Thu 02 Jul, 2009 12:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Larry Kiernan wrote:
Quote:
Nothing technical to add here by me but just welcome to the site and I think you can see that we are a nice and gentle group that enjoy helping when we can. Wink Big Grin Cool


Thank you very much for the warm welcome Jean, you are both a gentleman & a scholar. In my time lurking on this forum before joining, I have always found your opinions on a wide range of topics to be as informative as they were well considered. The help I've received so far has been overwhelming, to say the least, and I look forward to our discoursing on all matters historical in the future. Big Grin

Regards,
Larry.


Larry, thanks for the kind words and I'm blushing a little, but pleased. Big Grin Cool

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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James R.Fox




Location: Youngstowm,Ohio
Joined: 29 Feb 2008

Posts: 253

PostPosted: Sun 05 Jul, 2009 1:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr Keirnan- You do Not want to remove the lanolin from the lambskin. They were used to line scabbards in order to keep the rust off the blade.,and the lanolin is what does it.Lanolin or olive oil were the period lubricants to prevent rust.
Ja68ms
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Larry Kiernan




Location: Ireland
Joined: 30 Jun 2009

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue 07 Jul, 2009 11:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Mr Keirnan- You do Not want to remove the lanolin from the lambskin. They were used to line scabbards in order to keep the rust off the blade.,and the lanolin is what does it.Lanolin or olive oil were the period lubricants to prevent rust.


Thanks for that James, I'm hoping that I haven't removed the lanolin, or at least not all of it, but to be honest, I can neither confirm nor deny. I assume even something as rudimentary as washing the fleece removes a certain amount of the natural oils (correct me if I'm wrong). But I plan on shaving the wool down to about 5mm on either side of the core and giving it a light coating of Ballistoil, I'm banking on there being a certain element of oil retention inherent.

"Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to manoeuvre. Situation excellent. I attack."

Ferdinand Foch's communique before stopping the German advance prior to the First Battle of the Marne.
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