Hedeby Leatherwork

Nothing original this time, I just found Willy Groenman van Waateringe’s Die Lederfunde Von Haithabu (Leather Finds from Hedeby) (1984) online and thought you might be interested…

I’ll be making a quiver or two later, so stay tuned.

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National Museum of Scotland – Bone, Horn and Antler Gallery

Finally. Here’s the long promised skeletal materials gallery from our NMS photos.  Leather finds photos are in another post, and I’ve already done the leatherworker’s toolkit elsewhere. Click on the photos in the gallery them to ennoble if you want a closer view.

The full set of photos contain lots of stone and metalworking as well.

Stone, bronze and iron age

Leatherworking finds
Burnt stones and flint, leatherworker’s rubbing bone fragments and pebbles. Family cist grave, Patrickholm, 2100BC-1750BC

Bone axe-headed pins
Bone axe-headed pins. Orkneys, AD0-600

Roman leather fragments, 100-175AD
Weaving comb and leather fragments. The triangular piece looks like it might have been from a tent. Newstead, 100-175AD

Shuttle and weaving tablets
Bone shuttles, Dun Scurrival and Elsay, horn(?) weaving tablets, Burrian, Jarlshof, Keill, Tain, Keiss 200BC-AD200

Bone dice
Bone dice, Newstead and Sty Wick Bay AD1-200

Weaving combs
Broxmouth, Burgar, Hillswick, Howmae, Newstead and Thrumster, 200BC-AD400

British Leatherworking Tools
Bone, metal and wooden British leatherworking tools. Awls from Ruberslaw, Burrian, Druimvargie Cave, Foshigarry, Knop of Howar, MacArthur Cave, Skara Brae, Torran Dubh, Buiston and Newstead. 8500BC-900AD
Needles from Hillhead, West Grange of Conon and Laws of Monifieth. 300BC-800AD.

Unfinished pieces of bone work
200BC-AD800

Antler comb making
Making antler combs 200BC-AD800

Comb blanks and flat plates
Comb blanks and flat plates 200BC-AD800

Bone pins
Bone pins, Kerrera, Buiston, Burrian, Jarlshof and North Uist, Covesea. AD500-1100

Bone pins
Bone pins, Skara Brae, Broxmouth, Jarlshof, Roughout.

Bone pins and gaming pieces
Bone pins, AD600-1000 Burrian, Foshigarry, Jarlshof

Bone combs and decorative work
Bone combs, pendants, handles and belt sliders, AD500-1100. H.KL3

Bronze needles and bone cases
Bone needle cases, Freswick and Vallay AD800-1100
Bronze needles and bodkins, Balevullin, Freswick, Newstead, Swandro and Traprain Law 200BC-AD1000
Bronze shears, Loch Erribol, AD1-200.

Pin beaters
Pin beaters used in weaving. A’Cheardach Mhor, Dunbar and Jarlshof. 200BC-AD400

Bone needles and bodkins
Bone needles and bodkins. A’Cheardach Mohr, Burrian, Foshigarrt, Freswick, Jarlshof, Keiss & Newstead. 200BC-AD1000

Game Piece, 8-9th century
I think this little fellow is walrus ivory, a game piece in the shape of a cowled figure from Mail in the Orkneys, AD750-800. He looks similar to the hooded figures shown on the Pictish standing stones of the period.

Pagan Viking grave, Orkney
Bone comb from a pagan male Viking grave from a Viking and native cemetery on Orkney. Eighth-ninth century. The museum shows the grave as excavated.

Bone tools
Bone Mattock, knife and tool handles. Foshigarry, Vallay, Burrian, Cairston and Stromness. 200BC-AD800

Medieval

Antler comb
Antler comb from a woman’s grave, Cnip, c. AD1000.

Bone needle case
Bone needle case with remains of metal needles. Woman’s grave, Cnip, c. AD1000.

Bonework debris
Bonework debris, Bac Mhic Connain, Borough of Biordsay, Foshigarry, Gurness, Jarlshof and Westray, 4000BC-AD1500

Isle of Lewis Chess pieces - Knight
Knight from the Isle of Lewis chess set. This one’s a token effort. I’ll cover all the pieces in another post as I’ve been chasing them around the various musea that have them. Walrus Ivory, found in Uig, Lewis in 1831. Other pieces are in the British Museum. H.NS19023, H.NS 25-9.

Leather belt pieces and bone awls
Leather belt pieces and bone awls with off-cuts from leatherworking, from Fast Castle, Berwickshire.

Early Modern

Powder horn, James Graham Earl of Montrose
Powder horn belonging to James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose (25 October 1612 – 21 May 1650), his arms are engraved in the silver base plate.

National Museum of Scotland – Leather Gallery

There’s a proverbial cow somewhere that’s starting to look nervous…

I’ve finally finished the first cut of the NMS photos. Here for your edification and viewing pleasure is the first lot of leather photos. I’ll do the skeletal materials photos in another post, and I’ve already done the leatherworker’s toolkit elsewhere. Click on them to embiggen if you want a closer view.

The full set of photos contain lots of stone and metalworking as well, I’ll also get the textiles and paint photos up in the Fullness of Time™.

Stone, bronze and iron age

Roman leather fragments, 100-175AD
Weaving comb and leather fragments. The triangular piece looks like it might have been from a tent. Newstead, 100-175AD

Decorated Leather panel, Newstead

Embossed and decorated leather chamfron panel, Newstead. 75-100AD

Roman and Celtic leather shoes

The one-piece shoe on the left is from Newstead (2nd C), the wooden last from Buiston and the two piece shoe from Iona (both 6-8th C). This is one of the problems with the NMS, they group similar items together even though there may be several centuries apart and from different cultures and imply a relationship between the objects that doesn’t necessarily exist.

Roman leather shoes

Multi-part shoes, Newstead 2nd Century AD. There’s at least two and possibly three different styles of shoe here.

Roman leather shoes

Multi-part shoes, Newstead 2nd Century AD. There’s some unrelated leather working tools on the top shelf.

British Leatherworking Tools

British leatherworking tools. Knives from Cairnholly, Cleughhead, Luce Sands, Traprain Law and Camelon. 7500BC-900AD. At least the dates are fairly obvious on this set, even if it does cover nearly 8000 years. The shoe is from Newstead.

British Leatherworking Tools

British leatherworking tools. Awls from Ruberslaw, Burrian, Druimvargie Cave, Foshigarry, Knop of Howar, MacArthur Cave, Skara Brae, Torran Dubh, Buiston and Newstead. 8500BC-900AD
Needles from Hillhead, West Grange of Conon and Laws of Monifieth. 300BC-800AD.

Medieval

Leather shoes 13-14th C

Leather shoes from the lead mining site at Sillerholes, West Linton, Peeblesshire. 13th to 14th century.

Leather belt pieces and bone awls

Leather belt pieces and bone awls with off-cuts from leatherworking, from Fast Castle, Berwickshire.

Shoe soles

Leather shoe soles. The one on the right is a child’s size. 15-16th century.

Early Modern

Shoe sole detail, Tomb of Mary Queen of Scots

Shoe sole detail, Tomb of Mary Queen of Scots. 1606-12. The cut in the sole for hiding the welting [see comment below] sole stitches can be clearly seen.

Bombard, seventeenth century

Large bombard from the 17th century, four layers of leather in the handle, possible traces of red paint on the back edge. H.JS32.

I have some detail photos here.

Scottish Bollock Knives, 17th C

Scottish Bollock Knives, 17th C

L: With gilt and engraved decoration indicating it belonged to the Master of Home. H.1991.1865.1

R: with scabbard and gilt and decoration on the blade, dated 1617. Scottish, probably Edinburgh. H.LC. 111a and b.

Note the diamond cross-section. Most earlier daggers of this type have triangular cross-section blades.

Mandatory Downloading

The York Archaeological Trust have produced some excellent works over the years and have lately taken to publishing on-line as well as paper. In a move that’s making the fatted calves look somewhat nervous, they’ve now made some of their out-of-print fascules available as PDF files. The third one in the list is The Archaeology of York 17/16 Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York by Quita Mould, Ian Carlisle and Esther Cameron.

Grab some of the others while you’re at it, there’s horn and bone projects in them for you to try.

I’m busily downloading my copy, the server is a little slow, running only a few K per second, so be patient. I’m getting a faster download using IE8 than I did with Chrome, so try a different browser if it seems too slow or unreliable.

My thanks to Glenda and Jenny for pointing this page out to me.

Late 6-7th century shoes from Sutton Hoo Sf9 Mound 1

If you are on my Facebook list, you’ve seen this post before, about a year ago. It’s a long story, I’d been wearing my old Parliament Street shoes for a few years, hoping nobody noticed that they were 3-600 years more recent than the rest of my gear. I was also having a whinge about not having accurate socks and came to an agreement with Jenny Baker that I’d make her a Rus knife in exchange for a couple of pair or nailbanded socks. The socks arrived, they were a perfect size but so thick my shoes no longer fitted. I’ve passed the old shoes on to Owen, who’d outgrown the ones he’d made when he wore size 5 (which I think have been passed on to Sven or someone).

I found the Sutton Hoo picture in a book while I was looking for something for Glenda, I’ve done some more research and found the embroidery on the toe was most likely done in linen, and that the shoe either had a binding thread, or was cloth lined.

suttonhooSf9m1

Late 6-7th century shoes from Sutton Hoo Sf9 Mound 1,
reconstruction by Rogers. Found on top of the coffin,
one had folded tablet-woven wickelbands inside.

Construction is virtually identical to shoe (find 756) from Parliament Street in York, so I simply modified the patterns I had for that one. Pete Beatson’s covered the construction nicely in his webpage so I won’t cover it again here. I’m basing the stitching on Parliament Street as that is more accessible than the Sutton Hoo dig report. Sole is attached to the upper with (synthetic) sinew using grain/edge stitches on the sole and grain/flesh on the upper at a 6mm pitch. Side seam and top edge/binding are done with edge/flesh stitches in linen at a 3mm pitch.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

All the parts laid out next to the pattern.

I’ll cut the eye in the front of the shoe when the shoe is complete and I’m happy with the location.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

The upper showing the grain/flesh holes for attachment to the sole and the edge/flesh holes for the side seam.

The lasting margin (distance between the stitching and the edge) is the same as the thickness of the sole leather. This makes the seam not intrude into the shoe when it is turned.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

The sole showing the edge/flesh holes.

I try to get the awl to go through the full thickness of the corrium (flesh layer) and come out just at the base of the skin when I’m doing these stitches. It gives a more secure attachment as it uses as close to the full thickness of the leather as possible.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

The shoe is stitched inside out and then turned when all the seams are finished.

I’m about a third of the way around and am using sinew to attach the sole. The side seam aligns with the instep on the inside of the foot to minimise tension on the seam.  Let’s assume for the purpose of the exercise that I’ve finished one. Yes, I know there’s five more stitches to go on the side seam, but just go along with me for once. Yes, I know I made a mess of  the pattern and the back of the side seam is 3mm higher than the front, I’ll fix that after the stitching is done but before I turn it.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

(Allegedly) completed shoe, side seam is at the instep and is done using hand twisted three-ply linen thread. One of the socks responsible for all this nonsense is in the foreground.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

Inside of the side seam.

Here you can see how the thread passes through the edge of the leather but never comes through the surface. The missing stitches are to illustrate the way the edges meet and have nothing to do with me breaking a needle, running out of thread or being fed up and wanting to go to bed.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

View of the sole, stitched with sinew

The thread goes through the flesh side of the leather and out through the side. It then neatly pierces the upper from one side to the other, then turns around and has another go. Its tied at an arbitrary 15 stitch interval… Or 20… or in one case, 10. When I tie a knot at the end of a length of thread, I thread both free ends onto a needle and pull them both through the nearest hole. A bit of tension then pulls the knot into the hole and the tails get cut off. That way there’s nothing to cause blisters and I look cleverer.

Now all I need to do is turn the shoe the other way out, dye the leather, wax the leather and do the embroidery… and then the other shoe. I’ve managed to get away with shedding only a small amount of blood, mostly from stab injuries.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

The opening near the toe cut and the side reshaped to fix the mistake.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

Soaking the shoe in barely warm water before turning.

For best results, it has to be really soaking wet, damp leather will stretch, really wet leather won’t as water gets between the fibres and stops them sliding over each other.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

Starting the turn.

Sit the shoe in your lap with the heel pointing towards you. Stick both thumbs in at the toe and push it in, then simply keep rolling the leather with your hands…

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

GGNNNNNNNNHHHHH…!!!

Until you get to this stage where the toe is fully turned and the heel is just about to go. Turn the shoe around and roll the heel in towards the middle of the shoe. The back should pop round with minimal stress on the seams and without stretching. There. That was easy! I don’t know what you were complaining about.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

The turned shoe.

Now the shoe is the right way out, just go around the seams and ease any twists or bumps. Make sure it looks like a shoe should and leave it to dry. There’s another step when it is just damp, as you do want to stretch the upper around a bit where it reaches the sole. Dyeing it while still damp also helps level out the dye.

Of course, when you’ve forgotten about it and let it dry completely you need to do things differently. You’ll need some additional equipment: a hammer; an iron shoe-makers last and; a stolen squirty bottle from the ironing.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

The implements.

You could use a bent piece of metal instead of the last, it has to fit inside the shoe and be secure enough to hammer on to.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

Seam between the sole and the upper.

Once the shoe’s been turned, all the seams tend to stick up in an uncomfortable manner. The next step is to dampen down the seam inside and out, and gently hammer to compress it until the seam becomes flat.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

Outside, hammering the sole seam.

It also seals the edges of the shoe on the outside. This is part way round, I’m hooking the seam up onto the top surface of the last and hammering down towards the edge to draw it all together.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

This is the inside at the same spot as the photo above.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

The sole seam compressed and the upper dyed.

Once the seam’s flat, dampen the upper down and rub in a coat or two of leather dye. You can use other things like woodstain, but it does tend to dry out the leather and make it brittle. Once this is dry, you can do any additional sewing, such as binding stitches around the throat or any decoration. Rub with a beeswax polish before wearing to get a bit of softness and waterproof the shoes. When you put the squirty bottle back, remember to clean off any incriminating leather dye first.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

Binding in progress.

I’ve done the edge binding on the upper shoe only, so you can see how it evens up the opening. It also stops the upper stretching when you wear them for a while.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

Close up of the binding stitch.

There is a thread running around the top of the upper, the whip stitches hold it in place.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

The embroidery.

Finished! The embroidery is  handspun undyed grey wool, I’ve used the same stitches as on the Bayeux Tapestry, where the thread goes in and out through adjacent holes in the leather so the minimum is inside the shoe. Glenda helped with the left one. All they need now is a bit of beeswax to make them more waterproof.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

Patterns and changes.

What would I do differently next time? Extend the short side C by about 15mm and move the slit back to the position shown by arrow A. Probably pay more attention to the centre of the toe and let the side seam sort itself out. If you are making one yourself, adjusting the width BB increases the height of the shoe over the top of the foot.

Sutton Hoo shoe Sf9 mound 1

Close up of the stitching. The long ones near the toe are 40mm, much longer and I’d have to couch them.

References:

Beatson, P., Shoe from Parliament St York 

Cameron, E., Carlisle, I. & Mould, Q., Craft, Industry and Everyday Life: Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York: Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian & Medieval (The Small Finds). YAT 17/16, 2004

Rogers, P.W., Cloth and Clothing in Early Anglo-Saxon England AD 450-700. Council for British Archaeology, 2007.

Tweedle, D. Finds from Parliament Street and Other Sites in the Ciry Centre, The Archaeology of York, The Small Finds YAT 17/4, 1986.

An almost-right saex scabbard

This post is a warning for young players, going back in time to somewhere in the youth of the Internet. Back in those days, a fast connection was a dial-up connection with a 14.4kbps modem, a big website was anything over 1MB, and 800 x 600 in 256 colours was high resolution. The excellent series of YAT publications weren’t widely known here and and the publications that were available were more of the glossy coffee-table types. Online catalogues and web sales were years away and photos were only used on the most data-intensive sites. The images we had access to in the Antipodes were not of the finest quality, and lead to errors such as this.

I’d been given a combat-grade saex with a forged iron blade, leather bound scale tang hilt (the scales were two thickish slices of a branch with the bark still attached) with held together with rough steel rivets. The point was 10mm in diameter and the “edge” was 3mm thick. It had seen some use in combat and was rough, ugly and I couldn’t get my hand all the way around the hilt, but you don’t look a forged blade in the mouth. It didn’t take me long to reshape the point and file and grind an edge, and there was enough meat on the tang for me to be able to turn it into a whittle tang. I made the hilt from a carved lamb bone from a roast we had, with 3mm brass plates at each end. The tang passes through the backplate and is peened over. The buckles are made from the same lamb leg as the hilt, using opposite sides of the lower end of the femur near the joint. I then needed to make the scabbard.

Saex scabbard, loosely based on one from Jorvik. The original has much coarser knotwork but still shows paint in the same colours.

I knew of an illustration on the Regia Anglorum website and spent a ridiculious amount of time trying to work out the knotwork design. I relied heavily on contemporary manuscript knotwork, and drew the techniques from the MoL Knives and Scabbards book. I got it wrong.

This is the original illustration I was working from. If anything, I've been able to clean it up a bit.

It wasn’t until we got to York in 2003 that I realised that I was too keen to see the manuscript knotwork on the leather and that I’d misunderstood how the scabbard was used. The knife should fit almost completely in the scabbard, with the different knotworks corresponding to the blade and the hilt.  Here’s a photo of two similar scabbards I took in Jorvik:

Two saex scabbards at Jorvik.

The upper one shows similar punch work to this one from the Yorkshire Museum up the road.

Saex and knife scabbards in the Yorkshire Museum

The one on the right is discussed in another post. The one on the left is the one I attempted here. I’m happy with the stamped decoration along the edge of the blade, but the knotwork is completely wrong and the execution is 11th-13th century. I’ll have to remake it one day, but I need to work out if I have to shorten the blade first. The York postcard below shows someone else’s interpretation of a couple of scabbard, they have their own problems but aren’t bad.

Postcard: Replica leather knife sheath from The Jorvik Viking Centre.

I suppose the moral of the story is to make sure your references are clear before you begin anything.

References

 J. Cowgill, M. de Neergaard,  N. Griffiths, Knives and Scabbards (Medieval Finds from Excavations in London), HMSO London, 1987

Regia Anglorum, http://www.regia.org/, accessed 26 April 2006.

Painted finishes

This is a topic I don’t think anyone’s covered particularly well, so I’m going to have a crack at it. A lot of extant leatherwork from the early medieval period through to the modern period exhibits traces and in some cases, complete painted decoration. Some good examples are the Stonyhurst Gospels (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonyhurst_Gospel), the saex scabards at Jorvic and the Yorkshire Museum and the leather jacks in Warwick Castle. Looking through surviving Tudor and Stuart leatherwork that’s in original condition, almost all buckets, bombards and jacks have at least the date painted on them.

Paints

Appropriate paints include tempera, gouache and oils. The selection of paint  depends on the period being represented by the object. Tempera predates Egypt, and was still commonly used until superceded in about 1500. Gouache paints were in use in the early 1400s in mainland Europe and probably migrated into the UK shortly after. The name originally applied to a completely different paint, taking it’s modern form in the 19th century.

Contrary to many claims about a much later date of invention, Theophilus, writing in the early12th century disussed the preparation and use of oil paints using linseed oil as the medium and rosin as the binder (Book 1, Chapter 25). I suspect the Warwick jacks are crested with an oil-based paint. More relevant to us here, he also gave a couple of recipes for a varnish made from linseed and rosin (Book 1, Chapter 20).

Each of the types of paint have their pros and cons, oil paints are easy to use and waterproof when dry, but dry slowly and continue to oxidise and darken as they age. You’ll need to use at least three coats to get any colour density. Gouaches are better at covering than oils, and dry quickly, but aren’t waterproof when dry. I usually thin with a few drops of gum arabic to improve water resistance and then compensate by doing two coats. Tempera is hard to get unless you grind and mix your own, it has most of the benefits of gouache but is often fugitive.

Purists may skip this next section while we discuss modern paints. Art quality acrylics work wonderfully over large areas or in places where the object is likely to get wet: I use acrylics for objects used by kids due to the wearing properties and water resistance. The bigest benefit is flexibility – acrylics can be used on soft items or things that have a bit of spring without flaking. Acrylics aren’t capable of flowing the way gouaches and oils do, so don’t suit my painting style. They also tend to bead when applied in fine lines, so can’t achieve the same clarity as gouache. 

Gel inks  provide good coverage and can be used to provide very fine lines, so can be used to compensate for the shortcomings of acrylics. You have to have a good eye for colour to be able to match the acrylic paint with the gel. These come in pen form with a steel rolling ball, so can be used for fine lines on knotwork that would have originally been done with a steel nib or crow quill. The black comes in handy for correcting the bits where you go slightly outside the lines.

Modern enamels are a pigment in a synthetic oil base. I’ve never tried them on leather, if you have, let me know how they go. I can’t see any reason why they wouldn’t work, but may be a bit brittle on flexible objects.

Metal foils and leaf are a great way of highlighting detail. Use the same methods that you would for applying leaf to parchment.

Layout/Transfer

My sketching tends to be fussy and not suited to easily transfer to leather. For these things, I do my layouts by finding an image on the Internet or in books, bung it in a word processor and then put any text required around it. Here’s one I prepared earlier.

Design for James' jack

Design for James' jack

This design was a commission for a jack for James’ birthday. The arms in the were taken from a larger design done by Wendel Hollar for the Honorable Artillery Company in 1643. I’ve removed the supporters, the crest and the mantling. The arms are considerably older than this, but it does show the correct form during the period in question. The initials IW are used as the letter I was commonly used in place of J in the early modern period. The year 1641 is arbitrary, but as James is younger than me, it seemed appropriate that his jack showed a newer date than mine. Paint colours come from a slightly later colour print. 

The design was printed and transfered to the leather using one of a few different techniques. If it’s a flat design painted directly on to the finished leather, I cheat and transfer the design with yellow or white “carbon” paper available from larger haberdashers – that’s why the red pen outline is on the design above.

Left: IW 1641, with the arms of the HAC, Right: WR 1639, with the arms of the Order of Prince Arthur, a company of archers

Left: IW 1641, with the arms of the HAC, Right: WR 1639, with the arms of the Order of Prince Arthur, a company of archers

 For embossed or chased designs I do the work before dyeing the leather by poking small holes along the lines with a needle or awl and after securing to the leather, rub powered charcoal or chalk through the holes, then remove the paper and join the dots before embossing, often using the back of a butter knife to start. Once the relief work is done, the leather is dyed and sewn and then painted.

The pattern and leather with the linear elements of the design embossed.
The pattern and leather with the linear elements of the design embossed.

 I didn’t end up painting the one above, but the principle is the same. Try to avoid handling the area you’ll be painting, particularly if using water based paint as the oil from your fingers will cause the paint to bead and cover unevenly.

Painting

In a manner somewhat reminiscient of the Monty Python Blue Peter sketch, now paint the design. It takes some practice to get paint to flow properly on leather, particularly if the grain is particularly deep. Pick something easy to start off with and don’t be afraid to wash it all off, let it dry and have another go.

Finishing

Again, I look to Theophilus and varnish over the painted design. If I’m using gouache, I’ll use three or four coats of varnish to improve the water resistance and then a good coat of bees wax polish. The jack on the right in the top photo has been in use for nearly 10 years, the only time I had problems with the paint running was last Easter when it was used in a re-enactment tavern in a river valley where the humidity was always over 90%. It was continually wet for four days straight and the bottoms of the serifs started to bleed on the evening of the last day.

See my earlier “Care and Feeding” for more tips on maintaining your painted leather for a good working life.

Examples

Saex scabbard, loosely based on one from Jorvik. The original has much coarser knotwork but still shows paint in the same colours. The bone buckles and hilt came from a lamb roast.

Saex scabbard, loosely based on one from Jorvik. The original has much coarser knotwork but still shows paint in the same colours. Gouache on the leather, the bone has a black paste worked into the groves. The bone buckles and hilt came from a lamb roast.

Costrel neck, in the style of one from the Mary Rose, 1545. It was to have been a copy, but I got the length wrong and had to use different shaped ends to compensate.

Costrel neck, in the style of one from the Mary Rose, 1545. It was to have been a copy, but I got the length wrong and had to use different shaped ends to compensate. Gouache on leather.

Lincoln Imp mask and tail based on the imps around Lincoln Catherdral. Moulded leather mask and horns, embossed ears and tail. The hair is an old fur stole. Acrylic paint and gold leaf.

Lincoln Imp mask and tail based on the imps around Lincoln Catherdral. Moulded leather mask and horns, embossed ears and tail. The hair is an old fur stole. Acrylic paint and gold leaf.

 

References

Baker, O.,  BLACK JACKS AND LEATHER BOTTELLS: Being some account of Leather Drinking Vessels in England and incidentally of other Ancient Vessels,  England 1921

Preservation Brief 28 – Painting Historic Interiors, http://www.nps.gov/hps/TPS/briefs/brief28.htm, accessed 2 October 2009

Theophilus, On Diverse Arts, http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/theophilus.html, accessed 2 October 2009

Paint