Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Fish Skin Tanning in Newsreels

Thank you to Gloria Conti, conservator working in Scotland who found this Italian newsreel from 1938 titled Le tante utilizzazioni della pelle del pesce. The film shows the processing of fish skins into various products. Gloria provided a translation of the brief narration below.

The many uses of fish leather 

In Germany fish leather is very in vogue. After being tanned, worked, dried, and handled with meticulous patience, it can be used to make many things like we see here: shoes, handbags, gloves, belts, and even to bind books.

Thank you Gloria. 

The imagery looks like the photos used to illustrate Franz Weisse's article "Fischhaut - Fischleder - Fischpergament" published in Das deutsche Buchbinderhandwerk, Vol 2, Nr 9, 1938. I described that article and shared some of the images in my post "Fish Skin - Tanned Fish Skin - Fish Parchment."

Perhaps the footage and images were taken together?

Often, when one gives, one also receives, so here a similar newsreel clip from British Pathé, 1949. This was shared on the Adventures in Fish Skin Tanning (closed) group at Facebook. It describes the process as having been developed by two Poles. No books in this one.

The first clip described the tanning... of fish skin in Germany. The second in the U.K.

My question, are there articles and references in the bookbinding literature outside of Germany that describe using fish for binding...?

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Bookbinding and Adapting to Life Changes 2

In my post "Bookbinding and Adapting to Life Changes," I wrote about changes I've made to my studio equipment and how I approach some tasks... One of the things I mentioned was the challenge of using a board shear (Kutrimmer 1070) when one cannot push down on the foot clamp peddle. Being seated on a scooter makes it even more challenging... The wheels on my old indoor scooter were small diameter, but when I needed a new one this fall the wheels were larger, and I found that I could force myself on the clamp. That worked, but was a bit hairy (tipping danger) and caused the light board shear to wander.

Well, as we say in German, "what one doesn't have in the legs..., one needs to have in one's brain." (Was man nicht in den Beinen hat muss man in der Birne haben.). But, a small ramp... Hmmm. Sooo, threw together a simple ramp made of staggered off cuts of thin pink foam insulation board held together with a rubber band.

Very sophisticated construction... 🙄 First test. Will it work?

Fritz Otto was worried he'd have to hold the ramp
in place as it slide on the carpet while I moved back
and forth on the scooter. But, it worked. Just a few tweaks...

On to board shear ramp Mk. 2. This ramp has one more thickness of pink foam board (5 total), binders board top, e-flute corrugated bottom, some glue and packing tape to hold pieces in place, and velcro to hold it in place on the carpet. 

Much more robust and sophisticated construction.
It's also almost twice as wide.

Velcro hooks on bottom to keep it from moving on the carpet.

I should be in business for 80% of my cutting needs. I'll take it. For those other times, Hope is always happy to help. The independence will feel good though.

[Edit 13 March, 2021]

Thanks to Jeff Peachey I even have a very solid and attractive wooden "forever" ramp now.

The incline and Jeff's message. I love the twisted humor.